SEARSMONT — The water was high, fast and plenty cold, but best of all, the day was glorious for many additional reasons – namely, it was early spring, mostly sunny, 50 degrees and paddlers in canoes and kayaks made a glorious return to the always popular St. George River Race.

The much-anticipated whitewater event, forced to the river banks the past two years due to the pandemic, was back with a vengeance, with 90 boats and nearly 150 competitors on Saturday, March 26.

Hodding Carter of Camden. Photo by Ken Waltz

See two photo galleries and video below.

There were a few tips, dips and spills in the cold water, but most competitors stayed upright in their watercraft, including paddlers of all ages, from the young to old.

“We had a fantastic turnout,” said Dale Cross, who has organized and been part of the event for decades.

Jackson and Aaron Winslow of Belmont, front, among other boats. Photo by Ken Waltz

The 41st St. George event saw Ben Randall of Sabattus, in his kayak, earn the fastest time over the course in 40 minutes and 47 seconds. The fastest canoe time was 44:08 by Mark Ranco and Chris Francis of Bangor.

The popular event, which started at the Fraternity Village Store in Searsmont and finished in Appleton, saw individuals, couples, families and friends work their way down the river, which including tough sections of Class I, II and III whitewater.

Next up is the 47th Passagassawakeag “Passy” River Race on Saturday, April 2 at 11 a.m at Littlefield Farm on Savage Road in Waldo. The cost is $20 per paddler.

Kayden Richards of Belfast and Brigham Graf of Searsmont. Photo by Ken Waltz

The annual paddle events, which attract canoeists, kayakers and sometimes standup paddleboarders, were not held the previous two years due to COVID-19.

The races are a fundraiser for Maine Operation Game Thief, and supported by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Marine Patrol and Waldo County Regional Communications Center and International Wildlife Crimestoppers.

William and Henry Hastings of Bar Harbor. Photo by Ken Waltz

The individual St. George River Race results, with class, paddlers’ names and residence, place and time, listed were:

OC2Mix — 1, Clayton Cole, Corinth, and Linda Basilicato, Corinth, 46:15; 2, Ellen Mallory, Orono, and Eric Gallandt, Orono, 46:32; 3, Angus Deighan, Newburgh, and Abby Deighan, Newburgh, 47:29; and 4, Rheannon Mabee, Bangor, and J.R. Mabee, Bangor, 49:28.

Logan Perkins and Zozey McGuire of Swanville. Photo by Ken Waltz

OC2Mix Rec — 1, Hannah Rubin, Knoxville, Tenn., and David Rubin, Bangor, 47:28; 2, Ella Allan-Rahill, Orono, and Rod McLain, town unavailable, 47:33; 3, Emily Jolliffe, Searsmont, and Chris Halsted, Searsmont, 48:41; 4, Liza Gallandt, Orono, and Ian Raphael, Norwich, Vt., 52:08; 5, Joanna Fernald, Topsham, and Elia Walker, Newry, 53:00; 6, Phineas Peaks, Penobscot, and Hannah Johnson, Penobscot, 54:00; 7, Eric Taylor, Bangor, and Ellen Hall, Bangor, 55:23; 8, Andrew Blunt, Portland, and Jessica Solis, Portland, 1:07:52; and 9, Eve Dana, Old Town, and Bill Deighan, Newburgh, 1:22:52.

Jem McGuire of Swanville. Photo by Ken Waltz

OC2RM — Mark Risinger, Saco, and Dean Redding, Bangor, 45:23; 2, Sam Jenkins, Kenduskeag, and River Robertson, town unavailable, 46:02; 3, Brady Burke, Hampden, and Jack Burke, Hampden, 48:03; 4, Kevin Coombs, Belfast, and Brian Wagner, Lisbon, 48:38; 5, Jackson Winslow, Belmont, and Aaron Winslow, Belmont, 49:28; 6, Aaron Megquier, Belmont, and Matt Powers, Orono, 50:13; 7, Brian Walls, Bar Harbor, and Bud Williams, Trenton, 53:36; 8, Adam Sawyer, Trenton, and Robert Hanscome, Trenton, 59:05; and 9, Lee Graf, Searsmont, and Lincoln Graf, Searsmont, 1:01:31.

OC2RS — 1, Greg Shute, Alna, and Kate Ziminsky, Pownal, 48:46; 2, Joe McGowan, Searsmont, and True Bragg, Searsmont, 52:28; 3, Ivan Bragg, town unavailable, and Jason Stager, Lincolnville, 1:00:59; and 4, Bryan Albee, Machiasport, and Justin Lawson, Marshfield, 1:10:16.

David Conover of Camden. Photo by Ken Waltz

OC2WW — 1, Adam Lynn, Falmouth, and Tim Schneider, Falmouth, 54:33; 2, Zak Vogel, Blue Hill, and River Plough Vogel, Blue Hill, 56:25; 3, Matt McGuire, Swanville, and Lisa Ravis, Swanville, 59:24; 4, Davis Saltonstall, Rockland, and Hodding Carter, Camden, 1:02:20; 5, Matthew Porter, Northport, and Moscoso (part of name unavailable), Swanville, 1:07.04; and 6, Kyle Walker, Brewer, and Michaela Shioeffler, Topsham, 1:26:18.

Odin Pearson of Appleton. Photo by Ken Waltz

KS — 1, Hank Thornburn, Harpswell, 43:12; 2, Mark Bamford, Bucksport, 46:45; 3, Brian Foley, Orono, 47:35; 4, Jason Baltes, Brunswick, 48:36; 5, Glenn Montgomery, Belfast, 53:12; 6, Larry Merrill, Orrinton, 54:58; 7, Aaron Brunelle, Winslow, 1;07:04; 8, Nick Irving, Waterville, 1:07:20; and 9, Derek Karola, Casco, 1:16:48.

