Franklin Race History


The Franklin Canoe Race is held on a 15 mile course of the Republican River from Naponee to Franklin, Nebraska. It began in 1978 with 42 canoes. In the early 80's an Adult-Youth race was added on Saturday and the MCA began having a C-1 race also. Each year the race continued to grow and now normally draws around 100- 200 canoes. The largest turnout for the race was in 1987 with 232  canoes. The Franklin race is very well organized and has divisions for everyone. Below is a brief year to year history with links to Newspaper articles and results.




Click here for Franklin C-2 times (fastest time each year)


Click here for Franklin C-1 results





The Franklin JCs were looking for a project  to draw attention to the city of Franklin

and the surrounding area and there seemed to be an interest in canoeing. The JCs were a

small group and they asked the Lion's Club if they would be interested in helping run

the race and so the race came into being. There were co-chairmans the first year, Mike

Naden from the JCs and Vern Duncan from  the Lion's Club.  There were seven divisions: Men''s

Racing, Racing Combined, Aluminum. Fiberglass, Novice, Teenage and Masters.

 The first annual Franklin Canoe Race was held on August 13. There were 42 canoes  entered.

The water level was at 300 cubic feet per second and the temp. was 110 degrees.  The winning time was 2:13:00 by Calvin Hassel and David Bockmann.


           Click here to see a newspaper story covering the race  78 Franklin



1979    The race was moved to late June to take advantage of better water conditions.   38 Canoes entered.

One week after the 1978 race, Mike Naden received a call from Les Lawless the owner

of the Budwelser Distributership in Hastings. He had read about the race in the

Hastings Tribune and wondered if they could help sponsor the race the next year. The

answer was yes and so Bud and Lawless Distributing became the sponsor. That year

t-shirts were given to each race participant.


1980    There were 115 canoes entered in the race. Joe Willard and Jim Acer won the mens racing with a time of 1:58:00. This was the first sub two hour time. George Hassel and Calvin Hassel won the mens aluminum in 2:08:00. Floyd and Christi Carpenter won the mixed division in 2:19:00 This was the first year the race was moved to the first weekend in July


1981    There were 158 canoes entered.

 Click here for 81 Franklin article


1982    Joe Willard and Jim Acer (both of Manhattan KS) won the mens racing for the third year in a row. There were 162 canoes entered. A Women's Combined and Mixed Combined Division were added.


1983    The MCA began holding a C-1 race on Saturday. The race  was held on the  same 15 mile course as Sundays Races. Click here for 83 Franklin results. Nebraskaland Magazine also did a story on the race 83Article  There were 174 Canoes entered and a drawing for a free canoe was started.


1984   There were 176 canoes in Sundays Races. A new C-2 record was set.                      Franklin84article


1985   Two new records 198 canoes and the first sub 1:50:00 race time.

 Franklin 85article


1986   Two more new records 213 canoes and 1:45:35 for a new race record

 Franklin 86 article


1987   203 canoes in Sundays races. George Hassel and Calvin Hassel won the C-2 for the 5th year in a row.   Franklin 87 article    This was the Tenth annual race and a Junior Race was added on Saturday that drew 29 Entries. Also a Retailers and Media Division were added. This was the largest turnout for the race. There were 232 canoes total.


1988   195 canoes and 24 in the Jr. class.  Dick Plumlee and Randy Moore won the C-2 class in 1:49:49


1989   174 canoes and 23 in the Jr. race.  George and Calvin Hassel set a new C-2 record  1:44:42   Franklin 89 article


1990   149 canoes and 18 in the Jr. class.  A new C-1 record time of 1:43:55 was turned in.        Franklin 90results


1991  191 canoes and 19 in the Jr. class. This was one of the lowest years for the river depth . The water level was at 280cfs and Calvin Hassel and Robyn Hassel won the race in 1:53:47   

Franklin results91

Franklin article91


1992  103 canoes and 11 in the Jr. race

Franklin results92


1993  The race was cancelled due to high water. The river was running at over 900 cfs. The high water level was discussed on the Paul Harvey National Radio Show.


1994   78 canoes   Calvin Hassel and Lynn Capen set a new record of 1:42:46

Franklin results94


1995  93 canoes and 12 in the Jr. race.  Another new record time of 1:42:08

Franklin results95


1996  104 canoes and 10 in the Jr. class. The river was at 650 cfs. Calvin Hassel set a new C-1 record of 1:41:59

Franklin results96and article


1997   This was the twentieth annual Franklin Canoe Race. To help celebrate the State Legislature declared the race " Nebraska's Largest Canoe Race ".  Calvin Hassel and Lynn Capen set a new record time of 1:40:39. The river was running at 475 cfs.  There were 114 canoes entered in Sunday's Race and 17 in the Jr. class.

Franklin results97.



1998  100canoes on Sunday and 10 in the Jr. Race.  The racing class was moved to the last starting position to make the race more interesting for the racers.


1999  116 canoes on Sunday and 14 in the Jr. class.  The water was running at 400 cfs

Franklin resultsandarticle


2000  114 canoes on Sunday and 17 in the Jr. class.  The water level was 450 cfs

Franklin results2000


2001  Check out the results in the 2001 Race Results Section


2002  25th Annual Franklin Canoe Race. 92 Canoes on Sunday.  Calvin Hassel and Lynn Capen set a new record at 1:40:23. The river was running at 650 cfs.

Top 3 results are posted in the 2002 race section


2003   Click Here  for results


2004   No Race-Low Water


Thanks to the Franklin Canoe Association for providing the MCA with a lot of the information in this section