If you ask Joe Royer, Memphians could use a good paddling. But Royer, owner of Outdoors, Inc., is not referring to punishment but to participation -- participation, specifically, in this Saturday's 25th Annual Outdoors, Inc. Canoe and Kayak Race. "Memphians need to move," he says, citing the city's frequent high ranking among the least-fit cities in the nation. This is something he feels needs to be stressed particularly now, just as Memphis In May, with its partying and barbecue-eating, is being kicked off. (Not that Royer has a problem with Memphis In May, pointing out that the race ends just in time for folks to head to the music fest.)
The race, which draws about 500, is all-inclusive, open to all-comers from Olympic gold-medal winners such as Greg Barton to mom and dad and the kids. This, says Royer, is a way to get Memphians to think of downtown not only as a destination point for basketball games and Beale Street but also as a place for recreation like canoeing and kayaking on the river.
"Memphis must embrace the river," he says.
25th Annual Outdoors, Inc. Canoe and Kayak Race, 10 a.m., Saturday, May 6th. Participants must register by 6 p.m. May 5th at any Outdoors, Inc. For more information, go to OutdoorsInc.com.