Canoe Championship brings Hundreds to Pocahontas

POCAHONTAS, AR -- Canoe racers from across the country are meeting in Pocahontas for the 39th annual National Championship Canoe Race.

The races don't start until Saturday, but racers were in Pocahontas on Friday getting ready.

"We've got people coming in to compete from eleven different states and the city is really excited about it," said local canoe expert Clifton Rickey.

This event is being held in Pocahontas for the first time.  Rickey actually went up to the semi-annual meeting of the United States Canoe Association where he presented Pocahontas and the rivers that run through it as a prime spot for the race.

"We presented a bid and they took it and we're glad to have them," said Rickey.

The races will be held on the Current River and Black River, two water ways many of the contestants haven't canoed through before.  On Friday morning they got their chance.

"It's always nice to see the river.  Having a little local knowledge of the river is useful," said Tave Lamperez.

Several of the younger teams are from Pocahontas, but event planners hope they can encourage other teams from the area to start competing by having the event there.

This event is also brining some dollars into the city.