From the Desk of the Main Street Program Director

Community had a blast during 2nd Annual Paddle Battle
by Rae Gosling, Grayling Main Street Program Director
School is back in session, the traffic is slowing, and the weather is changing; fall is upon us! This summer has been great. We had new businesses open around town, celebrated the 70th AuSable River Canoe Marathon as a community, and had a blast at the 2nd Annual Paddle Battle. Now, Grayling Main Street (GMSt) is looking forward to our autumn traditions and events.
Before I get into the coming events, I would like to take some time to recap GMSt’s 2nd Annual Paddle Battle.  Congratulations Mike Hartman, the 2017 Paddle Battle Champion! We had 18 competitors set to compete, and when a few were caught up at another event Hartman stepped in to complete a match-up. He was later crowned the Paddle Battle Champion, receiving a large trophy and the $500 prize from GMSt! The road to the finals was full of laughter, cheering, and surprise. The semifinals round between Hartman and Matt Letts saw three tip overs before Hartman was able to achieve victory. We were live for all the rounds on Facebook, and I strongly recommend you check our page out and see the action for yourself.  
This year’s event was a little different than previously, but held true to being a fun, family-friendly gathering. In addition to the new date of the event, we also used a new location. Instead of being hosted on the 4th of July, on the 100 Block of Michigan Avenue, we moved the event to the Grayling City Park at the end of August. In the coming weeks, we will evaluate the impact of the moves, as we decide when and where to host next year.  
The other noticeable change to our event was the new Battle Ground Pool! Two decommissioned dumpsters were welded together to create a more stable structure.  This allowed us to open up the pool and canoe, after the champion had been crowned, for showdowns between friends.
Similar to last year, we had an opportunity for spectators to bet on their favorite paddlers. Unlike last year, we did betting at every round, as opposed to the bracket set up like last year. We were able to raffle off just over $200 to spectators between the 15 rounds of paddler face-offs.
Donors and volunteers helped make this event possible. We were fortunate to have the financial support of Michael Taggart and ATC Environmental. Additionally, AuSable Dumpster donated the two dumpsters for the new Battle Ground Pool, and the talented Dane Clark volunteered his time and skills to create a water retaining pool that we can use for years to come. Other community contributors include: Sylvester’s, the City of Grayling, Grayling Fire Department and Public Safety, Hanson House, Crawford AuSable Excellence in Education Foundation, Wayne and Rosemary Nelson, Grayling Promotional Association, Rose Valley Winery, Valley Mist Vineyards, The Grayling Restaurant, Spike’s Keg-O-Nails, and Chad Patterson. For a full listing of how these folks contributed, and all our excellent Paddler Sponsors, please visit our website.
Want to know more about GMSt and what is going on in Downtown Grayling?  Check back in future editions of the Avalanche for more From the Main Street Director’s Desk.  You can also check out our website,, find us on Facebook, or email your questions to
Rae Gosling is the Program Director for Grayling Main Street. She has been with GMSt since April 2016. She is a Grayling resident, wife, mother, local shopper, avid supporter of all things Grayling, and keeps everyone on their toes wondering what color her hair will be next. 

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806

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