Paddlers float scenic Red River for the troops

Philip Sparn reporting

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Dozens of paddlers from across the mid-state kayaked and canoed eight miles of the scenic Red River in the Rotaract River Ride fundraiser on Saturday, July 20, to help raise money for members of the military and their families.

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The Clarksville Rotaract, a branch of The Clarksville Rotary Club, hosted the day float fundraiser to help raise money for The Fisher House foundation, the Wounded Warrior Project and S.A.F.E. at Ft. Campbell. The first annual fundraiser day float on the Red River raised $680 that will go to help military members and their families in the Ft. Campbell area.

“Me and my son had a great time on the day float,” said Dennis Pearson, member of the Clarksville Rotary Club. “It was very peaceful and the best thing was that it was for a great cause.”

Debra Moore, Adams resident, participated in the day float to support the cause and to enjoy the calm and peaceful natural serenity of the Red River.

“It’s a great event and an even better cause to support,” said Mike Rainey, president of the Clarksville Rotary Club. “It’s a win-win because not only do we get to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise in, but we also get to support a great cause by helping raise money for the military community.”

Approximately 24 paddlers in 17 kayaks or canoes dropped their boats into the Red River on Saturday morning for the Rotaract River Ride and pulled them out of the water just a few hours later at Port Royal State Park. The paddlers enjoyed the natural surroundings and the historic scenery as they floated down the tranquil waters of the Red River, just 12 miles from downtown Clarksville.

Clarksville Rotaract and Blueway Adventure, a local kayak and canoe outfitter, organized the day float fundraiser to do something fun and good for the community, according to Bracey Burchett, president of the Clarksville Rotaract club.

“Clarksville Rotaract strives to help the people that live in our area and the members of our military to help make the community a better place,” said Burchett. “We aim to not just live for ourselves but we want to also live to help other people in our community.”

Canoes, kayaks and shuttle services for the Rotaract River Ride were provided by Blueway Adventure, which is co-owned by veterans Richard Wacker and Mike Ashberger.

Wacker said he was on-board with the Rotaract River Ride fundraiser as soon as he heard all the proceeds were going to help the military community.

“Blueway Adventure wants to support all veteran organizations,” said Wacker. “We want to do anything to help make the lives of soldiers and their families better, and today was a great opportunity for us to do that.”

For more information on the Rotoract club, email Bracey Burchett at For more information on paddling Clarksville’s local waterways and Blueway Adventure, visit











Photos by Philip Sparn