Sunday, May 13, 2007

Missoula Meandering: Pt 3

8th Annual Best In The West Rodeo

Amy and her new Champion Belt Buckle

For the 8th time, paddlers from all around gathered at Alberton Gorge and the Triple Birdges put in for the Best in the West Rodeo. Hosted by Seth Warren, who did a great job despite the highest early season water level anyone could remeber. On the 12th of May the Clark Fork was heading up and showing no signs of stopping. The high water more or less washed out the whole stretch making a standard format rodeo impossible.

Billy watching as what should be Comp hole, greens out.

Seth Warren did a great job organizing a competition despite the flows settling a down river team and individual freestyle event judged at three locations along the way. Triple Bridges, Tumbleweed and Fang. Judges paddles down to set up while the the competitors did their best to stay excited. The whole run only took about 30 minutes at the high levels though the boils were pretty exciting. I heard about one paddler who dissapeared completely during the competition! I opted not to compete because I couldn't find a team (I always was picked last) and because I was hoping for some photo ops BUT becuase the run was so fast, most of the competion had already happend but the time I even put on. Thats ok though, I still got a few. Check em out here.

Paddlers at the put in. Specators on the bridge.

In the end, Amy Jimmerson and Evan Garcia came away individual champions leading their teams as well. A post-party, grubfest, and raffle was held and even I won something. First and probably last time that'll ever happen probably. Infact, I won a shirt AND a Palm Tow line! Big thanks for Scott Doherty of Word Class Kayak Academy for putting that together and running the show. Busy guy that day, the WCKA graduation was only a couple of hours after the rodeo ended.

My first raffle winnings.

I'll definately try and make it back for next year, Scott and Shreder will be taking control and it should be an even better time. Hopefully water levels will be closer to normal, Brennans might even be an option! It was really great meeting so many great folks and paddler, getting to know some of the WCKA kids better, even meeting their families. I've got lots of respect for Scott and Seth for working so hard to make the whole thing happen. Personally, I just can't wait to see next years buckle!

- Fading Blue Haired Freak

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