- Monday, May 28, 2007, 10 a.m.
- Fish Creek Falls, County Road 32, Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs Paddling Life magazine publisher Eugene Buchanan was testing the waters last year when he brought the first annual Pro Invitational to Steamboat Springs. The event includes a unique dual-discipline format that favors the top kayakers who can grease a creek line in the morning and then throw huge wave tricks in the afternoon.
"Everybody had a blast last year and loved the venue," said Buchanan, who is bringing the event back to Steamboat on Monday. "It's a unique format because it combines a downriver race with a freestyle event to award the best all-around paddler."
The event begins at 10 a.m. with the Charlie Beavers Classic race on the middle section of Fish Creek, followed by the freestyle event at 1 p.m. at Charlie's Hole, behind Bud Werner Memorial Library.
Buchanan said organizers decided to move the race down from the upper section of Fish Creek because of the logistics involved in running safety on the rock-riddled canyon gorge section. The middle section of Fish Creek also will provide better spectator viewing, with parking available at the trailhead lot on the south side of Fish Creek at its intersection with the Steamboat Boulevard bridge, which is where the one-mile race on the "solid Class IV gauntlet" will finish.
This year's field of competitors will feature some of the world's top paddlers, with eight of the top women and more than 30 of the top men in the sport. Among them are former World Freestyle Champion Jay Kincaid and Australian
phenom Tanya Faux, both of whom will defend their overall titles from last year. Ruth Gordon, fresh off the 2007 World Freestyle Championship title she won on her home turf of Canada's Ottawa River, and a stacked field of male participants with a few extra Colorado competitors are sure to give Kincaid and Faux a run for the money - a $2,500 purse.
"I've competed against pretty much all these guys in the past - we're talking ex-junior world, world and national champions, all of them competing," said 20-year-old Kevin Dombey, who will be the only local entrant in the competition.
Matt Windt, special events and sponsorship director for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, said the Chamber is excited to provide special event funding through its Steamboat in the Summertime brand because of the event's ability to draw people to town before the main summer tourism season.
Buchanan also sees the event as a perfect way to keep Steam-boat on the kayaking map.
"The city based its successful recreational in-channel diversion water right filing on the popular play features downtown, and this is just one way to help showcase what a world-class feature the town has," Buchanan said.
Sunpie's Bistro will host an awards ceremony and party at 6 p.m. The party will feature live music from David Harlan and D.J. Also Starring.
Visit www.paddlinglife.net for details.