Adventure Racers Ride, Trek, & Paddle Through Warsaw

Stormy Waters
Contributing Writer
Adventure Racers Ride, Trek, & Paddle Through Warsaw
You may have noticed a few cyclists and runners around town with all kinds of gear on Saturday, October 24th. Perhaps you saw the 80 canoes in Drake Harbor. Here is the scoop: 350 adventure racers convened at the Warsaw Community Building before heading out for six hours (30 miles) or twelve hours (60 miles) of biking, trekking, and paddling.  The goal of adventure racing is to locate as many points as possible in the time allowed, using only a map and way finding skills to guide your way. Points could be located along waterways, in town, on trails, and deep in the woods.  
Off Road Rage Adventure Racing from Wichita Kansas utilized Warsaw’s ideal terrain and location for the national qualifier race. Race  Director Tiara Adams remarked, “Warsaw is the perfect place to host an Adventure Race!” Adams continued, stating, “Between the paths through the city, the Truman Lake Mountain Bike Park, the Osage River, gorgeous gravel roads, Shawnee Bend, and the whole town supporting us, this is by far the best place we’ve ever hosted a race! Last year at this same event we had 70 racers. This year 350 people came out from as far away as Washington D.C, Houston Texas, Los Angeles California, and 11 other states.” Adventure racing is a quickly growing discipline, and Warsaw is fortunate to have every element desired by race promoters, including a welcoming community and volunteers. “Mac Vorce, Jenn Bradshaw, and the Truman Lake Adventure Club have been instrumental in helping us achieve success in Warsaw!," Adams finished.
Adventure Racer Kelly Sumner (AKA “Jam Pa”) of Harrisonville had this to say, “It was cool coming back to my hometown and trails to adventure race with Off Road Rage in Warsaw.  They did an amazing job of putting this course together, along with the volunteers and land managers. The people of the community have always stepped up to welcome racers with enthusiasm. I have seen the town thrive over the years with fishing and camping, but it warms my heart to see the investment the City of Warsaw has made in the trails, downtown, and parks pay off like it did this weekend.  350+ racers is one of the largest races I have done in my 15 years of adventure racing,” said Sumner. “I am looking forward to the next big event in Warsaw, the Free Epic on the Butterfield. Events like these keep me coming home to Warsaw.” 
Perhaps the most fun segment of the race was “The Haunted Hunt”, in which racers found key points all over town, marked by a silly skeleton, and had to collect four items: a mustache, a spider ring, a tattoo, and a glow bracelet. Many racers returned to the community building transition area decked out in their finds, much to the delight of the volunteers. “Being a part of this gave us a new appreciation of what our community has to offer with so many traveling to experience “ADVENTURE” in Warsaw,” said volunteer Geri Kaufmann. “Plus it was an exceptional opportunity to help people achieve their goal of participating in such a unique event.” 
Talking with Mac Vorce of the Truman Lake Adventure Club, the race also had a significant economic impact on our community. “I have worked for several years with out-of-town-promoters to entice them into bringing their events here specifically to showcase Warsaw and Benton County as an outdoor adventure destination,” said Vorce.  “It was great to see Main street, restaurants, campgrounds and motels filled with racers from all over the country.” 
Kevin LaPittus, owner of R-Bar & Grill, had this to say about the race. “The Off Road Rage Adventure Race was great for the community. We served over 400 people during a traditionally slow time.  The participants were just good people and patronized many businesses in Benton County. It was a win-win situation for everyone. Our partnership with The Truman Lake Adventure Club was instrumental in getting the word out about business for this event.
For many of the participants, this was their very first adventure race. From the friendships formed and the great experiences generated, it certainly will not be their last. Benton County is drawing in these event promoters and participants for a bright future in alternative sports. The next big event being brought to Warsaw is the Free Epic on the Butterfield on November 7th.