Press-Republican

September 28, 2013

Rockeater race attracts record field, crowd

By JOE LoTEMPLIO
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Last weekend’s Rockeater Adventure Race attracted a record field and a healthy payday for the City of Plattsburgh.

Recreation Director Steve Peters told councilors at Thursday night’s meeting that the race had 763 participants, about 100 more than last year.

Of those racers, about 200 were children taking part in the first Pebble-Eater Race, a shorter version of the Rockeater.

“That went really well, and it was a lot of fun to see the kids go through the course,” Peters said. “I think that event will grow a lot.”

THOUSANDS WATCHED

The Rockeater was first held three years ago at the Crete Memorial Civic Center complex at the City Beach. It features a 5K (3.1-mile) race along a course strewn with fun obstacles.

This year’s race included a harvest crawl through apples and pumpkins, a fire pit, tunnel crawl, scramble net, water wading and a mud bog among the dozen obstacles.

A new one added this year featured a monkey-bar rope bridge that racers had to negotiate on a thick rope strung about 4 feet off the ground, reaching overhead for bars to help them keep their balance.

About 2,000 spectators turned out to watch the race and cheer on participants.

They were entertained by radio station 99.9 The Buzz, a race sponsor, and were able to buy food and drinks at Smooth Moves and the Cabana Beach Bar.

CANCER BENEFIT

PenAir was also a sponsor, and about $2,500 was raised for CancerBGone, a local nonprofit group dedicated to supporting the FitzPatrick Cancer Center at CVPH Medical Center.

“It was an amazing day,” said Patricia Diman of CancerBGone.

“We had so much fun, and to fundraise in that atmosphere was great. To have the community involved in something fun that is for a good cause is wonderful.”

BOOST TO BUDGET

Peters said the race brought in about $12,000 in revenue after expenses, which is a boost to the City Beach budget.

The beach cost about $65,000 to operate this year, Peters said, and attendance brought in around $55,000.

The Rockeater revenue will help the budget reach the break-even point, which was the idea when the race was first developed, Peters said.

“Our goal is to get enough revenue to get some of the costs of running the beach off the shoulders of the taxpayers as much as we can.

“It was a great day, and we look forward to continuing this event and making it even better.”

‘SNL’ INSPIRATION

Mayor Donald Kasprzak said he was thankful for the “Saturday Night Live” skit in 2009 that helped spur the idea for the race.

In that skit, former New York Gov. David Paterson was portrayed as a New York City politician who said he was going to visit “those rockeaters up in Plattsburgh.”

“The Rockeater race has not only grown in the number of participants, but in revenue for the city,” the mayor said. “It helps defray some our cost out at the beach, and it is a healthy and fun event that the community seems to enjoy very much.

“I would like to thank ‘Saturday Night Live’ for inspiring us.”

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com