Submitted by Marketing By Gabby
Rafts, kayaks, and boats were spread like confetti across an 8-mile route on the Buffalo River in Lobelville, Tennessee on Saturday, July 23. Attendees of the 2022 Buffalo River Rampage Festival hosted by the Perry County Chamber of Commerce at Buffalo River Resort participated in a variety of events including a rampage regatta and kayak race.
If you’ve never heard of a rampage regatta, then you’re in good company because I didn’t know until I saw it with my own two eyes. Teams of participants came to the festival with a floatation device of their own design. Then, they competed in a 5-mile race down the river on their creation.
You would think the top two vehicles of river transportation would have been constructed of the highest quality material, but you’d be wrong. Winning teams, The Guys on the Buffalo and Buffalo River Resort, didn’t search much farther than their own backyards to find what they needed to make their award-winning floatation devices.
Submitted by Marketing By Gabby
Brixton Litle, Walker Ryan, and Tyler Dudley, also known as Guys on the Buffalo, took first place this year, finishing the 5-mile race in 47:53. They have competed in the Buffalo River Rampage Regatta four times. To construct their float, they started with a big plywood square, but realized it wasn’t streamlined enough.
“So we did the best thing we could come up with,” head builder Litle said. “We built the frame, then we filled it up with inner tubes.
This year’s float was the same as last year’s with a few improvements. “We realized with three guys on it, it wasn’t long enough to keep us floating,” Litle said. “So we cut the back of it off and extended it out four feet.” They also added a buffalo mask at front and rear of the watercraft, an homage to the river that has brought them such good times.
Coming in 24 minutes behind Guys on the Buffalo was the Buffalo River Resort team consisting of co-owners of the resort, Bigg Vinny and Lance Carpenter. At twice the age and weight of the gold medalists, Bigg Vinny and Carpenter were pleased with their performance. They were in high spirits, cracking jokes about their experience on the river Saturday morning.
“We were pound for pound the heaviest raft on the water,” Carpenter said. “There’s over 600 pounds between the two of us.”
A main feature of Bigg Vinny and Carpenter’s float was vinyl siding. “Reason we used vinyl siding is because it was lying in the backyard,” Carpenter said. “It’s got holes in it which creates more tow, which makes it a lot harder to go upstream because everything is going inside it.”
“It lets the wind through, but it also lets the water through,” Bigg Vinny said. “We just hoped that the water going out of it would give us a little propulsion, but I don’t think it did.”
Taking a slightly less competitive approach to the race, Bigg Vinny and Carpenter stopped to jump on cliffs, throw water balloons with other river goers, and even paddled with a guitar.
At the conclusion of the regatta, it was time for the main event: the 8-mile kayak race, which included divisions for men, women, and juniors. Moses Martin took first place in the men’s division, Sara Martin in the women’s division, and Boaz Robles in the juniors division.
My husband and I even snagged second place in our divisions, which was a fun and unexpected surprise! It was such a hot day that we took a couple of breaks to hop out of the kayak and swim so I was certain that would set us back in the race.
Submitted by Perry County Chamber of Commerce
Because we were battling it out on our kayaks, we missed the Duck Race. But Perry County Chamber of Commerce executive director Allyson Dickey filled me in:
“The Duck Race is where we drop up to 220 rubber ducks in the water,” she said. “We sell chances at $5 per duck, and each duck has a number. The first three numbers across the finish line win prize money.”
Between the Rampage Regatta, kayak races, cornhole tournament, and duck race, the Perry County Chamber of Commerce with the support of presenting sponsors distributed over $3,000 in cash prizes to winners.
Presenting sponsors included Buffalo River Resort, Bank of Perry County, First Bank, King’s Tire & Auto, City of CITY OF LOBELVILLE, Dixielands Glory LLC, The Moore Firm, The Frame Shop & Gifts, The Gutter Crew, Tim Pardue and Centurion Products, and Farm Bureau of Perry County.