Aug. 28: Coon Valley

A displaced and unhappy red bull roams Central Avenue in Coon Valley on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, after flash flooding the night before.

The Coon Valley Business Association is partnering with local organizations to host the Coon Creek Canoe Race and family-friendly festival, Saturday, Aug. 24.

Geoff Lenser, chair of the Coon Valley Business Association and the canoe race, said in the five years since he’s opened his business, there had been “buzz and talk” about once again having a canoe race.

“After the flood (last year) it took the wind out of our sails, but then there was excitement and people got pumped up again. Everybody was on board. After the flood there was a boost of energy to bring the town back.”

Coon Creek Canoe Race logo

The event's logo features King the bull and a raccoon.

Money raised at the event will be donated to the village to help with flooding issues in the village, Lenser said, and help make the village better by keeping water out of businesses and basements.

Planning for the event started at the beginning of March. Community groups that have been part of the planning include the Coon Valley Business Association, Coon Valley Conservation Club, Coon Valley Legion, Coon Valley Lions, Coulee Track and Trail, and Chaseburg Snowtrailers. Lenser said the Chaseburg Legion is helping by providing picnic tables.

“It’s a two-community thing,” Lenser said. “What we can do in Coon Valley to divert water will benefit Chaseburg’s issues. Both communities get hammered over and over.”

The route’s inspiration

At the end of August 2018, the area’s flooding was featured prominently in state news. There was footage of a bull standing in Coon Creek floodwater flowing over the Hwy. 14 Bridge in the village. The bull, named King, survived and was reunited with his owners. The race begins at his home, the Gilbeck Farm in Timber Coulee, about 5 miles from Coon Valley. The race ends in Coon Valley Veterans Memorial Park. The route for the race is 3.8 miles long.

“We are taking the path of King,” Lenser said. “That’s the inspiration of the route.”

Pre-event race registration closes at midnight, Wednesday, Aug. 21. After that date, canoe race registrations will cost $40. Launch times are divided in 30-minute blocks running from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Race categories consist of Competitive vs. Non-Competitive Divisions. Race participants will be transported to the start of the race by shuttle bus.

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The village’s park will feature a wide variety of activities for all ages from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Three bands – Coon Creek Band with Dan Sebranek from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Ontourage from 2:30-5:30 p.m. and After Party from Chicago from 6-10 p.m. – will perform. When After Party ends their set, there will be a fireworks show at about 10:15 p.m. Canoe race awards will be presented at 7:30 p.m.

In addition to music, there will be local beers on tap and local wines. Local foods will be available, and there were will be games, a bounce house and the National Guard rock climbing wall.

Lenser said there will be local artists on hand selling their works and a farmers market.

“It’s just a fun day for everyone to come and have fun,” Lenser said.

More information about the race and festival can be found at

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Angela Cina can be reached at


Vernon County Broadcaster editor

Angie Cina is editor of the Vernon County Broadcaster. Contact her at 608-637-5616.

(1) comment

Rick Czeczok

It was closed down because of the riots and drunken mess it caused in LaCrosse. If they want this to be a family event, then they have to close the beer off. Or pay for the damages it causes in the after matters. As a taxpayer in LaCrosse I really don't appreciate someone making money for themselves and think nothing of the problems it causes elsewhere. We will see.

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