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Cuomo, Bloomberg Square Off In Rafting Race To Promote Upstate Tourism

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TWC News: Cuomo, Bloomberg Square Off In Rafting Race To Promote Upstate Tourism
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Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg competed in a friendly whitewater rafting race upstate Monday to help the governor's efforts to promote tourism in the region.

New York State receives about 50 million visitors a year, and the governor wants some of the tourism money to head upstate.

Cuomo originally suggested during his State Of The State address this year that he race state lawmakers in rafts upstate, but some political observers, including members of his own staff, thought at first that he was joking.

The governor lived up to his promise, and held the two-day "Adirondack Challenge" in the town of North Creek by the Indian River to show how the area offers skiing in the winter and whitewater rafting and hiking in the summer.

"Tourism has a lot of benefits for upstate New York. We're on the increase, it's a $100 billion business in the State of New York. It went up 6 percent last year," Cuomo said.

Bloomberg joked to reporters on Monday that he could not back out of Cuomo's invitation.

"I'm so glad that you invited us. It was the governor's idea, he called me up and I said, 'Oh, I can't do that,' and he in his usual way said, 'You will come.' That was the end of that," Bloomberg said. "I mean, I'm the mayor of a little city and he's the governor of a big state, you've got to do what he says."

The two executives raced in separate boats, and Cuomo won. Some onlookers wondered if the races were rigged, as Cuomo's team won both days' races.

Although some openly questioned how the governor kept winning, other competitors were admittedly less experienced.

"This is not something I do regularly. It's not something I get out of bed and think about doing," said Assemblyman Keith Wright of Manhattan. "But I'm glad the governor is pulling us all together. It lets everybody know what is upstate."

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