AuSable River Festival race features costumes and homemade canoes
Carlie Wilson | Staff Writer
Admit it. With all of the festivities in town for the River Festival, it’s hard not to get caught “HUP” in all of the fun. The H.U.P. Race on Wednesday is a very popular local event in which paddlers in homemade canoes duke it out, all while wearing costumes.
The goal of the event was “for teams to build a boat that is able to stay afloat for the entire race course on the AuSable River,” according to the Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce. Some succeeded. Some did not.
Teams were limited to building materials included in the kits for the event: a piece of plywood, two two-by-fours, nails, and a roll of duct tape. Latex paint and decorations were separate and optional.
Several extra additions were banned from canoes participating in the H.U.P. Race, including stickers, adhesives, and epoxy paint. Judges were instructed to penalize any canoe and paddler if found.
The event began at 5 p.m. on Wednesday with the canoes lining up along the driveway of the city park for judging. As part of the festivities, the Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce – coordinator of the event – hired the official Circuit Court judges as well as volunteer Joe Smock for the H.U.P. Race.
Judge Colin Hunter shared that his favorite part of the H.U.P. festivities is “Penalties. We have to judge if, in our souls, we feel that there’s been a discretion, a penalty, we have to decide what the penalty is and what the appropriate punishment is.”
“And of course the best part of the penalties is the fancy dance moves our contestants show off on stage,” said Judge Monte Burmeister.
Smock said that his favorite part of the event is “The costumes! What these people actually dare to dress up and come out in public in. Also, I enjoy the ways they decorate their boats.”
After the competition wrapped this year, and several canoes spilled in the water, the winners were finally decided.
This year, the first place winner was Grayling Promotional Association; the team received the “Fastest Hupper Award.”
The second place group was McLean’s Ace Hardware; the team received the “Almost, But Not Quite First Place Award.”
The boat titled “IMM” took home the “Haven’t Got a Clue” award.
North Central Area Credit Union took home two of the many awards of the night, winning both the “Best Costume” award and the “Sinker Award” having not one, but two of their competing boats sink seconds after entering the river.
Perhaps the most coveted award is that of the “People’s Choice” award, given this year to the Forest of Fear team.
Traci Cook, the head of the Grayling Chamber of Commerce felt that the event was a success.
Cook said “all of our volunteers, our fine judges, the Roadrunner and Q-Crew from Q-100 for being our emcees, all of our businesses/organizations that participated, City of Grayling, Public Safety and the Fire Department, and of course our awesome sponsors and donators,” along with the “community for coming out to support this event” helped make this year’s H.U.P. Race successful.