December 15, 2014
We all know there are many, many amazing things about Memphis. Most of us can agree, however, that the people who live here and the beautiful river that flows on the edge of our downtown are a couple standouts on the top of the list.
In our RiverFolk blog series, we will highlight both of those things by speaking with Memphis residents who are connected in some way to the Memphis Riverfront. They may live downtown and wake up to a view of the river every day, or exercise along the river with friends, or maybe they volunteer their time to protect the environment along the waterfront. We hope you look forward to meeting a few of your neighbors and learning more about all the ways Memphis and its people are connected to our river.
When thinking about who the first person to be featured for the RiverFolk series should be, we had many great options. (Quit being so amazing, Memphians!) Tons of you can be found enjoying the river or working to improve it on a daily basis. There is one face, however, that we not only see near the river but ON the river almost every day.
Joe Royer is the founder and CEO of Outdoors, Inc. a store where you can buy outdoor essentials including canoes, bikes, ski gear and hiking boots. He is a native Memphian, and although he has traveled all over the world canoeing and cycling, he choses Memphis. He wants this city to be a recreation destination for folks. Many people travel to other parts of the country to get outdoors, but we have so much do right here in our own backyards. “We have the Himalayas of rivers [right here],” Royer says.
Royer started a canoe race on the Mississippi River in 1981 and since then it has grown to the largest canoe race in the world – champion canoe and kayak racers from all over come to Memphis to be apart of this family friendly outdoor activity. The event takes place on Father’s Day weekend, Saturday, June 20th this year, and gathers hundreds of people from over all over the world. You can register online for this year’s race now at http://www.outdoorsinc.com/pages/canoe-race.
Along with the canoe race, Royer also started the longest running Cyclocross race in the United States. In it’s 28th year, the OutdoorsInc Cyclocross Championship Race brings in champion cyclists that compete in races like the Tour de France. The race is open to all levels of cyclists with different start times and ages groups. This year’s race date has not been announced yet, but with all the new and improved bike lanes it is sure to be a hit, yet again. In case you haven’t heard about these improvements – Memphis went from being one of the least bike friendly cities in 2008 to one of the most bike friendly cities in 2015, see full article here.
Memphis is as an outdoor destination and it is starting to get even more attention.