Saturday, December 4, 2021

Rookery Bay 7th Annual Adventure Race



By Samantha Husted 

On December 10, the Rookery Bay Estuarine Research Reserve held it’s seventh annual Adventure Race. It was a chilly, windy Saturday morning, but the water at Henderson Creek was calm. Forty-seven eager participants, ranging in age from nine to 65, suited up and grabbed their kayaks, ready to put their skills to the test.

The race consisted of a 3k-kayak ride and trail run. Participants were able to compete as individuals, relay teams or as tandem teams.

Susan Cone from Up A Creek Kayak Tours in Naples has been organizing the Adventure Race since it’s inception in 2009. She



considers it to be a “small grassroots event” with many locals and Rookery Bay employees coming out to compete.

The atmosphere was congenial as the contestants took to the water for what was sure to be a scenic ride through Rookery Bay’s Henderson Creek. After racers finished the kayak portion, it was off to the trails for the second half of the race. As contestants made their way to the finish line, they were able to carb up on an array of snacks and healthy treats.

Among the participants was the Ponke family



visiting Naples from Canada. Jeff Ponke and his nine-year-old daughter, Emily, earned the second place prize for the male/female tandem team.

Patrick Scheele took home first place with the overall best score in the individual male category while Christen Spake took first place for the overall individual female category.

All proceeds from the race benefit the Friends of Rookery Bay, a volunteer run organization that supports the Estuarine Research Reserve in it’s educational and environmental endeavors. For more information on the Rookery Bay Estuarine Research Reserve, check out

If you’d liked more information about Up a Creek Kayak Tours, visit



or call 239-293-6232.

Adventure Race Results

Individual Male
Overall: Patrick Scheele

Ages 50-59
1st: Bill Becker
2nd: Daniel Jackson

Ages 60-69
1st: Neil Harden
2nd: Don Tilton
3rd: Steve Young

Individual Female
Overall: Christen Spake

Under 30
1st: Victoria Ramos
2nd: Sarah Norris
3rd: Viviana Girimonstas
4th Brittany Bremer

Ages 30-39
1st: Billie Porter

Ages 40-49
1st: Sally Stein
2nd: Darlene Rodriguez
3rd: Danielle Green

Ages 50-59
1st: Tracy Acuff

Doug Besteman and Bob Bliss

1st: Eric and Laura Foht

Tandem Team
Overall: Sarah Falkowski and Jill Schmid

1st: Rolando Vasallo and Randee Ehrlich
2nd: Jeff and Emily Ponke
3rd: Abby Ponke and Arthur Johnstone
4th: Jill and Brad Whitcomb

1st: Amy and Mikayla Ponke

Surf Ski
Overall: Doug and Jack Lindsay

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