Now going for well over 30 years, the Upper Yough Race is a community institution. It’s the lone long release guaranteed each season, so that the dozens of racers can have the river to themselves while speeding their way through the rapids.
But when it started in 1981, it was just a dozen boaters, trying to stave off the usual summer boredom and looking for a way to challenge themselves. And from that very first race, the challenge became, how in the hell do you outrace Roger Zbel?
As the race grew, so did the traditions that came with the race. After a Corsair van found its way into the river in the 1980’s, Jess Whittemore got it into his head that he would create a new price for the worst carnage of each race. And thus, the Steering Wheel of Misfortune was born