Paddles For The Marathon started in 2021 as a new fundraiser for the Marathon.  The event is intended to highlight the talents of local artitsts through unique pieces of art created on replica canoe paddles.

The artists took inspriation for their work from this year’s Marathon theme “People Places Paddles…Life on the AuSable River”.  The paddles were manufactured by the Wood Science Technology Program at Kirtland Community College using locally sourced wood. 

The paddles will be on display in select Grayling and Oscoda businesses from  June 1st hrough August 7th.  Starting on July 22nd through August 7th an on-line auction site will be open allowing you to bid for the paddle(s) of your choice.  Proceeds from the auction will support The Marathon’s scholarship fund. 

More information about the paddles, artists and display locations can be found below.

If you would like to own one of these amazing paddles, you can bid through our on-line auction at  Bidding begins on July 22nd and runs through August 7th.  You can access Paddles For The Marathon bidding site by clicking on the button below.  Paddles will be available for pick- up in Grayling or Oscoda, or can be shipped for an additional $20 fee.

Download a list of all locations

For a printable list of all paddle locations and artists click here

2022 Artists and Locations

Artist: Anna Parks
Location: AuSable Gifts – Grayling 

About This Paddle

Dogs are man’s best friends. From the lovable and lazy to the hard-working support animals, they have a special place in all of our hearts. For my paddle, I decided to depict some common hunting dogs: the German Shorthaired Pointer; the Brittany; the Labrador Retriever; and the Beagle (left to right). These are dogs that we have all seen in Grayling–in the parks, on the kayaks and canoes, out on the patios at local restaurants, and hanging out of the windows of their owner’s vehicle, on the way to the cabin for a little hunting and relaxation. For those that own a pet, it is nearly impossible to think of home without thinking of them, and Grayling is home (or home away from home) for both the person and their furry companion. Dogs have such a way of bettering the community and making the world a better place. They are a very important part of why a lot of people love living in or visiting Grayling, and I’m sure that they love that they can always be included.

Artist: Ann Rataj
Location:  Huron Shores Artisan Hall  – Oscoda

About This Paddle

Ann Rataj is a multi-disciplinary artist who’s work has been exhibited nationally. Her work is in a number of public collections, museums, universities and colleges as well as owned by private collectors.

Artist: Dylan Holberton
Location: AuSable Artisan Village –  Grayling 

About This Paddle

Dylan Holberton is a woodworker based in Fairview, MI.   His contribution to Paddles for the Marathon is a swan and her cygnet crafted from locally milled woods including black walnut, bass and white oak.

Artist: Dan Feldhauser
Location: Gray Rock Pub, Grayling 

About This Paddle

Information coming soon. 

Artist: Randi Dodgson
Location: Rolling Oak Brewing – Grayling 

About This Paddle

As a designer and a woodworking instructor, I am influenced by the beauty of nature in northern Michigan and I work hard to include these elements in my work. Before I began to lay out my design, I choose local lumber species that will help to portray the beauty of our area. I used white oak for the paddle, while the intarsia trout design is made up of sugar maple, shagbark hickory, jack pine, black cherry, black walnut, and basswood. As for the subject of my design, the brown trout, I created this illustration simply because it is often the first thing that comes to mind when people think about the beauty of the Au Sable River.

Artist: Joe Ellison
Location: AuSable Artisan Village – Grayling 

About This Paddle

The Eagle is America’s symbol.  It represents strength, stamina and courage.  Paddling in the Marathon requires all of these; strength for paddling the distance, stamina for the hours of paddling, and courage to face the darkness and unknown challenges that may arise.

This paddle design is a formline Eagle from the Pacific Northwest Indian tribes.  The Eagle represents similar traits for these tribes.  The forms and colors are traditional in their arrangement for an Eagle profile.

Artist: Scott Rice
Location: Tinkers Junction- Grayling 

About This Paddle

Scott Rice earned his BFA in Illustration from Kendall College of Art and Design and his MFA in Painting and Drawing from Central Michigan University.  Since 1996, he has been a faculty member for Kirtland Community College’s Art Department and is responsible for all the beginning and advance courses in drawing, painting, watercolors, illustration, portfolio and art history.

Since arriving to Kirtland, Scott has been an active member in the art community as an artist, juror and advisor.  During his time at Kirtland, he received numerous honors and awards as an artist and instructor throughout the nation; such as, Who’s Who in American Instructors, Gold Medal in Drawing: Bosque Conservatory’s Annual Realism Exhibition, Jesse Besser Museum’s Northeast Annual Art Exhibitions, Top 50 Portrait Artists: The Artist’s Magazine and Distinguished Alumni Award: Kendall College of Art and Design.

Also, during his time at Kirtland, he has helped create AAS in Foundations in Fine Art degree and 1 certificate in Graphic Design for art students: at the same time, assisted 50+ students receive a combine total of $1,000,000+ in scholarships to attend Kendall College of Art and Design and the College of Creative Arts.

If you are interested in finding the artist within you, pushing your art to the next level or learning more about Kirtland’s art programs and courses, feel free to contact Scott at (989)275-5000 ext. 300.

Artist: Cheryl Stephan Loews
Location: Rolling Oak Brewing  – Grayling

About This Paddle

Grayling native, Cheryl Stephan Lowes, created this paddle featuring the Marathon course. Cheryl’s family has deep ties to the race. Her father, Jay Stephan Sr., is a three-time consecutive champion, winning the Marathon with Ted Engel, Jr in 1950 – 1952.

