Frolicking at Cheat Fest

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Taking first was Geoff Calhoun, who smoked his competition by 6 ½ minutes with a time of 56 minutes over the 10 mile course through the Cheat Canyon. Although the higher water level kept some competitors off the river, there were still 143 boats and 155 boaters plus safety boaters in the water, all negotiating such rapids as Decision, Big Nasty, High Falls and Coliseum en route to the finish line at Jenkinsburg Bridge.

“A good time was had by all, even those that decided to participate in the carnage,” says the festival’s Kevin Ryan. “The real thanks has to go to all the volunteers and sponsors too many to mention. The true winner of the event is Friends of the Cheat, who uses all the proceeds of this event to help improve water quality in the Cheat River.”

After Friday’s Massacre-ence race the party continued throughout the weekend, with a music festival, kids games, events races and more. A special pavilion was dedicated to Eloise Morgan Milne, who grew up on the Morgan family farm that once occupied the festival site. As a young girl, she was a self-proclaimed tomboy catching turtles, digging ramps, and searching for morel mushrooms.

Of all her childhood stories, her fondest memories are fishing in healthy, lower Muddy Creek. She has been a major benefactress to the organization since 2004 and a member and volunteer since 1997. Friends of the Cheat unveiled new pavilion signage around 6pm at the festival site.

As for the music festival, it, too, rocked large, with the husband and wife duo of Lindsey & Ty, The Greens, Johnson’s Crossroad, Cello Fury, Stewed Mulligan, the Halftime String Band, Rising Regina, and the Lewis Brothers. The festival saw over 2,500 people through the gates, resulting in one of the most profitable festivals ever (nearly 40% of FOC’s operating budget is funded by festival proceeds.

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