MADRID — The park at the community center was cluttered with cars, canoes and camping gear this weekend for the 23rd annual Madrid Canoe Regatta.
People from across the country and Canada came prepared for a weekend on the Grasse River; some even set up tents to camp out Saturday night.
Organizers Bernard L. Moulton and his wife, Amy J., said about 100 people usually attend the weekend races and most are from out of town and even out of state.
“They like this race course because it starts and finishes in the same place, so they don’t have to move their cars,” Mr. Moulton said. “Also, since it’s right here in the park, they can camp out and make a weekend out of it.”
About 25 different classes of both a 9-mile and a 3-mile race were held Saturday and several more classes for 16-mile, 13-mile and 6-mile races were held Sunday.
Mr. Moulton said several sponsors make it possible to have prize money on each race day up to $250.
Anne McMahon and Judy Lyon are from Montreal and joined in the 6-mile recreation race Sunday. They are members of the Pointe-Claire Canoe Club.
“It’s just lovely being on the water,” Ms. McMahon said.
Ms. Lyon said she participated in last year’s races as well.
“It’s like a holiday every time you go,” she said.
Mrs. Moulton said one reason canoeing events in the north country attract so many from out of state is that “there are so many waterways that people can easily put a canoe or kayak in.”
Mr. Moulton said the out-of-towners also help boost the local economy in Madrid.
Jeffrey G. Pedersen and his wife, Laurie S., owners of Southern Tier Canoe, had a tent set up in the park selling anything from energy drink systems to nutrition supplies to boat supplies to paddles to T-shirts.
Mrs. Pedersen said she and her husband, who are from Gilbertsville, travel to all of the canoeing weekends in the north country with their business.
“Jeff participates in the races,” she said. “This is one of the big ones because so many Canadian paddlers come to it.”