Middle Fork Marathon Raises Over $7,000

By Beacon Staff

Rafters and guides from four local rafting companies took full advantage of the beautiful weather last weekend, paddling 27 miles from Moccasin Creek to the Historic Red Bridge in Columbia Falls to raise money for the bridge’s restoration project.

In all, 13 rafts from Great Northern Resort, Montana Raft Company, Glacier Raft Company and Wild River Adventures raised over $7,000 in the inaugural Middle Fork Marathon. The restoration project plans to make the bridge into a pedestrian walkway and part of a county park, according to the First Best Place Task Force.

The money came from donations from valley businesses and community members.

The first place team from Montana Raft Company, guided by Keith Meehan, paddled the 27-mile race in three hours, five minutes, beating Glacier Raft Company by two minutes. Eric Boyd, Kelly Ruffato, Ben Ruffato and Dan Block make up the rest of the winning team. They were presented a metal trophy, handcrafted by local blacksmith and river guide Rick Schmidt.

There was also a barbecue and awards ceremony following the race at Glacier Discovery Square, complete with burgers and brats from Perfect Cuts and beer from Tamarack Brewing and music by the Flip Wilsons.

Montana Raft Company also won the award for best costume with their theme, “Boat of Justice.” I’m not sure what that looked like, but it sounds awesome.

Glacier Raft Company raised the most money, coming in with $3,600 from local businesses.

Here’s a breakdown of the race results, but judging from the sound of things and how beautiful last weekend was, I’d say there were no losers in this fun event:

2010 Middle Fork Marathon Results
1st place – Raft #110 – Sponsored by Montana Raft Company—3 hours 5 minutes
2nd place – Raft #117 – Glacier Raft Company team, sponsored by Edward Jones – 3 hours 7 minutes
3rd place – Raft #121 – Sponsored by Great Northern Resort – 3 hours 11 minutes
4th place – Raft # 116 – Glacier Raft Company team, sponsored by JAT Electric – 3 hours 11 minutes
5th place – Raft #114 – Glacier Raft Company team, sponsored by Glacier Bank – 3 hours 12 minutes
6th place – Raft #113 – Glacier Raft Company team, sponsored by West Glacier Bar– 3 hours 14 minutes
7th place – Raft #109 – Glacier Raft Company team, sponsored by Newman Dentistry and Buffington Dentistry — 3 hours 28 minutes
8th place – Raft #122 – Wild River Adventures team, sponsored by Cimarron Deli – 3 hours 37 minutes
9th place – Raft #115 – Glacier Raft Company team, sponsored by Bighorn Divers – 3 hours 38 minutes
10th place – Raft #118 – Sponsored by Great Northern Resort – 4 hours
11th place – Raft #120 – Sponsored by Wild River Adventures– 4 hours 19 minutes
12th place – Raft #119 – Great Northern Resort team, sponsored by South Fork Saloon – 4 hours 22 minutes
12th place – Raft #112 – Montana Raft Company, sponsored by Sportsman Ski Haus – 4 hours 22 minutes

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