KERMIT - The Kermit Volunteer Fire Department held their first ever kayak race on the mighty Tug Fork River in Kermit on Saturday afternoon and fire chief Wilburn "Hawky" Preece said the inaugural event was a huge success with 25 kayakers turning out for the event.

They came up with this event as a way to help buy additional water rescue gear for the fire department. The KVFD is the only department in Mingo County and one of just a handful in the southern part of the state to have a well-trained swift-water operations team.

The winner of the race was Tonya Farley of Kermit and she donated her winnings back to the fire department. Preece said that he was thrilled with the turnout despite the rainy conditions on Saturday afternoon. He said over 30-40 people flocked to the bridge on Virginia Avenue in Kermit to watch the end of the race.

Rebel River Outfitters was on hand renting out kayaks to participants and also donated money to the fire department, according to Preece.

The KVFD plans to have more events like this on the river throughout the remainder of the summer.

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