Having just spent the last weekend immersed (I do love puns, especially oarsome ones) in the Avon Descent activities I now know that it is an event the City of Bayswater, all other participating local governments and the whole of Western Australia should be proud of.
The Avon Descent, which just celebrated their 42nd anniversary, started in 1973 and consists of a 2-day gruelling white water 124 km challenge. It is the only event in the world where both power craft and paddle craft compete. It now attracts paddlers from around the world and the South Africans seem particularly keen to come over here and win (congrats to Lance Kime for being 2014 winner, Hank McGregor for 2013 … – you get the picture).
As someone privileged to represent the City of Bayswater residents at the finish line, and hand out medallions to the competitors who successfully complete this event, I can attest to the varied number of accents I hear, which signals this is truly a global competition.
But the Avon Descent has now grown beyond ‘just’ the competition on the water and morphed into a weekend of fun filled family entertainment. To have seven local governments working together, with the Avon Descent Association, enables a truly unique community experience where there are activities from Northam all the way to Bayswater. It is also an event which attracts a staggering 2,000 volunteers who help out over the week-end. Little wonder the East Metropolitan Regional Council (EMRC), LotteryWest and Liza Harvey, the Minister for Tourism, are such avid supporters of this unique sporting event – and credit to them.
Yes there are trials, both on the river (left) and on the river banks (right), but it is all worth it and I thank the dedication and commitment of all participants. They have in fact inspired a group of City of Bayswater Councillors to participate in the 2015 Avon Descent; we don’t aim to win but we aim to complete – and that in itself is the challenge that has been “enjoyed” by over 25,000 people to date. (Cr’s Toldo, McKenna and Kenyon; there’s no getting out of it now it’s public:)
The Avon Descent is truly a unique community event which WA should be proud of.