Gauley Fest. The mere mention of the paddling world’s most rambunctious party–a 5,000-person-strong watery Woodstock celebrating the annual fall releases on West Virginia’s Gauley River and benefiting American Whitewater–makes your liver hurt and shoulders sore.
What all went down as part of this year’s debauchery? Plenty…from paddling to the obligatory partying.
Dagger Pole Dance Competition
We know kayakers have loose hips. But just how loose we weren’t sure until the Dagger pole dancing competition Saturday night. While Dagger originally planned to give away a custom American flag-themed Nomad 8.5, prompting a thread on BoaterTalk complaining that it would be a sausage fest appealing to guys only, in the end it was a gyrating gal named Abby grinding away with the overall prize of a petite-as-she-was flame-themed Agent 6.0.
“It was great because every dollar a dancer earned from the crowd got name entered into the drawing,” says organizer Ken Hobie Houeve, adding that the funds were split 50/50 to AW and Mike Parker, a local who recently suffered a spinal injury. “We wanted to raise funds for these two causes and have a little fun.
“To say the least, it went off,” he adds—of the event, not people’s clothes. “For three hours people waited to dance and forked over the bucks for a great cause. If it was not for the fact we blew out our amp we would have gone on till the break of dawn.”
Riot Karoke Tour (Don’t Quit Your Day Job)
Meanwhile, things were also heating up over at the Riot booth, this time with gyrating vocal chords.
Rare is there a more apt name for a non-paddling event than Riot’s Karaoke Tour 2007: Don’t Quit Your Day Job. At Gauley Fest, paddlers belted out their most raunchy tunes for the chance to win prizes from Mion, Shred Ready, Immersion Research, Astral, and Riot. Not to be outdone, the Riot team, fresh from a 26-mile paddle of the Upper, Middle and Lower Gauley sections, took no shame in embarrassing themselves right along side other singing patrons.
Wave Sport Open
Once again the Wave Sport Open provided the most carnage of the weekend with its 4th Annual Wave Sport Open. This year’s event spiced things up with a mass start, as well as the customary Pillow Rock Freestyle event. “The highlight was definitely the Best (Worst) Carnage sponsored by Sweet Protection,” says organizer Brian Jennings. “Our buddy Lance Reif was in the crack in the room of doom for almost four minutes….upside down, vertical, backwards, sans paddle, holding a rope, gets a new paddle, and the beating starts all over again. Mad props to him for not swimming.”
WAVE SPORT OPEN RESULTS
Best Run @ Pillow (Presented by Kokatat): Adam Johnson
Best Female Run @ Pillow (Presented by Kokatat): Carrie Lueckel
Best Move @ Pillow: Bryan Kirk
Best Room Ride (Presented by IR): Jake Greenbaum
Longest Pillow Downtime: Ben Edson
IronWoman:- Liz Arnold Best Splat @ Pillow: Tanya Shuman
Best (Worst) Carnage: Lance Reif
Pillow Rock Race (Presented by Mion): 1) Jesse Shimrock; 2) Tyler Fox; 3) Chris Baer
Lost Paddle Race (Presented by Smith Optics): 1) Jesse Shimrock 2) Adam Johnson; 3) Lance Reif Sweets Falls Race (Presented by IR): 1) Jesse Shimrock ; 2) Issac Ludwig; 3) Chris Baer
Best squirt downtime: Ted Fuller – 16 sec
Overall Race Series Winner: Jesse Shimrock
In AW’s Words:
What a weekend we had! Paddlers were treated to warm sun-filled days and blue skies overhead, a rare treat for the Gauley. Gauley Fest is a chance to paddle some classic whitewater and connect with old friends. The Half Time String Band was a huge help playing for hours on both Friday and Saturday night. Bucktown Kick Back was new to the Gauley Fest this year and did a great job of keeping the party rolling until the wee hours. But the one man show of Takumi Kato the Japanese Drummer stole the show on both Friday and Saturday night. Other festivities including a screening of Seven Weeks in Tibet and our schwag-filled Silent Auction.
The festival is a huge fundraiser for American Whitewater’s stewardship work. In addition to AW’s largest fundraiser the Gauley Festival also hosts the largest membership drive with nearly 400 memberships taken at the event. A big thank you to Clif Bar, Dagger Kayaks, Jackson Kayak, Kayak Session, KEEN, Kokatat, Mion Footwear, NRS, Outdoor Play, Pyranha Kayaks, and Wave Sport for contributing.
