BEND, Ore. - Most of this weekend's U.S. Bank Pole Pedal Paddle competitors are seasoned athletes who've logged many miles on the bike, boat and skis, but some of the most excited athletes are just mini.
We spoke to a group of first-graders who are taking their first Mini-Pole Pedal Paddle competition very seriously They have a special way of preparing for the race, including a chant: "Pole, pedal, paddle! Pole, pedal, paddle!"
The group of five girls decided they'd add a boy to their team for good measure, but when asked why, they replied, "I don't know how he got on our team."
They've practiced and conditioned and are ready for their big debut. It's the first time the six are even old enough to participate.
When asked about how they felt about the first race experience, one of them said, "So I'm kind of new to the Pole Pedal Paddle." Another commented, "This is actually my first year doing PPP," followed by a "same here," from another.
They each have their own areas of expertise. One member said, "I think I'll be good at the obstacle course, 'cause I'm doing the obstacle course, I'm really good with balance, so I can hold my foot up, because I've seen some pictures of them doing it."
They painstakingly debated possible names on the playground. Now known as the "Snowflakes," they plan to represent come race day. The Mini-PPP participant said, "I'm planning on wearing probably something that goes with the team name." But a teammate warned: "No snowflakes outfits, then we couldn't be able to fit in the boat."
Although they know the competition will be fierce, they have great attitudes. All were saying, "I'm really excited," and "I'm really excited too."
Ready to face the big day, they do have one concern. I asked, "What if tomorrow we see raindrops, will you change the name?" The team responded with a resounding "No!"
"It doesn't bother us if it rains, I'll just bring an umbrella, " a young athlete said. Another racer asked, "Bob Shaw, can you bring us some decent weather?"
The US Bank Mini-PPP takes place on Sunday. And this year approximately 1450 kids will be participating.