Council: Glenwood Springs not yet ready for the kayaking world championships |

Council: Glenwood Springs not yet ready for the kayaking world championships

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park on the Colorado River has gained international notoriety as a world-class paddling location, and was being considered as the site for the 2013 World Freestyle Kayak Championships.

President of Glenwood Whitewater Events, Davis Farrar, and Bob Campbell, managing director for Whitewater Parks International, which is also based in Glenwood Springs, asked for the city council’s support in applying for the pinnacle event of the kayaking world at Thursday’s regular council meeting.

“This is a partnership,” Farrar said. “It’s a big project. We are excited about it and we think that we can pull it off, but we will need some excited partners.”

While the councilors were excited at the prospect of Glenwood hosting a world championship, they were also concerned that without having ever held an event of as large as the world championships, it’s hard to know if Glenwood is ready.

“I really would like to host a world-class event in Glenwood,” said councilwoman Shelley Kaup. “But I have to question if we are ready for that yet.”

Glenwood could expect over 300 competitors from 40 participating countries, five days of competition, one week of training prior to the event, and a minimum of 3,000 spectators on-site per day, according to Campbell’s calculations.

Campbell first approached city council in December asking for support. But, Council wanted more detailed information on the event and the level of financial support the city would be responsible for.

Campbell estimated the cost of hosting the world championships would be around $430,000. Of which, the city would be responsible for $160,000 up front, and the rest would possibly be paid for by sponsors. However, the city may be on the hook for more if sponsors did not ante up as much as was expected. And that did not set well with Councilor Matt Steckler.

“We have a guess at the cost, but the way it’s structured, all the risk falls on the city,” Steckler said. “I have a real hard time basically writing a blank check where we are assuming all the risk.”

Even though Council did not support the idea for the 2013 championships, all were excited at the prospect of Glenwood one day hosting the event.

Kaup mentioned the idea of Glenwood creating an event all it’s own and building on that before stepping into the championship arena. It would also allow local organizers to work out logistical problems that may come with an event of that size before actually taking on an event that may prove to be too big.

Farrar and Campbell thought that even though they did not get the support they were seeking, it is good to begin this conversation because the international kayaking community has spoken and they want an event at the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park.

“I think the discussion is really valuable regardless, because its going to become a bigger issue as the facility becomes even more popular,” Campbell said.

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