. Join Russell each Thursday as he travels throughout the state visiting the people and places that make Texas unique. Do you have an idea for our next Wilde About Texas? Send it to us by
Wilde About Texas: 50 years of The Texas Water Safari
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
With the sound of a horn, a record 135 boats began the 50th Texas Water Safari at the headwaters of the San Marcos River.
The first race was held in 1962, when Bill George and his friend Frank Brown decided to paddle a boat from San Marcos to Corpus Christi.
"The idea for the boat race transpired while we were going down the river because of all the obstacles and everything we ran into," race creator Bill George said.
Each year more and more people attempt the canoe trip to Seadrift. John Bugee has completed the safari more than 30 times.
"The whole goal of this race is to stay within your ability," he said. "If you persevere and you get here through that river and that bay and everything else and you continue, even if you take 100 hours and you sleep at night. You still have to deal with a lot of things and it's a life lesson."
A lesson in life, a patch and bragging rights is all you will earn when you finish.
"People like to push themselves physically and mentally," Texas Water Safari Board President Allen Spelce said. "The reward is all personal. I think that drives a lot of people, I think that's what makes this race really unique."
Bugee said one man's torture is another's idea of fun.
"It's the worst thing that happens to me every year," Bugee said.
He says the Texas Water Safari makes everything else seem easier.
This is the first year a Water Safari competitor died during the race.
Officials say 30-year-old Brad Ellis died from a condition where sodium levels in the body drop because of excess sweating and drinking too much water.