News 12 at 11 o'clock / Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Austin Bentley usually spends much of his summertime outside, but not this year.
"It's definitely been the craziest summer in my life I guess, I've never seen so much rain," he said.
His girlfriend, Halie Watts, agrees, saying, "It's been pretty boring and stressful at the same time."
All of the rain has also been stressful for a lot of business owners like Larry Lesser, owner of Broadway Tackle.
"It really put a dent in our canoe and kayak rentals," Lesser said.
A lot of his canoes and kayaks have sat empty this season.
"The rain made it uncomfortable to canoe or kayak or be on the water, plus it was very dangerous, very dangerous to be on the river," he said.
And he isn't alone; a lot of business owners around the area lost out on big bucks after flooding canceled the Southern Nationals.
Barry White, President and CEO of the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau says, "The value of that to the community was about $875,000, so that's businesses, hotels, restaurants, all those suppliers, vendors that support the event."
It's a huge race that usually draws big crowds, year after year, but not this year.
"This is the first time in 27-28 years that the Southern Nationals have been canceled," he said.
For business owners like Gene Whitaker, owner of The Bicycle Peddler shop, who rely on Mother Nature for their livelihood, it's been a roller coaster of a year.
"The spring started off kind of cool, got warm again, then cool again, so that put a damper on business. Then, the rains came and that really put a damper on business," he said.
So now, business owners are hoping for better weather this fall to hopefully kick-start their profits.