By Ashley Rader
Supporters of the Elizabethton Carter County Animal Shelter can take to the water on Monday, Aug. 6, to participate in a stand-up paddleboard race that is being held as a fundraiser for the ECCAS Building Fund.
The fundraiser, Paddle for Pets, is being sponsored by Off the Grid Adventures and is just one of the fundraisers that the business has hosted to benefit the community. Off the Grid Adventures owner Tanya Weaver explained that she frequently hosts fundraisers on the first Monday of the month. Previous events have been held to benefit the Bonnie Kate Theater’s new roof fund. This is the first Off the Grid fundraiser to benefit the animal shelter building fund.
“I have always been a really big animal supporter,” Weaver said. “I love animals and I always have.”
The event will begin with check-in at 6 p.m. and race times is at 6:45 p.m. The stand-up paddleboard race will begin from the Shook Branch recreation area at Watauga Lake. Races will be held for children age 8-14 and for adults. Children age 7 and under can participate if they ride with an adult age 18 or over. A race for those participants will be held as well.
Weaver explained that people do not have to be an experienced paddleboarder to take part in the race. She said it usually takes new riders around 15 minutes to get used to the paddleboard and to be ready to race.
“When you first get on the board, your legs are wobbly,” she said. “It is like getting your sea legs. Your weight shifts from leg to leg and then you get used to it.”
The race route is about a mile long. The racers will start at Shook Branch, out and around an island and then back to shore. Weaver said it is a good run and will provide a workout for levels of paddleboard racers. She noted that some of the racers might not be able to finish the course but what is important is that they participate and have fun at the event.
“Some may not be able to make it to the island and back,” she said. “Whatever they are able to do, they do feel an accomplishment in what they completed.”
Weaver added that the paddleboard fundraiser races are a good opportunity for newcomers to check out what the sport is about. She said the races are offered at a lower cost than a traditional session which gives people a chance to test the activity out. To participate in the fundraiser, a minimum donation of $10 is required. A regular two-hour session on a paddleboard is $35.
Paddle for Pets will be held on Monday, Aug. 6, with check-in at 6 p.m. and the race beginning at 6:45 p.m. The cost is a minimum $10 donation which includes the use of a paddleboard, paddle and life jacket rental. To register, contact Weaver at 725- 3572. Racers who pre-register will get $10 practice rentals until race day. Off the Grid also has a website, www.offthegridadv. com.
Future Off the Grid Adventure fundraisers are in the works for East Tennessee Spay and Neuter and to support cancer research.