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Hale paddles way to win
Paddlefest-winner
McMinnville resident and Jackson Kayak employee Chad Hale won the race portion of Paddlefest held yesterday on the Barren Fork and Collins rivers.
Chad Hale claimed the win Saturday morning in the third annual Paddlefest benefit for Kids of the Community.McMinnville resident Hale, who said he was canoeing before he learned to ride a bicycle, completed the 13K (approximately 7.5 miles) course on the Barren Fork-Collins River in 1 hour, 31 minutes and 22 seconds, according to Paddlefest organizer and timekeeper Shea Hodge. He bested his nearest competitors by about four minutes. “I was in a canoe before I was on a bike,” said Hale, an employee of Jackson Kayak, a manufacturing firm in White County.Altogether some 50 kayak enthusiasts launched from the Barren Fork River shallows just downstream from the dam at Pepper Branch Park about 8 a.m., with most of those pursuing a leisurely float arriving at the Collins River landing at the VFW 5064 Post Home after 11 a.m.The winning time in the 2014 Paddlefest was 1 hour, 10 minutes, but Hale, piloting an experimental Dagger prototype made of tough but lightweight Kevlar, said strong winds that accompanied the occasional rain showers slowed his progress.Proceeds from Paddlefest will help fund the year-round activities of nonprofit Kids of the Community, which serves some 200-250 youth, Hodge said.