Cousins Patrick Schreiber of Dallas and Matthew Schreiber of Wichita Falls (formerly of Windthorst) are gearing up to enter the Texas Water Safari race Saturday, June 8th in a 12’ canoe. According to the race website, The Safari is said to be the “World’s Toughest Boat Race.” The race begins in the San Marcos River, into the Guadalupe River, through the bay in San Antonio, through the ship channel and ending in the shrimping village of Seadrift on the Texas coastline, a total distance of 260 miles. The first official race was held in 1963 and is run annually on the second Saturday of June. The primary requirement is a boat powered only by human muscle. Racers must take all equipment needed with them, receiving only water, ice and food along the way. This year, 185 boats are registered for the race.
This will be Patrick’s third time to take part in the race, but it is a first for his cousin Matt. Their goal, according to Patrick, is to win first place and hopefully finish the race in 72 hours. Each will take a turn sleeping only 1-2 hours at a time while the other partner continues paddling. Patrick said they will endure treacherous waters with alligators, snakes, and ocean waves.
“After 45-50 hours of paddling, living on energy drinks, water, and fried chicken, exhaustion begins to set in,” Patrick said. “Then, hallucinations may begin.” Patrick said he has seen the moon fall out of the sky, his son passing him on a Huck Finn Raft and Christmas trees lighting up the river. Of course, his partner does not see the same thing but has his own hallucinations. So, they learn not to say anything, but they both know by the look on each other’s face. Alligator eyes glowing in the dark, however, are real!
Patrick and Matthew have put in 200-300 miles practice before the event this year. Most of it has been done on the Little Wichita River and Lake Arrowhead. Their cousin Dan Schreiber has filled in to help Matthew train when Patrick is not available.
Nervous, excited and a little scared is how Patrick describes his emotions right now, but he gets goosebumps just talking about it. They are both ready.
The event begins on Friday evening with a team dinner in San Marcos, sponsored by both of their dads, Pat and Mike. They will discuss strategy and things heard about the river. At 9:00am Saturday morning, the National Anthem will be played, and the race is on.
The Archer County News will follow up on the Schreiber cousins’ race, but readers can watch the Schreiber’s boat progress on the website: www.texaswatersafari.org. A link will be set up when the race begins. The name of their boat is “Oar We There Yet?” Boat # 8276.
Patrick and Matthew’s grandparents are Marvin and Elsie Hoff of Windthorst. Matthew’s dad Michael Schreiber also resides in Windthorst.
Have a safe journey!