Look Around: Chunky River Raft Race - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Look Around: Chunky River Raft Race

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NEWTON COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

After a 15-year break, they are once again having the Chunky River Raft Race the first Saturday of June at Chunky just west of Meridian.

They disbanded the race years ago not because of lack of interest, but because of too MUCH interest, and it had sort of gotten out of hand. Jim and Rick Lewis at the Chunky Shoals Fish Camp decided it was time for a revival of the race.

There is an all-day festival associated with it and some money is raised for charity through it now.

But the main reason for picking up the race, Rick says its just time to have some fun again.

Rick Lewis is one of the organizers. "Its getting people back outside off the couch. Outside enjoying this beautiful river. I'm also a part of the East Mississippi Foothills Land Trust that takes care of the watershed and the river. The river is a beautiful recreational area. We've just got to keep it clean and that's one of the things we're promoting."

There is a trophy and a cash prize awarded to the winning raft. And by winning, that doesn't mean the one that crosses the finish line first.

The winner is the one judged to be the most creative.

Some are very artsy, but not all that sea worthy.

Josh Turner of Vicksburg is the defending champion. His craft won last year. And he's back bigger and better this year with the Spirit of America.

Josh says, "Well it's two 15 foot pontoons with a trampoline as our, its kind of like a catamaran style. 30-gallon drum-chairs we put together. It took us probably about four evenings of working, having a good time."

That's the point. Having a good time.

John Collins of Meridian highly recommends the chunky as a fun river. "It's shallow. It has slow moving areas with a few shoals. You wouldn't even consider it class one rapids. It depends on how the water level is, too. And the water level right now is where we may have to drag a little bit over some of the rocks. But it's just a beautiful river. Trees overhang it. Nice and peaceful. Good experience."

And that's what they hope to keep this reincarnation of the Chunky River Raft Race being, a good experience. A family outing day. Where you can exercise your creativity, design and build your craft. Bring it to the Chunky River Raft Race and literally see if your idea will float. 

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