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 amazingly scenic river. It’s open to all paddled craft and should prove challenging but still approachable to almost any paddler.
The race route is a beautiful segment of the nation’s newest National Water Trail and part of the National Park Service’s Missouri National Recreation River. Beyond their fellow competitors, those who sign up will face wind, fatigue, amazing navigational challenges and the limits of their own endurance and conditioning.
The amazing scenery on this National Wild and Scenic River and powerful current make this race unique. Here the river 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.
Racers and their support teams also will experience a true continental transitional zone as the Great Plains give way to the prairie in this stretch of terrain and water. The Fort to Field 50 takes its name from its start, the Fort Randall Dam, and its finish, Springfield SD’s newly improved marina.
Racers have 15 hours to complete the course and its three checkpoints. No time cut-offs at checkpoints, but all racers must be finished by 10 p.m. on July 19. Most paddlers should have no problem completing the 50-mile course since the river flows at a rate of approx. 3-5 mph on race day.
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 this Midwestern gem.