Kayak event at Glenwood Whitewater Park a screaming success | PostIndependent.com

Kayak event at Glenwood Whitewater Park a screaming success

Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” With the sun shining and the whitewater roaring, a couple of hundred people gathered on Sunday morning at the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park for the Throw Down Show Down.

They came from all around including Glenwood Springs and bordering states like Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming.

Only in operation for a half year, the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park has garnered so much acclaim in its short existence that the U.S. Freestyle Kayak committee immediately decided to host the 2009 U.S. Kayak Freestyle Team Trials here in Glenwood Springs.

“All you have to say is Glenwood Whitewater Park and ears perk up,” said Chris Vogt, owner of Glenwood Canyon Kayak and Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park Committee member. “We happen to have a whitewater park that’s mentioned as one of the best in the nation, unofficially. All the top pros in the world say it’s the best.”

Because of that high acclaim and the upcoming team trials, the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park Committee decided to host Sunday’s “Throw Down Show Down” as a sort of dry run for the 2009 event. The goal was to pinpoint any issues or potential problems they might face logistically with the number of people that will be traveling to Glenwood Springs for the event early next year.

So far so good.

“It’s been a great experience,” Chris Tonozzi, lead event organizer and whitewater park committee member, said as the competition got under way. “I’m calling it a wet run now instead of a dry run because of [Sunday morning’s] weather. We’ve found out where the sticking points are and certainly, we still have some work to do on the parking scene.”

The kayakers were certainly out in full force on Sunday. Among those in attendance were world class paddlers Connor Flynn and Jed Selby, local pros Leif Anderson and Brooke Bevan in addition to the Colorado Rocky Mountain School kayak team.

All-in-all 34 kayakers competed in five different divisions. Those divisions included: cadet (14 and under), junior (15-18), adult novice (19-45), adult expert (19-45) and masters (older than 45).

After a long afternoon of competition and numerous displays of superb freestyle kayaking, the judges delivered their scores and the winners were crowned.

In the adult expert or pro category, Flynn, from Aspen, took home first place, with Jon Meyers second and Selby third. Boulder’s Joel Shute won the men’s adult novice group, while Glenwood’s Adrienne Prosser took the women’s title. Eddie Honea in second and Clay Rogers and Scott Butler, who tied for third, rounded out the top three in the men’s novice group.

Meanwhile, Glenwood’s Niko Tonozzi won the cadet division, beating out Luke Farney and J.P. Griffith, who placed second and third, respectively. Glenwood Springs swept the junior divisions, with Sage Franz beating out Luke Lubchenco, among others, to win the boys juniors, and Jessie Heitzman taking the girls juniors division. And in the masters category, Steve Parker and Natalie Kramer prevailed to win the men’s and women’s divisions, respectively.

There weren’t any losers today, though. The weather was better than expected, and everybody was out having fun, pulling cartwheels, sidewinders, back flips and other fun things in the cold Colorado River water. The Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park has been nothing but a success.

“I think the proof of that is in the pudding,” Tonozzi added. “We’ve had so many pros come because it’s really the only park roaring right now.”

The proceeds of the event went to benefit the production of the Team Trials event in 2009 and youth scholarships for the Youth Kayak League.

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