2009 Whitewater Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at NOC’s GAF


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The International Whitewater Hall of Fame (IWHOF) Event inducted its new crop of honorees at the NOC’s GAF Weekend Sept. 25-27 in Byson City, N.C. Included in the list: Lars Holbek, Rafael Gallo, Bill Mason, Mikhail Kolchevnikov and Czech Republic slalom sensations Stepanka Hilgertova and the Hochshorner Brothers…

“We had an awesome day, with some of the most legendary names in whitewater boating history,” says NOC’s Matt Urdan. “It was a great meeting of some of the best paddlers in the world.”

IWHOF Honorees in attendance:

Rafael Gallo

Nancy Wiley, Chuck Stanley, Richard Montgomery and family representing Honoree Lars Holbek

Svetlana Kolchevnikov and Andrei Kolchevnikov representing Honoree Mikhail Kolchevnikov

Filmmaker and Cameraman Ken Buck representing Honoree Bill Mason

Representatives of Stepanka Hilgertova and the Hochshorner Brothers still to be determined.


8:00 am – 9:00 AM, Breakfast at River’s End Restaurant

An informal breakfast for IWHOF Honorees and their families.

9:30 AM – 12:00 PM, Commemorative Nantahala ’90 Project RAFT Raft and Kayak Trip

Immediately after the IWHOF breakfast, honorees and their families will meet at our Rafting Center and board a special Rental’s Shuttle Bus. IWHOF Honoree Payson Kennedy will lead a raft trip commemorating the Nantahala ’90 Project RAFT Event held here at NOC back in 1990. IWHOF Honoree Mikhail Kolchevnikov organized the Chuya Rally in 1989, which was the first Project RAFT event held to inspire World Peace and International Cooperation among Americans and Russians. The Chuya Rally evolved into Project RAFT, and the first event held outside of Russia was the Nantahala ’90 Event, which was a week long celebration of international cooperation, rafting competitions, and a parade in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Honorable Ronald K. Machtley, Congressional Representative from Western North Carolina, said of the event on the floor of the United States Congress:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize an organization and an event that has helped promote world peace through the sport of rafting. The Nantahala 1990 Rally is an international rafting event that is being held for the first time in the United States. The event began in the Soviet Union in 1979. There, it was limited to Soviet participants until 1988 when one international team entered the competition. In 1989, the competition was opened to over 300 participants from 17 countries. The Nantahala 1990 Rally will promote international peace and friendship by bringing together outdoor enthusiasts from around the world. I would like to offer my best wishes to the Nantahala 1990 Rally and all its participants from around the world. I hope that the competition will be a great success.”

As Honoree Mikhail Kolchevnikov’s work led to this event, and Honorees Payson Kennedy and Rafael Gallo participated in the event 19 years ago, we thought it would be fitting and appropriate and fun to commemorate this event this year.

Rafts will be guided down the Nantahala River by Andrei Kolchevnikov, Rafael Gallo, Payson Kennedy, and Nancy Wiley along with Risa Shimoda and Matt Urdan. (For the most extreme ride, you’ll want to be in Matt Urdan’s raft.)

Private boaters and rafters who wish to boat alongside IWHOF Honorees are welcome to join the flotilla. All you need to do is arrive no later than 9:00 AM at the Rafting Center at NOC with your boat, purchase a Forest Service Permit, pay a nominal Rental’s shuttle fee and hop on the Shuttle Bus. If you wish to paddle a raft or ducky, you may rent one from the Rafting Center for a nominal fee. The shuttle bus will leave promptly at 9:30 AM and it will take approximately two hours to run the Nantahala River. We will take out at Slow Joe’s Café where lunch and a slide show will follow immediately.

For more details or if you have any questions, please contact Matt Urdan at 828-488-7191.

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM, Lunch and Project RAFT Slide Show at Slow Joe’s Café

The Raft trip will take out at Slow Joe’s Café, where lunch will follow along with a Slide Show on our Flat Screen Televisions. The slides were taken in 1989 at the Chuya Rally and in 1990 during Project RAFT on the Nantahala and at other venues that hosted the event. The public will be welcome to join us and mingle with IWHOF Honorees and other whitewater boating legends.

5:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Induction Dinner and Program

5:00-6:00 guests will arrive and mingle.

6:00-7:00 the viewing of the 2009 IWHOF Honoree DVD will take place upstairs at Relia’s Garden

7:00-8:30 dinner will be served

8:30-10:00 will be the IWHOF program that will include the presentation of awards, speeches, and remarks.

“It’s going to be an absolutely incredible day,” says Urdan. “Sponsorships are still available and donations of any kind are most welcome!”

Nantahala Outdoor Center
13077 Highway 19 West
Bryson City, North Carolina 28713
Office: 828-488-2175 x 7191 | www.noc.com
Cell: 828-788-1498

Staff Posthttps://paddlinglife.com
Paddlers writing about all things paddling.


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