Wildlife Prairie Park hosts Multisport Extravaganza

By Joe Bennett

June 30, 2013 Updated Jun 30, 2013 at 10:46 PM CDT

HANNA CITY, Ill -- The third annual Multisport Extravaganza took place at Wildlife Prairie Park this weekend, offering almost anything for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors.

At first glance, the more than eight miles of trails at Wildlife Prairie Park seem to be filled with athletes participating in friendly competition.

A closer look shows a group of outdoor enthusiasts supporting solo competition amongst friends.

"It's more participatory,” says Event Director Beth Haynes. “So people can come and just have the opportunity to try new things."

The Multisport Extravaganza invites people to try mountain biking, kayaking, intense obstacle courses and a number of other outdoor events.

Free training is offered for first timers, and local companies donate materials for those who may not have bikes or boats.

Especially long hikes can also be called orienteering.

Johan Dahlin has been orienteering since he was a child.

"The compass helps us navigate North and South on the map,” Dahlin explains. “And the rest is up to us."

On Sunday, his son Albert got in on the family tradition.

The most popular arena was the lake.

While swimmers and kayakers participated in time trials, others took off on a paddle boat for the first time.

"You got water, you can bicycle, you can trail run, there's yoga stuff, it's all kinds of neat stuff, and you don't have to go far to do it all,” says participant Gill Rone. “Just come out here, and it's all out in one area."

Haynes says the activities drew in nearly 200 participants and more than 60 volunteers throughout the weekend.

"Probably every week somebody tells me that they didn't even know there were trails or a lake over here,” Haynes says. “So it just creates more opportunities for people to come out to Wildlife Prairie Park."

The growing interest indicates there will be a fourth Multisport Extravaganza, giving plenty of time to prepare for next year's running, riding, hiking or climbing events.