Man, grandson prepare for Missouri River Race

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CONCORDIA, Mo. (AP) - Nobody in Ken Wodrich’s family was terribly surprised when he decided to take part in a canoe race.

He’s 71, a retired livestock feed seller, lives on a farm. He’s not a canoeist. And the race - the Missouri American Water MR340 - goes all the way across the state in a Missouri River running fat and sassy right now from spring rain. Probably take three days, at least. Some navigating in the dark, maybe dodging a barge or two. Lot of heat, bugs and sweat.

That’s how Wodrich is. An adventurous sort. Up early, curious. Spry in step and mind and, apparently, paddle.

The family didn’t even think much about it when, after buying a canoe, Wodrich decided he would build one instead - out of trees from timber on his place. But when he got to the point of weaving cane for the two seats, daughter Julie Schroeder had to say something.

“Dad, just buy the seats,” she told him.

He looked at her, looked at his work, then back at her.

“Why?” he asked.

Schroeder laughed telling that last week at her father’s farm northeast of Concordia in Lafayette County, The Kansas City Star reported (http://bit.ly/1l3BeGj ).

“He is all in on this thing - like everything he does,” said Schroeder, of Lee’s Summit. “That’s how my dad rolls.”

And this time, Wodrich is rolling with his grandson, Keton Schroeder, 20, who’s wrapping up a final year at the University of Missouri-Kansas City before heading to medical school.

“He told me he wanted the seat in the back so I couldn’t tell if he was really rowing or not,” Keton said.

Team name: “We Got a Leak.”

Approaching the Wodrich farm on a gravel road, you can’t see the house because of a cornfield. That’s why directions include, “We’re the only rock mailbox on the road.”

Up the driveway, past the house, there it sits on a green lawn, about halfway to a pond: a 16-foot canoe that looks like a piece of furniture. Strips of white ash, dark walnut and cherry all bent, glued and polished, seemingly worthy of a den, but bound for the muddy, murky water of the Missouri.

“Well,” Wodrich said, “I had some wood sitting around.”

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