Tippecanoe River State Park’s Tippy Tri Challenge serves as an excellent opportunity for families to get into the park and experience all it has to offer. On Saturday, July 29, competitors hiked, biked, and paddled their way to the finish line in the eighth challenge.
“It starts out with the option of a one-mile run/hike or a 2 1/2 mile run/hike,” said Property Manager of Tippecanoe River State Park Vernon Gillum. “That goes from our playfield area to the fire tower parking lot. In the parking lot, there's a transition point where you go on bicycles for four miles and end up at the river tent area where we will transition again into the kayak and canoe course. That will be a three-mile course down the river on canoes and kayaks until you finish at the Nature Center.”
The Tippy Tri Challenge began as a collaborative effort between Tippecanoe River State Park staff and the Pulaski County Soil and Water Conservation District. As time went on, park staff began to take on more and more responsibility.
“It was their idea, but they've kind of dropped off from doing it while we've continued on with it because it's a nice summer event for us,” said Gillum.
Every year, the event attracts a small but dedicated group of competitors and this year may have seen the hardest-working group yet. The small pool of athletes makes the event more inviting for newcomers and families, something Gillum is always happy to see.
“This is a great fit for families,” he said. “We do keep time in case people want to compare their times from year to year, but that's not really why we're doing it. It's more about family involvement; we've had some families that will come out with their kids and do this event. It’s a nice time to come out and enjoy the park.”
What Gillum really enjoys about the Tippy Tri Challenge is the fact that it gets people interacting with the park. All of the trails used as part of the course for the triathlon are open to visitors whenever the park is.
“Visitors could do the same event on their own any time they wanted to,” Gillum said. “Our ultimate goal is to get people into the park and enjoy it. You get a good view of the park from a lot of different angles and get a good look at a lot of different parts of it during the race.”
This event wouldn’t be possible without the local businesses and community members that continue to support it.
“There are a couple of big sponsors that, year after year, sponsor a lot of the great events here; Healey’s Home Store and Ace Hardware in Winamac and Tractor Supply in Knox are big supporters of a lot of our events.”
The Tippy Tri Challenge had another successful year of bringing the community out to engage with the gorgeous state park. As the race quickly closes on a decade in Winamac, Gillum and the rest of the team are excited to see everyone the event has brought to Tippecanoe River State Park.
To learn about other awesome activities to check out in Pulaski County, visit the Pulaski County Community Development Commission's website.