The River Race is a magazine story.
One day, James is steaming past a fast-flowing river with a freight train when he sees a canoe skimming the water. The driver explains that the canoeist must be practising for river race the following day. Just then, the canoe heads towards a floating log. The canoeist manages to push the log aside, but drops his paddle in the process. The canoe, now out of control, is being swept away by the current. The canoeist calls for help and luckily there is some rope in one of James' trucks. James' fireman ties one end of the rope to James' cab and throws the other end towards the canoe. The canoeist grabs the rope and James is able to pull the canoe to safety. The canoeist is very grateful and hopes that he doesn't lose his paddle in tomorrow's race. James proudly continues on his way.
On the afternoon of the river race, James is instructed to take the Mayor to the event. As the race starts, James notices the canoeist he saved yesterday and he paddles into the lead. Just then, James' valves hiss loudly and he makes the Mayor jump. The Mayor's hat falls into the water, close to the canoeist. The canoeist paddles towards the hat and scoops it up with his paddle. The canoeist goes on to win the race and the Mayor presents him with a silver cup and thanks him for rescuing his hat. James just thinks it's lucky that the canoeist didn't lose his paddle during the race.