Gone but not forgotten, the Roy Webster Cross-Channel Swim- A Labor Day tradition in Hood River since the 1940’s- Will no longer take place
Organizers cite declining participation, logistical challenges, and unpredictable weather among primary factors in discontinuing 80-year-old event.
(HOOD RIVER, Ore.) – The annual Roy Webster Cross-Channel Swim, a Labor Day tradition in Hood River since the 1940s, has been postponed indefinitely, event organizers announced today. In making the difficult decision to cancel the race, the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce dba Visit Hood River cited declining participation, logistical challenges including the discontinuation of Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler operations, and unpredictable weather conditions at that time of year as the primary reasons for the cancellation. Labor Day 2023 would have marked the 80th year of the event, which was shifted to Cascade Locks in 2021 and 2022, and did not take place in 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic.
“The Roy Webster Cross-Channel Swim is one of many beloved annual traditions in Hood River, and one that Webster family and the entire community should be proud to have carried on for almost 80 years,” said Katie Kadlub, CEO of Visit Hood River. “With dwindling registration numbers, coupled with insurmountable logistical challenges and the increased unpredictability of the winds, wildfires, and wildfire smoke that time of year, we were ultimately left with no choice but to postpone the event indefinitely.”
The Roy Webster Cross-Channel Swim consisted of a 1.1-mile open water swim across the Columbia River. Participants boarded the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler in the Hood River Marina Boat Basin before being ferried across the river to the Washington side, where they leapt into the water to begin their swim back to the Oregon shore. The event was named after Roy Webster, a local Hood River orchardist and avid swimmer who started the tradition with his family in the 1940s.
“When we learned that the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler, which is a critical component of the event, would no longer be in operation as of Jan. 1, we knew it would be difficult to find a suitable logistical solution that would meet the needs of participants, sponsors, and spectators,” said Kadlub. “While it is saddening to see such a longstanding tradition disappear from the calendar, we want to thank the Webster family, our sponsors, and all of the participants over the years for making this such a fun and memorable event.”
For more information on Visit Hood River and Hood River County Chamber of Commerce, including a calendar of other annual and seasonal events and activities, visit www.visithoodriver.com.
About the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce dba Visit Hood River
The Hood River County Chamber of Commerce dba Visit Hood River is a nonprofit business association serving our tourism and business Stakeholders. Located at the crossroads of the spectacular Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and the magnificent Cascade Range and just an hour from Portland, Hood River is truly breathtaking, offering outdoor recreation, dramatic vistas, historic landmarks, bountiful fruit, and fantastic food, wine, beer, and cider. With accommodations ranging from luxury hotels to historic B&Bs, Hood River is a four-season destination for families, outdoor enthusiasts, weddings, corporate events, and more. It was named the West’s best “Nature Lover’s Destination” in the 2021 Sunset Travel Awards, a “Top 10 Best Small Town Beer Scene” in the 2021 USA Today 10Best Readers Choice Awards, a Top 10 Wine Destination for 2017 by Wine Enthusiast, and 2015 “Best Adventure Town” in the West by Sunset magazine. Visit Hood River supports economic development, community development, and destination marketing for Hood River, Cascade Locks, Mosier, Odell, Parkdale, Pine Grove, and Mt. Hood. For more information, call 800-366-3530 or visit www.visithoodriver.com.