Paddling on behalf of NB’s Boat Repair, Ryan Hill and Tyler Thompson won the annual Riverfest raft race for the second time in three years.
Thompson and Hill edged out a six-person team representing KPSM 99.3, a local Christian radio station, and a seven-person crew rowing for McCoy’s Building Supply. Raft race entrants had to create a buoyant vessel for their team, and this year all three rafts successfully completed the race down the Pecan Bayou without sinking.
Hill said he was happy to have pulled out the victory despite his team’s inexperience. “We got to practice in it for like five minutes,” he said. The NB’s Boat Repair raft was named Black Betty and made with barrels. It had a shark mouth painted on its bow like a war plane.
The KPSM raft was Fourth of July-themed and featured lots of flags and American iconography. McCoy’s Building Supply was very on-brand — its rowers used shovels for oars, and they sat on McCoy’s work buckets lined around the vessel.
Thompson said NB’s Boat Repair is his father’s company. Thompson graduated from Early High School and will attend Texas Tech University this fall, while Hill is entering his senior year at EHS.
Thompson said he planned to “buy some fireworks” with his share of the prize money.
Travis Curry, who helped organize the raft race, presented Hill and Thompson with a $300 check for winning the race. KPSM won $150 and McCoy’s took home $75.
Shea Alexander also helped organize the event, and said she enjoyed seeing this year’s rafts. “McCoy’s is really cool,” she said. “They ended up putting a lot of creativity into theirs, and the shovel-paddles are cute.
“KPSM used styrofoam for their float, which was a cool idea,” she said.
The raft race and Riverfest were presented by the Brownwood Jaycees, a local service organization that runs the Lone Star Fair & Expo each year and performs donations and service activities throughout the community.