It was a Labor Day tradition here in Lubbock fit for the whole family. At the great Yellowhouse Canyon raft races, groups of contestants would race down the lake in Buddy Holly Park in hopes of finishing first. But the race came to a screeching halt in the early '90's. So, Whatever Happened to the Yellowhouse Canyon raft races?
The races were expected to trigger a wave of excitement about the canyon lakes project. But due to a lack of interest and scarce funds, the city had to pull the plug on the event. But, the city left the door open. With the right amount of support, it could be back to the races in the Yellowhouse Canyon again soon.
Most rafts weren't exactly masterpieces, but they were all somewhat carefully and cleverly handcrafted from scraps. "It was an opportunity for groups in the community to put together homemade rafts and see if they would float," says Parks and Recreation Marketing Director Kay Miller.
The Yellowhouse Canyon raft races stayed afloat for a number of years, but never really caught on. And that meant the costs weren't worth the effort. "It just wasn't balancing out," says Miller.
But now, about 10 years after the last race, the Parks and Recreation Department says if an organization were interested in hosting the event, and putting in the work needed to make it happen, we could be off and running again.
Despite the race currently being off-track, future plans for the Canyon lakes system have not been derailed. "We're currently planning a new lake under I-27," says Parks and Recreation Department Director Corbin Pemberton.
The Parks and Recreation Department is pushing forward with plans to turn this greenway into a gold mine. They want to create Lubbock's version of San Antonio's riverwalk. Plans for the riverwalk should be complete in December 2004. Lubbock will put the plans out to bid in 2005, and construction could begin as early as 2006.
Initial stages of the project will be paid for with $3.25 million in bond money allocated to this project by the public in 1999. By the way, the Parks and Recreation Department still hosts a number of special events.
Its biggest is Santa Land which draws about 30,000 people in 14 days. The next free Parks and Recreation event is 'Shakespeare in the Park' scheduled for Thursday, August 21st through Sunday, August 24th.