The choice of universities in Tennessee is as varied as the watersheds available to paddle from one end of the state to the other. If you land in the eastern corner of TN, you have the Nolichucky, Wilsons, Watuaga, and the Park in your backyard. If you happen to be enrolled in the western part of the state, you have the plateau, Rock Island and the Ocoee. It is a win-win situation wherever you are in Tennessee. And so are the choices of schools found by ERA during their 2008 College Tour!
After an awesome night at UT-Knoxville several weeks ago, the ERA Tour returned to Tennessee this past week for the second round of the 2008 Outdoor Program Tour. First stop: a reunion at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and the newly formed kayak club. Jeremy and a great group of local enthusiasts are the energy behind the kayak club. And there is hardly a better location for boaters than the Johnson City area–home to former ERA boaters Caleb and Ashley, and a wide spread community of local boaters to help ETSU paddlers continue on after their pool rolling sessions.
If enthusiasm is the secret to creating a good paddling community, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is full of it. Keeping the enthusiasm high is MTSUs new $13 million addition to their outdoor rec program currently in construction, a totally committed director and a pool full of boaters led on by Josh. Unloading our slew of Wave Sport boats at MTSU, it took no time before the pool was full of bow stalling, cartwheeling, rolling whitewater boaters all having fun. It was great to see such a variety of paddlers hopping into the two new Fuse prototypes and giving feedback on what they liked about the new designs.
To top off the schedule, we headed a wee bit north to the bluegrass state and Union College. Union College might not hit the radar as far as NCAA top-five, but as far as enthusiastic outdoor programs, Union College holds its own. Karen-a good chunk of the enthusiasm behind Unions program, has been in Barbourville for ten years. She makes sure that students get out and expand their life skills. We shared Costa Rica/Ecuador video alongside the pool and then roll work and playboating in the (warm) pool! Go Bulldogs!!