by DN

Six Hokulele paddlers raced in the 2017 Texas River Marathon (TRM) on a 35-mile section of the Guadalupe River from Cuero Texas to Victoria on May 6th.  The TRM is a preliminary race to the 260 mile Texas Water Safari (TWS) scheduled to begin on June 10th.  One hundred fourteen boats started the race; several did not finish this grueling run which is short enough to require top speeds to be competitive and long enough to make maintaining that level of effort painful.

Teddy Gray and Kelly Truitt won 1st place in the Aluminum Division, which included men’s, mixed, and women’s teams.  They covered the 35 miles in 4 hours 55 minutes and 35 seconds (4:55:35) and came in 39th overall.  Teddy & Kelly’s success is no surprise to those of us who paddle with these two relentless competitors.  Kelly is a rising star in women’s paddling.  In 2016 Kelly won both the USCA Mixed Aluminum National title and USCA C2 Mixed Texas State Championship with her husband, Joel; and won the USCA Female C2 national championship paddling with Joy Emshoff (also a Hokulele teammate).  Teddy has established a reputation for excellence over her years of canoe racing, racking up numerous state and national titles.  Teddy and Joy Emshoff are the reigning 2017 USCA Women’s Aluminum National Champions, and Teddy also won the 2017 USCA Mixed Aluminum National Championship paddling with Don Walls.

Teddy Gray – “We (she & Kelly in the TRM) reached our goal with training, team work, and good water level.  Kelly, an awesome paddler, steered us through the technical stretches and powered to the finish.  It was a surprise to see a note posted on result board by Linda Cochran, "Go Girls."   One of the best Texas races!”

Zach Elkins began training with the iconic Cowboys this spring in their push toward the TWS.  The Cowboys are a 6-man team powering a 39-foot canoe.  They finished 2nd in the Unlimited Class and 3rd overall in the TRM with a time of 03:50:47. 

Zach Elkins - “John DuPont and John Mark Harras are the original Cowboys.  They fill the other 4 seats with different paddlers (for the TWS) every year.  The two of them have endless stories and jokes. It’s really an honor as a first-year novice to be asked to join the team.  They are a rite of passage for me and (for) many paddlers before me.  I hope I can perform as they expect”

Joel Truitt & Eric Whicker were the 2nd place C2 and 10th overall in the TRM, finishing in 04:12:34.  Joel and Eric are another accomplished team, winning the USCA Aluminum National Championship in 2016.  They are currently preparing for the renown 120 mile AuSable River Canoe Marathon in Michigan at the end of July.

Matt Sandel and partner Kelly Stone came in 4th in the Aluminum Class and 53rd overall with a time of 05:08:38. Matt will be paddling with Texas legend Roy Tyrone in the upcoming TWS in June. 

Hokulele is fortunate to have a strong marathon canoe contingent on the team.  You all bring a different dynamic to the team that has made us better, more versatile, and tougher.  Great job in the TRM and best of luck in your upcoming marathon races!