Scuff Gross Memorial Riverside Kayaking Regatta Aims To Increase River Activities

Rachel Pierson
July 06, 2019 - 1:42 pm

(Rachel Pierson/WBBM)

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RIVERSIDE (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Scuff Gross was a public servant, a lover of nature and a father and husband. As an assessor for more than 60 years, Scuff Gross dedicated his life to the Riverside community.

After he passed in 2016, his family partnered with the American Legion and the Riverside Township Lions Club to celebrate his love of nature.

"He taught us to love water of any kind," said his daughter Connie Schmidt.

After his death, the Annual Scuff Gross Memorial Riverside Kayaking Regatta was born and has since celebrated Gross' commitment to the water and kayaking the Des Plaines. Now in its third year, the regatta brings together Gross' family, friends and his community for a day of river enjoyment.

"We said, 'Let's do this annually and open it up to any residents of Riverside or Cook County or anybody who was interested to come and join us,'" Schmidt said.

The regatta paddlers headed south and wrapped around the McCormick Woods village, passed under the Swinging Bridge and finished as a group. This year, Gross' family signed a petition to add a boat launch at the Des Plaines river.

"Because of this access to improve enjoyment of the river, we may get improved access," Connie Gross said. "Sharing public spaces is a wonderful thing."

Participants also signed a petition requesting the Commissioners of Forest Preserves of Cook County install a canoe/kayak launch at the McCormick Woods Forest Preserve at First Avenue and 31st Street in Riverside.

Alexander Gallegos, with the Riverside Township Lions, said a day on the river is the perfect way to encapsulate Scuff's spirit.

"There was no other tribute we could find fitting for someone who devoted so much of his time, energy and effort over the decades for the Lions Club," Gallegos said.