This paddle comes with two custom mounting brackets. 


Artist: Mike Williams
Location: Tip’n the Mitten – Grayling 

About This Paddle

Perhaps there is no better way to explain our infatuation with the Brookies in the Au Sable system or I guess it’s because I haven’t heard of a better one yet. If you know where to look, there are some wonderful Brookies in the Au Sable, most which are small, but others will surprise you! The colors and aggressive nature make a Brook Trout a true joy to pursue, and often times a fly angler’s favorite fish to chase. Brook Trout fishing is where I started my trout fishing journey and I’m always thrilled when I can recreate that sense of being a child again.


Artist: RJ Akers
Location: Northbound Outfitters – Grayling 

About This Paddle

Born and raised with the AuSable “Holy waters” as my back yard, the canoe marathon seemed almost commonplace. Racing canoes on the tops of trucks, C1’s paddling upstream, everyone knowing the definition of the word “Hup”. Only when I left home and talked to people outside of the area about it did I realize how unique it really was. I dedicate this paddle to all the men and women who have trained so tenaciously and passionately. I have chosen the #09 to specifically honor the late Al Widing. 

Artist: Rebecca Hauschild
Location: AuSable Artisan Village – Grayling 

Scott Rice
About This Paddle

The beauty of God’s creations inspires me; the emotions it stirs within, the connection of mind, body, and spirit. Working to express this beauty in my paintings, capturing color, light, emotion, texture and depth. To leave a legacy for all to enjoy!

Artist: Justice Otterbacher
Location: MI Brew – Grayling 

About This Paddle

In my artwork, I like to get my inspiration from components and influences that have been in my life. I got the idea for this paddle from the wild black bears that I would see walking around in my yard last summer. I’m inspired by everyday life and love allowing others to see and enjoy my artwork.

Artist: Gaye Peters
Location: Dead Bear Brewing – Grayling 

Scott Rice
About This Paddle

 I chose the wood duck because of its amazing and brilliant color pattern.  I was able to do  mixed media with this piece which is a favorite of mine because it allows me  to get different layers and hues.  This wood duck with its deep rich shades was a joy to create and honor to be able to create a paddle for this event.  I love spending time on the AuSable,  it is always such a great experience, either great joy with friends and families or amazing soul searching solitude enjoying the river sounds and wildlife.  I am always grateful for Art for through it I have discovered an appreciation of our world and its infinite beauty.

Artist: Terry Dickinson
Location: AuSable Artisan Village – Grayling 

About This Paddle

While Abstract Realism is a contradiction in terms, it provides a unique and interesting viewing experience in a work of art. The realism emerges from the abstract background as the subject takes on increasing definition as it approaches the point of interest.

Sometimes the boundaries between background and subject are smeared, sometimes nonexistent. Sometimes they are hard and well defined. These lost, found and blurred edges allow the abstract to invade and comingle with the subject while the more defined edges bring the viewer to an understanding and appreciation of the subject.

Artist: Cindy Parsons
Location: White Pine & Petals- Grayling 

About This Paddle

Information coming soon. 

Artist: Trent MacLellen
Location: Paddle Hard Brewing – Grayling

About This Paddle

With this  pyrography paddle project I wanted to show women on the AuSable. As a girl raised on this river fishing and swimming I think a representation of us is refreshing and substantial.

Artist: Joann Cullip
Location: Main Branch Gallery – Grayling 

About This Paddle

My paddle designs are based on my experiences and enjoyment of life on the Au Sable river. I love seeing wildlife when kayaking and/or canoeing along and within the river. I eagerly anticipate the possibilities of potential wildlife sightings, be it in the water, on land, or in the air. One side of the paddle incorporates the human presence with paddlers and canoes. The other side of the paddle illustrates some of my favorite wildlife, including herons, ducks, kingfishers, bass/trout, and hawks! I use colors that suggest the excitement and joy of viewing the trees and plants as well as living creatures found on this incredible river.

Artist: Kathi Trosynski
Location: Up North Apparel & Gifts- Grayling

Scott Rice
About This Paddle

Information coming soon.

Artist: Marylin “Mike” O’Connor
Location:Huron Shores Artisan Hall – Oscoda 

About This Paddle

 “Caught in the Woods”

Medium –  wood burning

Artist: Cheri Nentwig
Location: Oscoda-AuSable Chamber of Commerce- Oscoda 

About This Paddle
A little about me… I’m a Staffing Coordinator at Kalitta Air. I do community theater and was in a play called SpinOff in March, the upcoming musical Hats Off to Broadway III – Magic to do will be opening in July. My husband and I both volunteer at the Veteran’s Memorial Park. I’m an avid rock hound and love photography. 
My paddle “Lumbermen’s Monument” is based on a post card of the monument before the trees grew up around it. It’s one of my favorite places on the river. 

Artist: Paige Galbraith

Location: MI Brew – Grayling

About This Paddle

My name is Paige Galbraith and I’m a full-time student in Kirtland Community College’s Art and Design program. My primary media is graphite on paper, so for my paddle I tried my hand at graphite on wood. I chose to do an otter because out of all the creatures in the river, they look like the most playful.

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