There should be plenty of “SUPsquatch” sightings when Paddle Second Chance returns to Holts Landing State Park near Millville on Saturday, June 24, ready to help raise funds for wounded veterans and their families for the fifth straight year, through Operation Second Chance.
Inspired by the popularity of PSC’s new SUPsquatch mascot, this year’s event will add even more festivities to the mix, with a costume contest and prizes for the best-dressed standup-paddlers and kayakers in attendance.
“We’re encouraging the most creative and outlandish outfits that people want to wear when they paddle,” said PSC Chairman Walt Ellenberger. “Last year was kind of the introduction for SUPsquatch, and he became a big hit, so we’re going to have him give out the award.”
While SUPsquatch could steal the show, the main events of the day will again include SUP (stand-up paddleboard) races, kayak races, and SUP and kayak sprint races, with various heats and divisions for chances to win more prizes and awards throughout.
That’s all in addition to music, food provided by Surf Bagels and Bethany Blues, both regular and adult beverages from Landshark and NKS Distributors, events such as the cornhole toss for land-lovers, and a post-race celebration and awards ceremony.
“It’s always an adventure, and it’s always a lot of fun,” said Ellenberger. “There’s a lot of energy, there’s a lot of celebrating. Afterwards, people can just relax and enjoy the camaraderie and the day.”
But the day isn’t only about fun — it’s also about funds.
Recently, the event eclipsed the $100,000 milestone in money raised for veterans in need. Headed into their fifth year of working with OSC, in what pre-registration numbers indicate will be the event’s biggest turnout to date, PSC now has the chance to work directly with the Wounded Warrior Program in Dover to ensure that everything raised locally goes to the local families that need it.
“You get to know these folks on a one-on-one basis and get to understand their needs,” said Ellenberger of the friendships formed over the years. “It really gives you a chance to see, perennially, the impact that it’s having on these families and puts us in a better position to help out more effectively.”
Of course, making the event a success has been a community-wide effort.
Whether it’s The Starboard in Dewey Beach hosting the event’s packet pickup and happy-hour get-together, donations made by local businesses for prizes and refreshments on race-day, or the 40 local firefighters from the Millville Volunteer Fire Company who have signed up to donate their time to help keep racers safe since Day 1, the support has been what’s give Paddle Second Chance the chance to make a difference.
“That’s just another thing where people have stepped in to help out,” said Ellenberger. “This is a very gracious community. They’re doing it for the meaning behind the cause.”
The event festivities will get under way on Friday, June 23, with the packet pickup and happy-hour at The Starboard from 4 to 8 p.m. Check-in and walk-up registration will be held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at Holts Landing State Park, northwest of Millville, with events scheduled throughout the day.
For more information on Paddle Second Chance, or to register, visit www.paddlesecondchance.com.