Gusto Time is (almost) back – PCPatriot

Melanie and Tyler are playing. (Picture William Paine)

By William Paine

for the patriot

Late spring in the New River Valley is the perfect time to take in nature’s beauty with majestic mountains and verdant valleys in full bloom.

It’s time to thank your lucky stars for living in such a wonderful time and place as this.

But perhaps even more importantly, in the days following the first Saturday of summer, it’s time to train for the 5e Annual Gusto event with GRAPeJAM paddle board race. For a change of pace, this year’s Gusto begins and ends at the Rock House Marina on Peak Creek.

Yes, for the 5e Year in a row, many people will paddle a board as hard as they can, for as long as they can, just to claim the title of master paddler or maybe just to finish in the top five.

There is also recognition for the top three in the Young Masters Paddler class (17 and under) at this year’s Gusto, as well as the top three women and top two veteran paddlers (65 and over).

Jeff Matthews and Joy (photo William Paine)

As always, we have a canine companion award for the 1st to finish with a stuffed animal on board. This year we will also give a Paddler’s Pet Award to the paddler with a furry companion who wins 2n/a Square. If there aren’t two pets in this year’s race, we’ll give the paddler’s pet to the best looking paddler in the competition!

The Gusto Awards Ceremony will take place shortly after the last contestant crosses the line. Paddlers will compete in either the five-mile Master Class race or the 2.1-mile Bona Fide Class race. Both races will start in front of the Rock House Marina at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 25.

The Master Paddler contest stretches 2.5 miles to Peak Creek before returning downstream to end at the Rock House Marina.

Bona Fide race competitors turn around downstream after rounding a post on the I-81 bridge spanning Peak Creek.

Those who complete the Master Class will earn the top five spots in the Gusto, but everyone who completes either class will receive a red wristband declaring that they have, indeed, caught the Gusto.

As its name suggests, the 5e The annual Gusto event with GRAPeJAM is more closely tied than ever to the Appalachian Junior Musicians of Greater Pulaski.

This year’s event will include a post-race musical performance featuring GRAPeJAM students as well as some of their instructors. This musical interlude will take place after a donation to GRAPeJAM, made possible thanks to the generous support of the 5e Annual Gusto with GRAPeJAM sponsors.

These most excellent companies are: The Glenn Insurance Company, The Travis Team Realty, MOVA Technologies, Foothills Chiropractic, Now Then and Forever Collectables, Interstate Construction, First Community Bank, Rocky Acres Property Mgmt. and the law firm of Gilmore, Sadler, Ingram, Sutherland and Hutton.

On Friday, June 3, one of our GRAPeJAM instructors, Melanie Robinson, showed off her talents to the general public by performing at the Fine Art Center’s First Friday Concert Series at Maxx On Main. Mélanie interpreted several songs with her violin (or is it a violin?) and even sang a little too.

Melanie put on a great show, adding a healthy dose of witty banter between songs to keep things light. Halfway through her set, she invited 14-year-old Tyler Simkins to share the stage with her. Tyler, one of the Greater Pulaski Junior Appalachian Musicians students, played several banjo tunes, which Melanie joined in to add to the musical flavor of the moment.

Melanie and Tyler along with some members of the Paine family will be attending and performing this year at the 5e Gusto annual event.

Time to register for the 5e The annual Gusto event with GRAPeJAM is now…or at least sooner than later. If you don’t have a paddle board, call to reserve one with Mountain 2 Island at the Rock House at (540) 980-1488.

There is always serious competition in the Gusto. Greensboro firefighter Jeff Matthews has won three of the last four Gusto races. At 4e Annual Gusto, Jeff won with his dog, Joy, on his board. Thus, he won both the Master Paddler award and the Canine Companion award. To say that Jeff is “in shape” is a serious understatement.

Don’t worry, most Gusto competitors are casual paddlers and in some cases have never set foot on a stand-up paddle board (SUP) before the start of the race.

The Gusto is most definitely a race, but for many, just completing the 2.1-mile Bona Fide course will be enough for their egos. So, while some will test their physical limits, other less serious competitors will take their time to get to the finish. It’s a good time anyway

So sign up for the 5e Annual Gusto Event with GRAPeJAM at – It’s $25 and the experience is well worth it…and you win a nice red wristband and the new red moisture-wicking Gusto race jersey to race in !

So you will have this to yourself.

But no matter what, always remember…

Through the streams of life both righteous and foul

Remember, there’s no better time than now to…

Opt for the Gusto!

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