Kremmling River Days, Gore Canyon Whitewater Race combine well
August 18, 2008
The first-ever Kremmling River Days-Gore Fest supplied entertainment for all age groups and Gore Canyon racers at the town square Saturday.
Earlier in the day whitewater rafters, kayakers and paddlers competed in the 20th annual Gore Canyon Race on Class V whitewater southwest of Kremmling. They attended the festival afterwards.
Antony McCoy, 34, a native of South Africa, headed the international Timberline team, “The Combined United Nations of Timberline.”
“We had a very good run. We we’re very happy.” said McCoy, who’s been rafting for 10 years. “We got hailed on. Lightning was striking the whole way down.
“We’re on one of the toughest stretches of whitewater in the world. We might was well have the worst weather (to go with it).”
One person on his team had a “mild concussion” during the race.
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“She head-butted the person in front of her (under Tunnel Falls),” McCoy, the team captain said. “She’s fine. She stayed in the raft. She was just a little bit out of it for the next rapid.”
Of the 12 rafting teams that raced, four were Timberline teams based in Vail.
Mat Sargent, 28, was a member of “Western Alliance of Timberline” which had a “friendly” competition with the international team.
“The rest of the teams started at 1-minute intervals, and we started head-to-head,” he said. “We were neck-and-neck right up until Gore Rapid, and then they kind of took-off and we got a little hung up on a rock. Luckily, we all stayed in the raft. The rest of the trip was kind of survival book.
“It wasn’t as clean as it could have been. Anytime you’re on Gore and everyone stays in the raft is a good day, but we hit a few rocks pretty hard.”
The race was discontinued last year due to permit issues. It returned for its 20th year under the helm of Race Director Lisa Reeder who pulled the permit this year.
“All raft guides look forward to (the race) all summer long,” Sargent said. “It’s the highlight of the summer. We take a 4-hour commercial run and make it into half-an-hour.”
Chris Mongo’s team won, which was also one of the Timberline teams. Mongo, 39, has been rafting for more than 20 years.
“Our run was pretty clean, we could always be a little cleaner and always be a little faster here and there, but overall we were happy,” he said. “Hopefully, we were right around 22-and-a-half minutes.”
He said after the rainy and snowy registration, some people’s spirits were low.
“But as soon as we started to paddle the sun came out and it was beautiful. It couldn’t have been better. The race was perfect weather. The turnout was good. More people signed up than we were expecting, given the weather and the circumstances. The organizing went really well and it seemed really smooth.
“I think we’ll do it again next year,” he said. “It’s not a money-maker. It takes a lot of effort to put the race on. It’s a passion and that’s why we do it.”
The Bureau of Land Management was very helpful, he said. “It looks positive for the future, for expanding it a little bit. With their help, I think we’ll do it again.”
A group of teenagers came to the event to listen to the band Whitewater Ramble.
“I’m really into the whole music scene, so anything cultured that comes to Kremmling I’m down for,” said Brandon Guite, 19, of Kremmling. “Especially these guys. These guys are awesome. I’ve seen them a few times.”
He came to the festival with friends Laszlo Coleman, 19, of Kremmling; and Winter Park’s Bri Gould, 17, and Jackie Thomas, 19.
“We’re meeting some friends today,” Gould said. “We’re going camping tonight and out on the lake tomorrow ” just kind of make it up as we go.”
A group of Kremmling children also played games in the park and built a raft together.
“We built a float,” said Shanon Roller, 11. “You put a bunch of logs together.”
“We’re going to float that thing,” added Annabelle Whitten, 11. “It’s fun here. It’s River Days ” It’s fun.”
Scott Trotter, of Red Dirt Hill, also sold tie-dye T-shirts at the event while talking to Kremmling’s David Blevins, 38.
“The barbecue was really good. I had the big sampler platter,” Blevins said, adding that it contained beef and pork briskets, pork ribs, potato salad and beans. “It was tons of food. I have leftovers.”
The Bureau of Land Management also set up a stand at the festival. “We’re just trying to educate people about the weeds along the river,” said Mandy Scott of Kremmling.
“For our first year we’re very lucky to have the turnout that we have,” said Leslie Torma, Kremmling Chamber of Commerce executive director. “I would love to continue to do this every year. This is something that we’d really like to implement as a new regular function for us because they do the race every year and we need good events like this. We need to bring new people to Kremmling.”