Tao, Wright Take Lyons Games Crowns

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No lying about it…the Lyons Outdoors Games, now in their 7th year in Colorado are proving a pinnacle event for paddlers. Tao takes the hair-raising creek race, and Stephen Wright captures the freestyle crown. PL checks in with both winners to get their take…

Co-organizer Marty Cronin of Jackson Kayaks calls it “by far the biggest and best event the town has held,” with between 2,500 and 3,000 people attending. “Things are starting to snowball,” he adds. “This year’s event was well attended and sponsored, and the community saw a great time.”

So did the competitors, who competed in a creek race, freestyle event, boater-cross and even sampled a few biffs on mountain bikes in the cycling events.

Cronin places special kudos on the cadet category. “We’ve seen the cadet rodeo grow 100 percent each year,” he adds. “It’s an important aspect of this event. All the pros started on the water when they were young, so our plan is to create a whole new crew of teenagers just ripping.”

As for the ripping big-dogs, there were few surprises, with Tao taking the creek crown and Stephen Wright capturing first in freestyle.

“The playspot was better than ever this year,” says Wright, who paddled a new Jackson Kayak AllStar to the podium. “The combination of some winter design improvements and higher water made it a fun pocket where all the tricks were possible. Everyone hit a ton of sweet tricks. It was a great event, with lots of people coming out.”

While Wright won with poppy Airloop-to-Orbit and massive Spac- to-Mcnasty combos, fellow Jackson paddler Nick Troutman finished second with fast, technical rides, while Bryan Kirk’s smooth tricky’s and Phonics earned him third. Greg Parker was the crowd favorite with his massive airs that sometimes landed him in the eddy. “The amount of ‘pop’ he was getting on his technical tricks was creative and impressive even when he occasionally landed in the eddy.

For the women, it came down to Emily Jackson vs. Ruth Gordon (surprise, surprise), with both nailing sweet rides. Ruth led till the last ride, when Emily shone with a massive Space Godzilla. Elaine Campbell was third.

On the creek side of things, higher flows on the South St. Vrain had even top racers get pushed, flipped, and discumbobulated. Despite spinning out on run two, his Taoness charged full-throttle to the podium.

“The Lyon’s Race is one of the most difficult race courses in the country,” he says. “There are alot of places where one mistake can cost you the race, and maybe even a couple of teeth.

“My first run was about two seconds off of perfect,” he adds. “About two-thirds of the way through the second run, I spun out and pinned sideways on a rock. It probably cost me about 10 seconds. I was pretty disappointed , and thought I had lost. Pat Keller said he had two good runs, so we all thought he won. But apparently my first run more than made up for my 10 second mistake.”

Tao confesses that this has been a difficult year of racing because he picked up mono while boating in Colombia about a month before the race season started. “Because of my lack of energy I wasn’t able to train,” he says, adding that before his second-place showing at the Teva Games, he walked off a golf course after five holes because he was too tired to finish.

In Lyons, Tao was followed by Pat Keller in second, Bryan Kirk in third, and Clay Wright in fourth (despite getting stuck at the start and flipping near the bottom).

“It was a super-fun course and a great safety team only had one save to make, but it was quick and efficient,” says Wright. “All the racers had tales to tell.”

Info: LyonsOutdoorgames

Results

Adam Barron Memorial South Saint Vrain Creek Boat Race
1. Tao Berman
2. Pat Keller
3. Brian Kirk

Women’s Pro Freestyle
1. Emily jackson
2. Ruth gordon
3. Elaine

Men’s Pro Freestyle
1. Steven Wright
2. Nick Troutman
3. Brian Kirk

Cadet Rodeo
1. Alec Banderhoof
2. Sage Donnelly
3. Paul Palmer

Slalom Races
C1
1. Steve Isenberg — 119.78
2. Jp Griffeth2 — 125.82
3. Alex Dodge — 128.72
4. Griff Griffeth — 135.13

K1
1. Scott Shipley — 100.37
2. Griff Griffeth — 108.47
3. Alex Dodge2 — 109
4. Will Grubb — 112.37
5. JP Griffeth — 118.47
6. Henry Hyman — 119.66
7. Lamar Simms — 128.75
8. Tyler Newton — 139.87
9. Jack Heyman — 142.16
10. Henry Hyde — 159.84
11. Marshall McQuillen — 161.19
12. Max Karlsson — 267

K1-W
1. Emily Jackson — 123.44
2. Lauren Buress — 134.34
3. Sarah Dodge — 135.13
4. Sage Donnelly — 154.94
5. Emily Grubb — 243.78
6. Samatha Cole Johnson — 334.59

Age Group Results:

C1 – Junior (17 – 18)
1. Jp Griffeth2 — 125.82
2. Griff Griffeth — 135.13
C1 – Open (19 – 29)
1. Steve Isenberg — 119.78
2. Alex Dodge — 128.72

K1 – Cadet (16 and under)
1. Henry Hyman — 119.66
2. Jack Heyman — 142.16
3. Henry Hyde — 159.84
4. Marshall McQuillen — 161.19
5. Max Karlsson — 267

K1 – Junior (17 – 18)
1. Griff Griffeth — 108.47
2. Will Grubb — 112.37
3. JP — 118.47

K1 – Open (19 – 29)
1. Scott Shipley — 100.37
2. Alex Dodge2 — 109
3. Lamar Simms — 128.75
4. Tyler Newton — 139.87

K1-W – Cadet (16 and under)
1. Lauren Buress — 134.34
2. Sage Donnelly — 154.94
3. Emily Grubb — 243.78

K1-W – Junior (17 – 18)
1. Sarah Dodge — 135.13
2. Samatha Cole Johnson — 334.59

K1-W – Open (19 – 29)
1. Emily Jackson — 123.44

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

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