Novice and experienced kayakers are invited to compete in the Riverfront Day Kayak Race. The route takes racers down a historic shipping route from Roscoe to Osceola and offers boatloads of fun for paddlers and spectators alike.

Kayakers can paddle solo or in tandem with a partner.

By Natalie-Elizabeth Tan

The Osage River, part of the Missouri River, has long been a significant part of mid-Missouri’s history, once serving as a bustling shipping route in the 1800s. Today, it offers a picturesque setting for the Riverfront Day Kayak Race, a community event that brings together locals and visitors alike for a day of fun and camaraderie on the water. This year’s race will be held on July 13.

The Riverfront Day Kayak Race runs from Roscoe to Osceola, and participants can either helm a kayak solo or in tandem. You don’t even have to be a seasoned kayaker to participate, as there are many who take part just to have a fun day out on the water.

“I would say it is an easy course,” says Audrey Hogan, a board member of the Osceola Chamber of Commerce. “We have had a range of people participate, from those who haven’t kayaked before to racers who have raced the Mississippi.”

The race course is right on the historic shipping route, and it’s a green feast for the eyes with bluffs, caves, and plenty of wildlife along the way. Novices, fret not, there are spotters along the way to offer assistance to anyone.

This is an event that the entire city comes together for—there are several points along the course where spectators can cheer on the paddlers, with food for all at the end. Pre-race, a local breakfast spot offers breakfast for spectators and paddlers alike.

“There are also swag bags for participants that are stuffed to the brim by local and regional businesses,” Hogan says.

This furry friend is ready to race in the Riverfront Day Kayak Race.

The race is a great chance for both visitors and locals to appreciate the often overlooked beauty of the Osage River. It’s primarily viewed as a fishing spot, but now the river is seen as a venue for exciting events like the Riverfront Day Kayak Race.

“It’s nice to see people from out of town experience the river,” Hogan reflects. “It is beautiful but sometimes it takes visitors to remind us of what we have.”

Whether you’re paddling solo, with a friend, or simply cheering from the sidelines, head to the Riverfront Day Kayak Race to join the fun and soak up the scenery.

All photos courtesy of Erin Epperson.

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.