KW — 1, Leslie Gregory, Monroe, 49:57; and 2, Ali Hartikka, Bath, 57:38.

OC1 — 1, Rick Gause, North Yarmouth, 47:06.

Kyle Walker of Brewer and Michaela Shioeffler of Topsham. Photo by Ken Waltz

OC1R — 1, Jake Feener, Allagash, 49:52; 2, Chris Dalton, Bangor, 50:01; 3, Morgan Baxter, Gorham, 51:18; 4, Christopher Corey, Topsham, 53:29; 5, Dan Littlefield, Belfast, 55:52; 6, Jon Thurston, Searsmont, 57:43; 7, Andrew Price, Portland, 58:48; 8, Kirk Donovan, Eddington, 1:01:04; 9, Christian Cotz, South Bristol, 1:04:21; 10, Mike Timberlake, Topsham, 1:18:49; 11, Derik Shean, Brunswick, 1:18:50; and 12, Jonathan Picone, Bangor, 1:21:34.

OCW — 1, Ander Thebaud, Hancock, 56:02; and 2, Jen Adams, Westport Island, 1:02:04.

A paddler has a splashy experience on the course. Photo by Ken Waltz

OC2M — 1, Mark Ranco, Bangor, and Chris Francis, Bangor, 44:08; 2, Evan Smith, Orono, and Ashton Mabee, Bangor, 45:07; 3, Jason Glick, Montville, and Josh Howell, town unavailable, 49:01; and 4, Chris Richmond, Camden, and Carlton Richmond, Camden, 56:31.

Anything Goes — 1, Peter Hastings, Bar Harbor, and Henry and William Hastings, Bar Harbor, 59:58; and 2, Matt McKay, Hampden, and Colin McKay, Hampden, 1:02:20.

Abby Deighan of Newburgh. Photo by Ken Waltz

Century — 1, Bob Martin, Holden, and Terry Wescott, Thorndike, 50:11; 2, David Conover, Camden, and Magnus Day, town unavailable, 58:55; 3, Peggy McKee, Bangor, and Jonathan Rubin, Bangor, 58:37; 4, Michael Bridges, Appleton, and Sue Conover, Appleton, 1:00:00; and 5, Bill Evans, Searsmonth, and Betsy Evans, Newcastle, 1:08:51.

Ben Randall of Sabattus. Photo by Ken Waltz

Clydesdale — 1, David Stearns, Blue Hill, and Alan Stearns, Hallowell, 52:08.

High school — 1, Alexander Price, Portland, and Isaac Widmer, Montville, 51:14; 2, Emma Eckert, Orono, and Ryder Drinkert, Orono, 54:15; and 3, Kayden Richards, Belfast, and Brigham Graf, Searsmont, 59:10.

Eve Dana of of Old Town. Photo by Ken Waltz

OC2 Jr./Sr. 12 and younger — 1, Logan Perkins, Swanville, and Zozey McGuire, Swanvlle, 1:04:57.

OC2 Jr./Sr. 13 and older — 1, Camden LaBree, Glenburn, and Jeff Owen, Orono, 47:50; 2, Gabriel McIntosh and Damon Galipeau, towns unavailable, 52:06; 3, Mason Hartery, Glenburn, and Brian Galipeau, town unavailable, 52:37; 4, Charlotte, McDonald, Portland, and Kelly McDonald, Portland, 53:35; 5, Hayden Lancaster, Greenbush, and Daisy Drinkert, Orono, 54:19; 6, John Dietter, Rockport, and Zeke Dietter, Rockport, 56:21; 7, Jame Pearson, Appleton, and Odin Pearson, Appleton, 56:59; 8, Benjamin Pratt, Swanville, and Jem McGuire, Swanville, 57:34; 9, Peer Abello, Freedom, and Hazel Abello, Freedom, 58:27; and 10, Tom Edge, Camden, and Emmett Edge, Camden, 1:09:30.

K — 1, Ben Randall, Sabattus, 40:47; 2, Justin Varney, Belfast, 44:32; 3, Jeff Sands, Dexter, 46:14; 4, John Lightner, Belfast, 50:28; 5, Adam Hoyt, Eliot, 1:05:15; and 6, John Tofani, Searsmont, 1:16:56.

Kate Ziminsky of Pownal. Photo by Ken Waltz

The race category abbreviations and explanations include:

KS — Kayak short, up to 13 feet 4 inches.

K — Kayaks 13-5 and longer.

KW — Kayak women.

KWW — Kayak weekend warrior, beginner and intermediate kayakers.

Lee and Lincoln Graf of Searsmont. Photo by Ken Waltz

OC1— Open canoe racing, one person.

OC2M — Open canoe racing, two people, racing canoes 16-6 to 18-6.

OC2Mixed — Open canoe racing, one male, one female, race length canoe.

OC1R — Open canoe recreational, one person.

OC1W — Open canoe recreational or racing, one female.

OC2Mixed Rec — Open canoe recreational, one male, one female, recreational canoe.

OC2RS — Open canoe recreational, two person, under 16-6.

OC2RM — Open canoe recreational, two person, recreational 16-6 to 18-6.

OC2 Junior/Senior Rec 12 — Open canoe recreational, one adult, one child ages 12 and younger.

OC2 Junior/Senior 13 — Open canoe recreational, one adult, one child ages 13-16.

Century Rec — Open canoe recreational, two person, combined ages more than 100.

Anything Goes — Any craft that floats.

High school — Open canoe recreational, two high school students.

OC2WW — Open canoe weekend warriors, no racing canoes.

OC2W — Open canoe, two women, any length canoe.

Clydesdale — Open canoe, combined weight 425 pounds.