62 canoes and kayaks race down Missouri River

Larry Scroggins and his paddling team kayak 62 miles down the Missouri River Saturday.

A fast current and good weather conditions made for a swift boat race down the Missouri River Saturday, with teams from 64 canoes and kayaks participating in the 2014 Missouri River Freedom Race.

Ground crews for each of the boats clapped and cheered as one by one, the teams made their way down the Missouri River from Lamine to Jefferson City.

The boats hit the water from Lamine around 8:10 a.m., with the winning team landing at Noren River Access near Jefferson City around 2:30 p.m.

Heidi Scroggins and her granddaughter spent the day moving from place to place to make sure their team was okay, every step of the way.

Scroggins said her family has participated in the Freedom Race for several years and that after their first race, kayaking quickly became a family tradition.

â??It just took over their life,â?? Scroggins said. â??It has bonded our family. Not that we werenâ??t close before, but itâ??s our focus now, all year long. Our lives revolve around the river.â??

Their team won the 62 mile race by a sizable lead. The winning kayak trio consists of Larry Scroggins, Yancy Scroggins and his girlfriend Krista Patterson. They built the kayak they raced in themselves with each personâ??s weight and measurements in mind.

The boaters said favorable weather conditions made for a good, fast race.

â??The river was a little windy, but no waves,â?? Larry Scroggins said. â??It was real nice, one of the best paddles weâ??ve had this year.â??

â??With all the rain that weâ??ve had, the river is up, the river is moving fast,â?? said Yancy Scroggins. â??A great temperature. Itâ??s been a cold and rainy spring, so itâ??s nice to get some sunshine and be out of the wind a little bit.â??

Scroggins said he and his girlfriend met on the river and have paddled together ever since. This was their third race this year, as well as their third win and third record.

They both say the secret to winning the race is being able to effectively communicate on the water.

â??Knowing each other, and just having paddled thousands of miles with each other,â?? Scroggins said. â??With the whole team knowing when somebodyâ??s down, and you kind of know what it will take to life them up.â??

The Scroggins team says they plan to participate in the MR340 race in July.