Making the festival happen was an incredible group of volunteers who set the festival up, ran it smoothly, and helped pack things away in record time. A big thank you to Stacey Johnson from Hood River, OR for coordinating all the volunteers and NOC for providing us a huge crew to help break the festival down! We’d also like to thank Anna Levesque from Girls at Play, North American River Runner, and Kokatat for hosting the Ladies on the Lower G which raised money for AW’s River Stewardship efforts. American Whitewater and Wave Sport also presented the Steward of the Year Award to Barry Adams of Pittsburgh, Penn., for his efforts in helping paddlers access Ohiopyle Falls on the Youghiogheny. Adams is the second recipient of the annual river stewardship achievement award that recognizes individuals who make outstanding contributions to river access, conservation.
It’s Animal Time!
15th annual Animal Downriver race as raging as the river
An institution at Gauley Fest, this year marked the 15th anniversary of the classic Animal Race down the Upper Gauley, pitting playboaters and downriver races against one another in a battle for top bragging rights the last for an entire year. “The race was a great success as always,“ says organizer Donnie Hudspeth. “Fifteen years is quite a milestone for a race in big whitewater, and some guys have been racing it every year.”
In the end, Geoff Calhoun took top honors in the K1 Wildwater class in a time of 46:46, with Pyranha’s Jared Seiler edging out fellow team paddlerJeremy Laucks by just 11 seconds in Wavehopper/Speeder class, finishing in 52:05. In the coveted Under 8.5 playboat class, Logan Backrath bested Wave Sports’ Brian Jennings by 27 seconds, finishing in 58:54, with Jay Moffatt taking third just at second behind Jennings at 59:22.
15th Annual Animal Race Results
Geoff Calhoun 82 K1 Wildwater 2:15:00 3:01:46.35 0:46:46
Chris Hipgrave 26 K1 Wildwater 2:15:00 3:02:48.10 0:47:48
Jared Seiler 29 Speeder 2:18:00 3:10:05.40 0:52:05
Jeremy Laucks 34 Speeder 2:18:00 3:10:15.62 0:52:16
Eric Hendrickson 30 Wavehopper 2:18:00 3:11:38.54 0:53:39
Gordon Dalton 31 Speeder 2:18:00 3:12:36.68 0:54:37
Mark Hamilton 43 K1 Slalom 2:21:00 3:12:50.00 0:51:50
Bryan Kirk 48 K1 Slalom 2:21:00 3:13:29.06 0:52:29
Mike Moore 50 K1 Slalom 2:21:00 3:15:33.81 0:54:34
Peter Persolja 44 K1 Slalom 2:21:00 3:15:38.18 0:54:38
Stan Prichard 41 K1 Slalom 2:21:00 3:15:59.81 0:55:00
Eric Nies 42 K1 Slalom 2:21:00 3:16:44.98 0:55:45
Samuel Stewart 46 K1 Slalom 2:21:00 3:17:24.56 0:56:25
Ryan Gaujot 47 K1 Slalom 2:21:00 3:20:11.36 0:59:11
Katie Buddenberg 64 K1W Slalom 2:21:00 3:19:13.84 0:58:14
Emily Mahowald 63 K1W Slalom 2:21:00 3:21:25.40 1:00:25
Maggie Snowel 62 K1W Slalom 2:21:00 3:24:57.65 1:03:58
Team Ohio State 3 K2 2:24:00 3:22:12.10 0:58:12
Hobbit & Snuffy 4 K2 2:24:00 3:26:11.60 1:02:12
Logan Backrath 69 K1 Playboat 2:27:00 3:25:54.11 0:58:54
Brian Jennings 71 K1 Playboat 2:27:00 3:26:21.00 0:59:21
Jay Moffatt 74 K1 Playboat 2:27:00 3:26:22.34 0:59:22
Brad Buddenberg 72 K1 Playboat 2:27:00 3:26:29.61 0:59:30
Jake Zywicke 68 K1 Playboat 2:27:00 3:26:41.21 0:59:41
Justin Burd 79 K1 Playboat 2:27:00 3:26:50.39 0:59:50
Chad Foreman 75 K1 Playboat 2:27:00 3:27:39.67 1:00:40
Chris Baer 78 K1 Playboat 2:27:00 3:27:43.36 1:00:43
Bryan Hunter 70 K1 Playboat 2:27:00 3:27:51.22 1:00:51
George Rogers 73 K1 Playboat 2:27:00 3:27:58.78 1:00:59
Keith Doherty 86 K1 Playboat 2:27:00 3:29:15.20 1:02:15
Casey Tango 77 K1 Playboat 2:27:00 3:29:56.29 1:02:56
Ben Davis 66 K1 Playboat 2:27:00 3:31:30.84 1:04:31
Brandon Holmes 87 K1 Playboat 2:27:00 3:32:17.55 1:05:18