Battle on the Bayou in Ocean Springs draws participants from around the globe

Battle on the Bayou in Ocean Springs draws participants from around the globe
Battle on the Bayou contestants prepare their boats (photo credit: WLOX)
Battle on the Bayou contestants prepare their boats (photo credit: WLOX)

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The largest paddling event in the entire state of Mississippi went off without a hitch Saturday in Ocean Springs. Battle on the Bayou happens rain or shine, and the weather this weekend pushed participants even more.

More than 100 people and 80 boats registered for the event; each person hoping to come out with a win.

"Today we're hoping to come out on top, number one," said participant, Carson Pellerin.

Organizers and racers refer to Pellerin and his two brothers as the triplets. This is year seven for the Louisiana brothers at Battle on the Bayou. Many say they're good at what they do, racing in something specially made.

Pellerin said, "It's custom fitted with three seats. We ordered it with three seats just so we can race it."

"It's really fun when I can go by them and beat them, you know," said participant Stan Stark. He's one of the oldest participants in this year's race.

"I figure I can do it in about an hour and thirty-five minutes," he said.

The 78-year-old said it takes skill and a lot of practice to place in a competition like this one.

"Put the boat in the water and paddle a lot. Good for your upper body strength and all of that. That's what it takes. The more you're in the water the better you're going to finish," Stan said.

"We've had people come down from Pennsylvania. We have people coming from Texas. Canada comes down quite often. We even have one guy who actually flies in from Germany once a year for this race," said Michael Pornovets. He owns 'Everything Kayak' and sponsors Battle on the Bayou.

They're racing to the finish line, a nearly nine-mile course up Old Fort Bayou. But it wouldn't be a race without a little competition.

Pornovets said, "Now when they're coming back they zigzag through some of the race course participants, right. Hence the Battle on the Bayou."

The fastest contestant finished in one hour and 12 minutes. The triples completed the race in one hour and 17 minutes.

This isn't a timed race but organizers say most participants finish in four hours or less.

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