The Fort to Field 50 Paddle Battle is a 50-mile paddling race pitting kayakers and canoeists against all the wild, windy aspects of an amazing and remote stretch of South Dakota’s most-scenic river. More than 100 racers took part in 2014’s inaugural 50. It’s open to all paddled craft and we hope you’ll join us. Registration now is open.
The course is set on a beautiful segment of the nation’s newest National Water Trail. The Missouri National Recreation River, especially along this 50 mile portion, is truly a gem lesser-known in the paddling community.
The amazing scenery on this National Wild and Scenic River and its at-times-challenging current make the Paddle Battle’s possibilities endless: For some, it’s a test of determination. For others, the 50’s just an enjoyable day on the river. Here the Missouri is truly rural, wild and much like it was before the Pick-Sloane Plan led to the dams and reservoirs of the modern Missouri River.
The Fort to Field 50 takes its name from its start, the Fort Randall Dam, and its finish, Springfield, South Dakota. We got off to a great start in 2014 and hope to thrive in 2015 – with you as part of our July 11 event.
Racers have 15 hours to complete the course and its three checkpoints. No time cut-offs at checkpoints, but all racers must start by 7:30 a.m. and finish by 10 p.m. Saturday night. Most paddlers should have no problem completing the 50-mile course since the river flows at a rate of approx. 3-5 mph in several stretches.
As a team, our primary goal is safety. A wide range of agencies, both internal and external to our team, are on board to make sure everyone who takes part will be safe. This stimulating endurance paddling event allows us to share a unique portion of South Dakota and Nebraska with an audience that most likely is unfamiliar with it.
Our other goals include making the race approachable for competitors of any skill level, exposing more people to the grandeur and beauty of the Missouri National Recreational River and to increase awareness of the gem-like nature of this noteworthy Midwestern river.
New For 2015
This year, we’re dedicating our event to one of the people who made its beginning possible. Diana McCann, one of the founders of the Cogan House business who sponsors the Fort to Field 50, helped us get the event off the ground with her compassion and warmth. She served as the hostess for our finish-line celebration last year and we dedicate this year’s event to her. She passed away last summer. Without her help, the event would not exist.
We’ve partnered with local HAM radio operators to cover the “no-cell service” zone that makes up much of the first third of the race course. The radio operators should be able to get real-time updates to points farther down the race course so we can update our online results and have robust accountability for all who participate.
Complimentary Seminars and “Get to Know Your Competition” Event
We’ll gather about 10 a.m. on Friday, July 10 at the starting area, Randall Creek State Park, for an exchange of ideas and seminars on paddling nutrition and technique. These events will continue Friday until our safety briefing and meal that evening. Feel free to come out early and paddle, learn or just enjoy some time with your race friends, new and old.