The Cheat River Festival weekend kicks off with one of the largest, if not the largest, mass start downriver races in the country known as the Cheat River “Massacre-ence”. The Race organizes its start about one mile downriver of the town of Albright, West Virginia, at the meeting booth for Laurel Highlands Outfitters. The race course traverses about 10 miles through the Cheat Canyon, dropping at a maximum gradient of 40 feet per mile. All the famous (and infamous) rapids are paddled, including Decision, Big Nasty, High Falls and Coliseum. The front of the pack usually reaches the finish line, Jenkinsburg Bridge, in about 1 hour, depending on water levels while the back of the pack, the slower boats, usually finish up around 1:45 minutes. After the race, paddlers meet back at the Wilderness Voyagers building in Albright for the Post-Race Party and awards.
Early registration ($25 per racer) is open through 5pm on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014. Racers who register early are guaranteed to receive a Race T-shirt.
You may also mail a check made out to Friends of the Cheat. Send to:
Downriver Race Coordinator
Friends of the Cheat
119 S Price St.
Kingwood WV 26537
Race Day Registration ($30 per racer) will be open from 2pm – 4:30pm at the meeting booth for Laurel Highlands Outfitters – same turn as you would make for the Cheat River festival public parking (marked by a banner across Rt. 26). The booth will be to your left as you proceed down the hill. Save time by printing and filling out your race registration form before you arrive: Race Registration Form (Day Of)
At registration you will receive a race bib, a T-shirt (as long as they last), and a Cheat Fest entrance wrist band.
The mandatory pre-race meeting and safety talk will start on the bank of the river at 4:40pm.
After the meeting, all racers will have 10 minutes to get in the water and set up behind the old railroad trestle. A 1 minute warning horn will sound. All paddlers join in a mass start signified by one long horn around 5:00pm.
Unfortunately, shuttle is NOT available for racers this year (See notice from 2013 for details: Attention Cheat Canyon Racers Re Shuttle). Racers are encouraged to car pool because parking is limited. Race organizers will help direct parking in the afternoon at Jenkinsburg. Please be aware that the condition of Bull Run Road has continued to deteriorate and use caution when driving. CLICK HERE TO CONTRIBUTE to our effort to improve access road conditions.
The After Race Party and Awards will start around 9pm at the Wilderness Voyagers outfitter building in Albright (at the junction of Coal Lick Road and Rt. 26 next to Cheat Canyon Campground). Race results and awards will be announced at the party. Free beverages will be available. Food will be for sale.
Errors in timing most often occur because a racer’s bib was folded in such a way that it was impossible to read correctly. If you spot an error or have a comment or question, please e-mail Kevin (kevin-at-cheat.org). We will try to sort it out.
The 17th annual “Massacre-ence” kayak race on the Cheat River, WV kicked off the Cheat River Festival on Friday May 4, 2012. The race is one of the largest, if not the largest, mass start kayak races in the country. This year, the water level was above average (3.9 feet) providing one of the higher levels that this race was run. First place went to 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. See below for the complete results. 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. A good time was had by all, even those that decided to participate in the carnage! To see pictures and video of the race, check out Dale Briggs Footage on facebook or dbriggs27 on You Tube.
Special thanks to Rick Gusic, long time coordinator of the race, and Kevin Ryan of the Friends of the Cheat who stepped forward to run the race after Rick got called away on business. Of course, 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 improve water quality in the Cheat River.