Glenwood Springs’ kayak team trials deemed a success |

Glenwood Springs’ kayak team trials deemed a success

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Despite lower attendance than anticipated at the 2009 U.S. Kayak Freestyle Team Trials this past weekend, event organizers are satisfied with the event’s success.

“It was really a lot of fun,” said Kate Collins, the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association vice president of tourism marketing. “In terms of the competition and the level of competition, it was what I expected.”

In the months preceding the event, the planning of the organizing committee, a nonprofit called Glenwood Whitewater Events, paid off. The event coordination committee consisted of Davis Farrar, Chris Tonozzi, Jason Carey, Kathleen Burris, Phil Nyland and Kate Collins.

There was concern about parking with between 2,000 and 3,000 spectators to crowd the river banks at the event. However, the event drew in closer to 500 spectators, a much smaller but more manageable crowd.

While Glenwood Police prepared for traffic jams and parking problems, Glenwood Police Lt. Bill Kimminau said the weekend was pretty “typical.”

“It was a very uneventful weekend for us,” Kimminau said.

In the weeks leading up to the event, parking for thousands of projected spectators was on everyone’s mind. However, with only about a quarter of the spectators, parking was not an issue.

“I think they had it posted well enough,” Kimminau said. “The event coordinator had hired people to monitor the parking, and I think it was pretty much a quiet weekend all around.”

Collins said that the low number of spectators most likely had less to do with the state of the economy and more to do with the fact that this was a first-time event at the whitewater park.

“I really feel that it had to do with it being the first event here,” Collins said. “But it was better to be overprepared than underprepared.”

Collins said that while the event didn’t bring in the huge numbers they expected, it still increased tourism during they end of May when there is typically nothing going on.

“I think this represents an economic development in Glenwood,” Collins said. “We are creating a buzz, an attraction and demand at a time when we typically don’t have it.”

And Collins said the success of the event has a lot to do with the cooperation between all parties involved.

“The city has been fully supportive, the police, the city manager, and the parks and recreation department have all been stellar,” Collins said. “There has been a really good cooperation and partnership there.”

According to the engineer behind the whitewater park, Jason Carey of, this event was a milestone in a 10-year project designed to celebrate the river. And its success is a testament to community.

“It’s been 10 years in the making. Ever since the first ideas from, ‘Hey, we really need a cool spot on the river,’ to bringing it all the way to this, where we’ve got the top event in the nation coming here and everybody’s celebrating the river,” Carey said. “I think it really turned out great.”

And now that the team trials are finished the competitors go on to compete in the World Championships in Thun, Switzerland, in August. And it also has organizers considering a bid for a world championship in Glenwood Springs some day.

“There is a good possibility that we could be a good front-runner for the world championships in 2013,” Collins said. “We can position Glenwood as a world-class kayak destination that will benefit us all.”

Jeff Caspersen contributed to this report

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

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