Paddling the Prairie

Scott Meztrezat grew up in Michigan and most recently lives in Chicago. An avid outdoorsman, he always wanted to do a long, human-powered journey and found his inspiration on the Missouri River. Once he had his plans in place, Scott quit his desk job, built his own custom paddle board and began his journey on June 7, 2013 at the headwaters in Montana with the goal of being the first stand up paddle boarder to complete all 2400 miles.

Scott's travels eventually led him to South Dakota, where he paddled the entire length of the South Dakota Missouri River system including all four lakes. He was amazed by the vast size of Lake Oahe, one of the most brutal parts of his experience due to the high winds that happened to kick up during his travels. Scott was impressed by the friendly South Dakota strangers he met along the way—strangers who soon became friends. Many of them provided him with hot meals and showers, comfortable beds, portages across the dams and camaraderie along the way. While in South Dakota, Scott was able to watch the Pow Wow in Fort Thompson, ride along with a rancher tending cattle in Pollack, travel with kayakers at Lewis and Clark and share home-cooked meals all along the way.

"The South Dakota Missouri River system seemed to be just lake after lake for me," he says. "As a paddle boarder, I do enjoy the river current over the vastness of the lakes, but I think most people would love the big lake appeal of this area. Plus, you just can't beat the small-town friendliness of South Dakota. It's a great place...I saw a lot of fishermen. So if that's you're thing, the Missouri River is where you need to be.