The look on the face of state Assemblyman Herman “Denny” Farrell, D-Harlem, competing in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Adirondack Challenge whitewater rafting race last summer was priceless, said Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury.
“I don’t think he’s done a lot of whitewater rafting in his day, but that guy had a grin of a five-year old. He enjoyed it,” Stec said Thursday, recalling the August event.
But it wasn’t just fun and games, Stec said, of the race Cuomo staged to promote Adirondack tourism.
Farrell, and other downtown state legislators, got to see first-hand the challenges Adirondack communities face.
“Denny Farrell is one of the more senior members of the Assembly. He’s in a position to be helpful,” Stec said.
Cuomo announced in his State of the State speech that this year he will organize a similar challenge event in the Finger Lakes, oriented around bass fishing.
Stec, and others, hope the Adirondack Challenge whitewater rafting event will still be held, even if the governor does not organize it.
“Some of them (downstate legislators) are going to want to come up here even if it isn’t the governor’s challenge,” he said, commenting on a press release the Adirondack Council issued calling for the race to be held again, with or without the governor.
“I’m aware of that, and I fully support that,” Stec said, referring to the environmental group’s suggestion.
The two-day Adirondack Challenge event in August included an invitation race, in which elected and appointed officials packed 25 rafts.
The whimsical “race” on the Indian River launched at Indian Lake in Hamilton County, and ended at Minerva in Essex County.
A post-race reception was held at Gore Mountain Ski Center in Johnsburg.
The Adirondack Challenge brought a lot of exposure to Adirondack communities, said John Sheehan, an Adirondack Council spokesman.
“We thought last year’s event brought a great deal of publicity, and we’d like to see it again,” he said.
Sheehan said the environmental group has not yet explored who might organize the event.
“Not sure, but we just wanted to make sure people were thinking about a second annual Adirondack Challenge and subsequent ones,” he said.
Stec said local government officials might want to organize it.
“Some of the local towns thought this was a good idea,” he said. “And I wouldn’t be surprised if Hamilton County and Essex County and maybe Warren County supervisors chip in and organize their own event.”
Stec said officials certainly would invite Cuomo to participate.
“He may come just because he wants to come. And if the governor’s not coming, maybe we can get the lieutenant to come,” he said.
Or maybe a former governor.
“I don’t know if it was a joke or not, but (former Gov.) David Paterson mentioned (Wednesday) that he wanted to be invited to this year’s event,” Sheehan said.
Stec said that depending on when the governor’s bass fishing challenge in the Finger Lakes is held, he may attend and combine it with a family excursion.
“I can understand the governor wanting to move it around a little bit, just to highlight other areas of the state,” he said.