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Gov. Andrew Cuomo initiates a friendly water fight with the raft containing Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver before they head down the Indian River during the Second Annual Adirondack Challenge Sunday, July 20. (Photo/Pete Klein)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo shares a few quiet moments with daughters Michaela and Cara at Gore Mountain Lodge, at the end of the Adirondack Challenge and before the luncheon and awards ceremony. (Photo/Pete Klein)

District Attorney Marsha King Purdue adjusts straps for Lake Pleasant Supervisor Neil McGovern. (Photo/Pete Klein)

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver gets a little help as he gingerly steps aboard the raft he captained down the Indian River. (Photo/Pete Klein)


Everyone wins at the Adirondack Challenge

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - Updated: 8:29 AM


Express News Staff

INDIAN LAKE -- Sunday's 2014 Adirondack Challenge went off without a visible problem and provided more things to do than last year, not just for the hundreds of invited guests but also for residents and visitors.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo created the Adirondack Challenge to highlight the beauty and recreational opportunities available to visitors of the region through a day of outdoor activities.

The July 20 event officially began with sign-ups and check-ins for whitewater rafting on the Indian River; golfing at Cedar River Golf Course; fly-fishing on the Cedar River; a horseshoe tournament at Byron Park; a loop motorcycle ride from Indian Lake to North Creek, Minerva, Long Lake, Blue Mt. Lake and back; a hiking challenge on the just-opened trail to OK Slip Falls, led by Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens; and a host of things to do for everyone at Byron Park including Taste NY booths, a bounce house and obstacle course, water slide, a bucking bull ride, birds of prey, seaplane rides, face painting, a caricature artist, an invasive species exhibit and numerous demonstrations.

The highlight of the day was whitewater rafting, a three-mile ride down the Indian River. Twenty-one rafts, each carrying six crew, enjoyed a Class III (moderate) ride on the river under mostly blue skies and mild temperatures.

Teams included state legislators, city mayors, regional economic development people and county and town leaders from around the state and as far away as Niagara Falls.


At a late afternoon awards banquet at Gore Mountain Ski Center in nearby North Creek, Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy declared the friendly rafting contest between Cuomo and fellow Democrat Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin had ended in a 19-minute, 20-second tie.

"Imagine that, a dead tie," Cuomo joked. "I thought I had a world record."

North Country Sen. Betty Little captained the NYS Senate Republican Conference team. "I've taken to calling [Cuomo] our No. 1 tourism promoter," said Little.

"This is really about growing jobs and economic opportunity in the North Country," said Shumlin. "What's good for the Adirondacks is also good for the Green Mountain State. When you prosper, we prosper."

Senate Majority Co-Leader Jeff Klein of the Bronx, whose team won the City Slickers Award, said, "There's still a disconnect between upstate and downstate. This shows we're one New York."


Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who participated in the whitewater race for the second year, invited Adirondack officials to visit the city. "My hometown may not be as picturesque, but trust me, riding in the back seat of a New York City cab can be quite exhilarating," he said.

NYS Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "Nothing is like being here and seeing all the beauty. We had fun and my family is now ambassadors to the Adirondacks.

Little was given the "Little Raft That Could" award and Silver was recognized as the "Best Rapids Negotiation Guide."

The Challenge was heavily covered by the press from around the state and Vermont, and even a reporter from China and one from Russia.

"New York's Second Annual Adirondack Challenge showcased everything the Adirondacks has to offer like never before," Cuomo said. "Last year we set the bar high, and this year we went even further."

Nora and Dave Harrington and Indian Lake Supervisor Brian Wells, right, were among the large group that took part in the Adirondack Challenge by taking a motorcycle ride through the mountains. (Photo Pete Klein)

Bill Osborne, left, and state Sen. Hugh Farley met up at Byron Park during the Adirondack Challenge and talked about Hamilton County's economic needs. Osborne is the director of the Hamilton County Planning, Tourism and Economic Development Office. (Photo/Pete Klein)

The Hamilton County crew has their downriver paddles ready. Shown are (top row, from left) Superintendent of Highways Tracy Eldridge, Director of Public Health Susan Franco and Wells Supervisor Brian Towers and (bottom) are Board Supervisors Chairman Bill Farber, District Attorney Marsha King Purdue and Lake Pleasant Supervisor Neil McGovern. (Photo/Pete Klein)

Adirondack Council Executive Director Willie Janeway, left, and Indian Lake Central School Superintendent Mark Brand were among those who took part in the Adirondack Challenge by fly-fishing on the Cedar River. (Photo/Pete Klein)

One of the more popular things for children to do at the Adirondack Challenge was the water slide at Byron Park. (Photo/Pete Klein)


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