Neches River Rendezvous is a big hit for the 12th year in a row

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - They arrive early and wait to be shuttled for their rendezvous, it's a ritual some people refuse to miss.

"It's just a fun scenic adventure. It just really lets you be one with nature," said Angelina County Chamber Vice President Tony Moline.

Attracting locals and out-of-towners, it's an event that lets East Texans show off their pride.

"We're the heart of the Texas Forest Country and to have events like this allows people to see why we're the heart," Moline said.

So Saturday, 300 people piled into the Neches for their rendezvous, each with their own reasons for paddling 10 miles down the river.

"My boss wanted to," admitted Chris Handley.

"It's kind of a tradition with our club, I'm with the Outdoor Adventure Club," Judy Holmes said.

"Because I've never done it before," said Kelsie Willis.

Laura Long said, "I really like canoeing and kayaking."

"It's my mom's birthday and so we're celebrating it here," Arika Olivier said smiling.

Boy Scouts guided canoes and kayaks to the river so people could get in and enjoy their favorite part of the ride.

"Being able to do it with my family," Emma Wilson said.

"When we flipped," Caitlin Mitchell said laughing.

"When we saw the bridge. We knew we were almost there," Ronnie Wilson said.

Some have rendezvoued down the river so many times they are pros at navigating the Neches.

"We've seen it where the river was dry and we actually had to drag the canoe on the ground to go from puddle to puddle, but this year we didn't experience that," Ronnie Wilson said.

This year, the water was good and the memories were even better.

"You hear laughing the whole time, you hear people telling about last years Neches River Rendezvous and to hear people talk about it is probably the best time," said Moline.

Forgetting everything but nature and the people you're with.

The Chamber said it took the help of 150 volunteers to run Saturday's event.

If you want to do the Rendezvous next year, you should sign up early because The Chamber said they fill the spots fast.