Lili of the water

Lili Brandon lives for just a few minutes on the water.

About four years ago the Fort Payne native began training for whitewater slalom races, travelling all around the United States to race the rapids. But now she has the chance to compete in Europe with her team, the Nantahala Racing Club, for the ECA Junior Cup.

Brandon said a typical race for her lasts only about three minutes, so every second on the water counts.

“It’s a competitive sport, although most people wouldn’t think so,” she said. “In sports like soccer and football, you depend on other people. I depend on myself and I like that. I’m pretty independent.”

Although the 15-year-old has raced and won medals in places such as Wisconsin, Washington D.C. and North Carolina, Brandon said this is her first trip out of the country, and she is excited.

She leaves on June 14 to take part in five different slalom races in Germany, Slovenia, Austria and the Czech Republic.

To raise money for her trip, Brandon is making and delivering lunches to individuals and businesses in Fort Payne from June 6-10. The lunch is your choice of sandwich on Niedlov’s Bakery bread, chips, pickle spear, drink and homemade dessert for $20. Sandwich choices are homemade pimento cheese, roast beef with horseradish sauce, peanut butter and jelly or homemade chicken salad. Drinks include sweet and unsweet Milo’s tea or bottled water. For dessert you can choose from a chocolate chip and oatmeal cookie, chess bar, lemon square or apricot bar. Orders must be placed by June 3. To order, call 256-630-0625 or email

“We are going to be working together to make those things,” said her mother Christy Brandon. “She’s pretty persistent and she’s a good cook, but we have 20 orders so far so she’ll need some help. It’s a good excuse for us to get to work together in the kitchen.”

By setting up a Go Fund Me account, Brandon has raised more than half of her goal of $3,000. To donate for her trip, visit

“She is very passionate about racing… So far things are going well for her,” said Christy. “We think she is going to reach her goal.”

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