Rafters from all over gathered to compete in the Ocoee River Championships.

This was the first time in over 15 years rafters have completed on the Ocoee.


Even though this event hasn't been hosted for years in Polk County, the race organizer says there was an overwhelming amount of participation.

After the summer Olympics in 1996, the Ocoee became the desired spot to host rafting competitions.

The second Ocoee river competition was getting ready to take place in 2001. However, it was interrupted by a terrorist attack on the United States.

“We had a freestyle event at the beginning of September. The following weekend was supposed to be a slalom event, which was actually canceled because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” said Jeremy Adkins.

Race director, Jeremy Adkins, says this event brought athletes and supporters from near and far and helps the local economy.

“Share what we love about the area I have to get as they have to get drinks, and they all love to eat so it naturally benefits everybody,” said Adkins.

Dominique Williams is 14 years old and one of the youngest paddlers in the U.S.

“I really want to grow the sport as being the youngest, and pave the way for more paddle,” said Dominique Williams.

Williams mostly competes in Colorado but wants there to be more opportunities in the Tennessee Valley.

Jack Nelson is in the same boat.

“We are starting to catch up to the events in the West Coast, and this is a great event to have you here,” said Jack Nelson.

The Ocoee River Championship will wrap up Sunday with the event starting at 10 a.m. and end around 3 p.m.

Adkins wants this to become an annual event.