Steamboat Springs Pro- and high caliber-class kayakers, fresh off a preregistration cookout Monday, are amped and ready to compete in the Fat City Showdown today at the Z-Hole on the Yampa River.
Preceding this weekend's Yampa River Festival, Fat Eddy's Threadworks and Paddler Magazine worked closely with Friends of the Yampa to organize a pro-caliber whitewater rodeo to help fund river projects and boost business.
Money made from the rodeo will go to the "Lower River Improvement Project" of the Yampa River.
The project is a city endeavor that would add play boating and fish-friendly features to the river between the 13th Street bridge and the Stockbridge Transit turnaround.
The rodeo, which begins at noon, will bring kayakers from all around the country to Steamboat Springs to fight the rushing turbulence of the river.
If participants missed out on last night's preregistration barbecue, they need not worry.
Jerry Baxter, co-owner of Fat Eddy's Threadworks, said kayakers can register up until 9 a.m. today at the Z-Hole. The race begins when enough people have signed up to compete.
Registration is $40 for out-of-town kayakers and $25 for locals.
"That gets you a Fat Eddy's visor, a Fat Eddy's watch band and Paddler is putting in a set of Croakies," Baxter said.
After several five-boat heats, kayakers compete in a head-to-head competition consisting of two rides lasting for 45 seconds each. The last five kayakers then compete in a head-to-head contest consisting of one ride lasting for 45 seconds in the nighttime finals beginning at 8:30 p.m.
Following the rodeo is a party at Level'z featuring music by DJ Logic.
Whichever paddler performs the most variety of tricks and relays the best technical execution will receive the grand prize.
"We're hoping for 40 to 60 participants, men and women combined," Baxter said of the 40 to 50 pro kayakers and the 10 to 15 locals, which the businesses are depending upon.
Volunteer judges from Steamboat Springs will evaluate kayakers on their inclined, vertical position of their boats, the number of tricks and how many tricks are executed.
Pro kayakers compete in gender-based divisions; however, locals of either gender will compete in the all-inclusive local category.
"It's still just rumor, but it doesn't look like we're going to have a local women's category," Baxter said glumly. "But hopefully that's not correct."
Baxter said Fat Eddy's and Paddler chose Tuesday to run the event instead of the weekend because they didn't want to conflict with other professional whitewater rodeos in Colorado.
Golden provided the same caliber event last Saturday and Durango's Animas River Days begins this weekend.
Baxter said he doesn't think the Fat City Showdown competes with this weekend's Yampa River Festival.
"We went after a (certain) class of paddlers," Baxter said. "We have the intention of growing it and making it a lot of fun. We're already talking with people (in) Animas for next year's event."
Although the Yampa River Festival begins Friday, Cardillo said he wanted to bring pro kayakers to Steamboat Springs as an added bonus to the upcoming weekend of local amateur and pro kayakers.
Baxter said Fat Eddy's and Paddler want to make the Fat City Showdown an annual event for pros and for locals who want to get an insight to the "river rat" lifestyle.
"We want to give (locals) the chance to get in there with the pros and get inspired by it."