A river of fun and fundraising in Glenwood | PostIndependent.com

A river of fun and fundraising in Glenwood

Sean Johnson
Post Independent Intern
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Summer is a time for relaxing and being with family. Operation Vacation, a non-profit organization, believes that U.S. soldiers deserve a free weekend getaway to do just that.

This year’s whitewater weekend at Two Rivers Park, called the Yagatta Regatta, is teaming up with U.S. Freestyle Kayaking Team Trials in an effort to raise money for Operation Vacation. The money solely goes to giving soldiers a weekend vacation in the Grand County and Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado and in Dallas and Austin, Texas.

Yagatta Regatta has been described as a rafting flotilla and costume contest that brings together the Glenwood Springs whitewater community. This year’s seventh annual Yagatta Regatta “Giving Our Troops a Break” runs for two days May 30 and 31.

Admission to the event is free for veterans and children under 3 years-old, $10 for adults, and $5 for children 12 and under. All admission fees will go towards the all-expense paid weekend getaways for soldiers and their families.

Prizes and sponsorship coordinator Julie Robinson got involved with the event in response to her son who will be deployed to Afghanistan later in the summer.

“It shows the hole in my heart while my son is gone,” Robinson said in reference to her participation in Yagatta Regatta. Robinson feels this event supports her son, who is one of several local kids fighting and supporting everyone in their home towns. She hopes the event will rally everyone together for the cause.

Contestants will participate in a boat race at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 30, wearing costumes from Grizzly Creek Rest Area to Two Rivers Park where spectators will cheer them on as they arrive. Prior to this at 9 a.m. about 100 kayakers will be fighting for a spot on the U.S. Freestyle Kayaking Team in hopes in competing at the World Freestyle Championship to be held in Thun, Switzerland in August.

Sunday, May 31 will have the wrap up of the semi-finals for the kayakers and go straight into the finals competition at 11 a.m. with an awards ceremony following the end of the competition.

A free shuttle bus will run for the event since parking will be extremely limited and not available at Whitewater Park. The bus will transport spectators back and forth from Two Rivers Park to Whitewater Park. Spectators are encouraged to be prepared to wear sunscreen, bring folding chairs since seating will also be limited, watch children carefully because the river is so close, and stay hydrated.

Spectators can also enjoy nine live local bands throughout the weekend including Redtones, Rush Street, Arch Angel, and TJaaR. Other activities include a climbing wall, bounce house, pony rides, face painting, and juggling. Field day events for kids and adults will provide fun while doing a balloon toss, spoon egg race, softball throw, and a wheel barrel race.

Bob Johnson, founder of Operation Vacation, is pulling for a big turnout this weekend. He believes that events like this can be a crap shoot, but hopes with good weather and the fact that the event is teaming up with the kayak competition that Operation Vacation will raise a lot of money for soldiers.

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