Saturday, September 27, 2008

Glenwood Rodeo

Conor Flynn during warmups. Photo by Leif Anderson

Head Judge Gary Mullins and head announcer Ken Hoeve. Photo by Joel Shute.


As you probably already know, there is a whitewater park in Glenwood Srpings now, and it kicks ass. The thing that really sets the Glenwood park apart is that it's on the Colorado River, so (unlike certain other spots that usually host Freestyle Nationals), this park will be good all year long. This means that just when everything (and I mean everything) else in the state is starting to wind down, the Glenwood park is still as good as ever. So, on the last day of summer, Glenwood Canyon Kayak and the town of Glenwood hosted the last rodeo of the season. The weather cooperated until right at the end of the competition, at which point fall officially settled in, with a chilly rainstorm.

I had been waiting for this rodeo for a long time. I was very excited to finally be able to compete in my home town. Natalie had a field trip on saturday, so I spent the day running the Big Thompson with Conor. We got some great photos and put together a run description for eddyflower.com. But at the end of the day, Conor started waffling about the rodeo. He whined a bit about how it was such a long drive, it would be cold, and on and on. I told him that the town needed him. I said that this was the first annual Glenwood Rodeo, and that it was not just our privilege but our RESPONSIBILITY to make this even the best event possible, by showing up and putting on a kick-ass show. He eventually caved in and decided to go. So late that night, Natalie, Conor and I headed over the pass to my mom's house.

Sunday, we got a little practice in, and found the hole as good as ever. It was a little lower than the last time that I'd been there, so it was a little stickier, but the pocket that gave up the big air was still pretty touchy. This gave all the local paddlers a big leg up. I was nervous, since I'm not really a local anymore. Also, Jed Selby and Jon Meyers showed up, which put me out of the top spots right off.

It was all going so well in prelims...
Photo by Joel Shute


I won't string out too many of the details, but I managed a really nice ride and an alright ride in prelims, which somehow put me in first place. It was really suspenseful waiting for finals, wondering if I'd be able to pull it off again. Turns out I wasn't able to keep it together. Conor came out of nowhere and had a stellar ride bringing him up to first. Jed and Jonny showed us all why they're as famous as they are by bringing the A game when the pressure is on. This left me in fourth place. I keep analyzing my last few rides, trying to imagine if I had tried a space godzilla instead of a backloop, or if I'd stuck the mcnasty, maybe I could have had top three. Oh well. I'm glad that Conor did as well as he did.

So... tired... But Conor is totally fine. Wonder how this will turn out?
Photo by Joel Shute

The person in the circle of spray is getting his ass kicked.
Photo by Joel Shute


I'm also super psyched at how well my friend Phil Nylund did. Phil isn't old or anything, but he's no teenager. However, over the past few years, I've watched Phil really progress with his paddling. He came really close to winning the expert class at Fibark last year, but couldn't quite keep the lead in finals. I'm pretty sure that this was his first time competing in the pro class, and he finished strong in 5th place, nipping at my heels. Keep your eye on this guy if you see him in other competitions.

Phil cleaning up in his backyard.
Photo by Joel Shute


Between all my personal excitement, Natalie was also having a pretty intense competition. She sold her playboat recently, so she's been borrowing different boats to try to decide what she wants to paddle. In prelims, she borrowed a Rev from Glenwood Canyon Kayak, since they're right up the street. This might earn me a slap, but her prelim rides weren't very good. This hole is hard to be consistent in, and she got unlucky twice in a row. Fortunately, she kept it as consistent as possible, and managed to get a couple points on the card each time. A lot of the Pro Women were focusing really hard on the loop and godzilla, but the judging was highly exact. This meant that there were only a couple loops given out, which led to a big division in the scores; there were the women that got the loop, and there were the women that didn't. Natalie came out at the high end of the low bracket, and just squeaked by into finals. In finals, she borrowed a Specialist, which she'd never tried before. She got a couple practice rides in it before finals got under way, and on her first ride, she launched an awesome loop. It was the most spectacular loop of the women's class, and better than most of the men's loops (including most of mine). That loop was more than enough to assure her a first place finish.

Natalie's huge loop. Highly impressive.
Photo by Leif Anderson


So on the ride home, I was the only one in the car with no first place medal and no prizes.

Ohhh...

Enjoy the photos while I cry myself to sleep.


Phil Nylund helping set up.
Photo by Leif Anderson

Ali... "Danger"... Wade
photo by Leif.

My good good friend Joel Shute
photo by Leif

Natalie, excited for the competition
Photo by Leif

Chris Vogt, the boss over at Glenwood Canyon Kayak
photo by Leif

Hobie, the head announcer for this event.
Photo by Leif

Once you pass a certain level of experience, every time you swim from your boat, you must appease the river gods by drinking from your bootie. This is the youngest bootie shot I've ever seen.
Photo by Leif


Natalie cartwheeling in warmups
photo by Leif

Conor during warmups.
Photo by Leif

Conor again
photo by Leif

During the competition, some unlucky beginner didn't keep track of their blue Wavesport Project, and It slid into the river. Ali had to rescue it.
Photo by Leif

In unrelated news, here's a photo of Jed Selby airwheeling his blue Wavesport Project.
Photo by Leif


Like Conor, Steve-O wasn't going to compete. But then after Hobie heckled him over the loudspeakers enough, Steve-O finally registered, and ended up taking first in the Master's Class.
photo by Leif

Steve-O again
photo by Leif

Charlie MacArthur of Aspen took second in the masters' class.
photo by Leif

Natalie practicing her loop before prelims
photo by Leif

Ali Looping
photo by Leif

Jonny Meyers Airwheeling the hell out of the Glenwood feature
photo by Joel Shute

Leif backlooping in prelims
photo by Joel Shute

Now, people looking awkward:

I think this is Coulter, from Aspen.
photo by Joel Shute

photo by Joel Shute

Jed Selby looking awkward
photo by Joel Shute

Jonny Meyers getting some air...
photo by Joel Shute

1 comment:

  1. Whats up Leif?
    Your mom sent me the link to your GWS rodeo blog. Really cool. You all kick ass. Thanks for your coaching and kind words. Both really mean a lot to me.

    The hole has gotten even thunkier and finicky; but its still going. I hope we see you and Natalie out there sometime this fall.

    MC Fil, on the mic.

    ReplyDelete