San Benito promotes kayak regatta for April

SAN BENITO — The city is heavily bankrolling its first kayak races.

The San Benito Economic Development Corporation has approved $10,000 to fund an advertising campaign promoting the San Benito Rotary Club’s first Resaca City Kayak Regatta, set for April 29.

“It’s a good way to promote the city,” Mayor Celeste Sanchez said. “It’s a new experience for South Texas residents. It’s a new destination to go see.”

City Commissioner Esteban Rodriguez said the event is expected to draw tourism.

“The city needs to back up an event like this,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a first-time event. It promotes the city. It’s the first (kayak regatta) down here. It’s going to bring people to the city.”

The event will help promote the winding resaca for which the city is known, city spokeswoman Martha McClain said.

“This is an event that is a natural for the city, which carries the moniker The Resaca City,” McClain said in a statement. “It showcases one of our greatest assets, and demonstrates our beauty and diversity while attracting visitors to view the city for potential future business ventures or homeowners.”

The advertising campaign is expected to launch this week, said Alma Ortiz, the Rotary Club’s president-elect who serves as the event’s co-chairwoman.

“What they’re doing for us is big,” Ortiz said of the EDC-funded advertising campaign.

Ortiz said the campaign will use newspapers and television to promote the event.

“I feel San Benito is going to be known that day,” she said.

This past week, city commissioners approved the Rotary Club’s request to hold the event at Heavin Resaca Park.

To comply with the city’s requirements, Rotary International’s $1 million insurance policy will cover the event.

“We’re moving forward,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz said the event will mark the first kayak races in South Texas.

“It’s history in the making,” she said.

From the sky, she said, Fort Worth-based Quad-A Concepts will use four drones to videotape the event.

The San Benito irrigation district, which oversees the resaca, gave the Rotary Club approval to hold the race.

“This event has never been done before,” Ortiz said.

Organizers expect about 200 kayakers will enter the regatta set for Heavin Resaca Park, Ortiz said.

Co-chairman Mike Frazier said he expects 8,000 to 10,000 spectators.

“They’re going to be pumping gas, staying in hotels,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz said the event is expected to feature about 50 kayak races along a one-third-mile course from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

So far, she said, all-day entertainment will include live music, a car show and an art show.

Organizers have drawn strong support from local businesses.

“We have a lot of sponsors looking forward to the event,” Ortiz said.

Bass Pro Shops, she said, will donate kayaks to the event’s top-finishing man and woman.

The event’s proceeds will help fund scholarships and development of a disc golf park at the city’s new south-side park off FM 2520, Ortiz said.

If You Go

WHEN: 8 a.m. April 29

WHERE: Heavin Resaca Trail Park, 705 N. Bowie, San Benito

COST: $40 per person before April 7, $55 per person April 21

CONTACT: 956-793-4244