Race Highlights - August 1-2, 2023

701 paddlers from 4 countries and 38 U.S. states in 469 boats started the race.

2023 will be remembered as one of the toughest Missouri American Water MR340s ever. To date, 2023 was the first race to be ended mid-race. Just a few days before the race, forecasts were predicting three-digit temps throughout the race. That forecast quickly changed to high winds with nightly storms as a "ring of fire" jet stream pattern set up over Missouri.

It was brutal from the start, with a few small popups just downstream of the tandem start followed by a full day of intense headwinds. As night fell, racers encountered the edges of a very intense storm that lit up the eastern sky with lightning all night.

A storm that hammered Waverly Monday night before Race Start kicked several tributaries into flood stage. Because the region had been so dry for over a year, the rising tributaries, especially the Lamine River entering just upstream of Boonville near the halfway point, brought a constant stream of intense driftwood (including whole trees) into the river. With another intense storm predicted Wednesday night from Columbia to the Finish Line, reports that some safety boats could barely pass through the thick debris and with the river predicted to rise 9 feet, race officials decided to end the race early around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, August 2.

Racers were directed to exit at the nearest boat ramp, log their finish on RaceOwl and work with race volunteers and their ground crews to help everyone exit the race course. Because of the brutal conditions for the first two days, the bulk of racers was further upstream than normal. Paddlers were scattered from Dalton Bottoms (RM 239) to Hermann (RM 97.7). It was determined that the finish line for each racer still paddling was the next available ramp after the race was ended.

One of the most impressive performances was veteran Salli O'Donnell, who was the first woman in race history to take the number one solo slot, pulling into Hermann shortly after the race was ended amidst a raft of debris coming from the Gasconade River - she was the second boat overall. The lead boat was "Midwest Paddle Racing" in the team pedal drive division with race veterans Dustin LeCave, Brad Daniels, Paul Cox and Joe Mann on the newest version of the "Kraken". O'Donnell was followed by the 5-person voyageur "MV Some Beach" and men's solo Erich Baumberger. Participant racers hailed from the U.S., Germany, Belize, Australia, and the Free Associated State of Puerto Rico.

The Finish Line Party was still held at the Lewis & Clark Boat House. Trophy winners were determined by RaceOwl tracking at the race end and people took Finish Line photos with the river mile their race ended.

If you have more content we link to below (blogs, articles, videos, photo albums) feel free to email Steve with the links!

Media, News Clips & Blogs

2023 MR340
Debris in the river as #8762 approaches Cooper's Landing. Photo copyright Tony Cook.

Video & Photos

© 2024 Missouri River Relief. All Rights Reserved. Website design and development by Pixel Jam Digital.