By Eric Jackson

FullSizeRender-2Every year since 2004 CKS, owned by Earl and Chad, have put on a big event for paddlers in BV, CO. It has grown and evolved but the spirit has remained the same. Create an amazing Memorial Day Weekend of paddling, clinics, video premiers, slide shows, music, food, good beer, and of course, the BV Pro Rodeo. Jed Selby and team have created an amazing housing development called “South Main” which included an awesome whitewater park, Eddyline Brewery (food and beer) a hotel, and event site. This venue, along with the Town Pond, and CKS Store makes for a perfect place for such an event.

IMG_8782Team Jackson Kayak was at BV in force. Our juniors with their parents are just as important as our top senior team members at this event. They help do so many things, and the kids are such an inspiration to other young paddlers, as well as parents who see just how much fun kayaking can be for kids. Some of the highlights of the weekend that I am aware of (there were plenty of things that happened that I never saw due to the amount of activities available!).

1. Family paddle down the “Milk Run” by the Holcombe family- The Holcombs had anyone with kids come out and run this class 2 section and they had a huge turnout. Team JK juniors helped out as well. I was very fired up because my 6 year old, KC, ran the river with Dane in the Dynamic Duo and the two of them has a blast together and with the other kids.

2. Intro to play boating with Stephen and Nick- If you haven’t learned from these guys, you have not lived. Stephen is the head Keener Coach on the Ottawa and is perhaps the best coach I have ever seen for juniors or adults. He leaves every clinic with super fired up students, and has an energy that is contagious. Nick is not only one of the best kayakers in the world, but so helpful, nice, and patient that anyone will learn and be comfortable learning from him, whether you are the biggest scaredy cat or a macho paddler wanting to push hard and fast. They had a couple of clinics that had very new paddlers as well as very experience. I heard nothing but compliments from random people all day about how good they were.

3. Strokes and Concepts on the Flatwater- I taught 2 clinics- each around 3 hours long to very attentive groups who wanted more. It was awesome to see how the local paddling community wants to get better and enjoys instruction.

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4. BV Pro Rodeo- This year’s freestyle event had paddlers from France, Canada, England, USA, New Zealand, and Sweden (kind of)- One highlight for me was watching my Daughter, Emily, back in full form since having her first child, Tucker. She is truly paddling awesome again, and having fun doing it!

Watching the cadets and juniors were also amazing- Rowdy Kellogg- in the cadet class scored a 500+ point ride, throwing McNasties and other high scoring moves.

In the Junior ladies class- Sage Donnelly and Katy Kellogg were tied after second runs with 390 points and then Sage through a 500+ point ride which was also amazing to watch. I apologize that I can’t remember who got third, but she was not far behind! Sage was paddling her brand new 2016 Rock Star competition

In the Junior Men’s class- two sets of brothers, plus David Silk from Connecticut were in the finals. The Vorhees and the Kelloggs brothers. Alec Vorhees the elder, at 18, and also a world championship medalist, took the top spot with over 1,000 points in his final ride, while his younger brother, Hayden, got second with over 600 points. Brody Kellogg took the bronze medal, adding yet another medal to the Kelloggs family collection, which is so fun to watch. Hayden Vorhees was paddling a brand new 2016 Rock Star Competition Small.

In the Women’s Class Emily Jackson lead the entire finals with a 670 on her first ride, while second place traded out each ride. Niki Beebe from England took the silver and Haley Mills on Team Dagger took third. Emily was paddling her new 2016 Small Rock Star for the first time, and switched the day before the competition!

In the Men’s Class- I paddled hard but it didn’t earn me a spot in the finals this time, getting 6th place, one spot out. It did allow me a front and center place to watch and announce for the crowd, however. It is fun to watch freestyle kayaking from the shore from time to time where you are not worried about your own performances, but just hanging out. I had my Ninkasi “Total Domination” beer in one hand and a microphone in the other. Nick Troutman lead off the finals with an amazing 1,150 point ride. Matthieu Dumoulin was paddling so incredibly well in practice, but struggled to put a whole ride together, hitting 700 pointers. Max Karlsen was also showing off some amazing moves, with the highlight being an entry move into McNasty combo on his second ride. He struggled to stay in the hole and flushed on key moves getting 70o points as well on his best ride. Stephen Wright, however, coming in second in prelims, wanted more from life and scored an incredible 1,350 in the hole. He threw an awesome Blunt/McNasty combo as well as split/orbits and some huge loops, and much more. Dane, who won prelims, also threw a huge ride at 1270, but was in second. On Second Rides nobody improved, other than Dane, who threw a massive ride with a Tricky Woo, two Lunar Orbits, and some amazing clean McNastys and Loops. Everyone waited patiently for the score….. and it was

1370! 10 points behind Stephen’s. On final rides Dane threw another epic ride, but again not topping Stephen, who held the lead from the beginning and taking the 2015 BV pro rodeo in the Men’s Pro class in good form. Dane was second, and Nick was third- a sweep with the new 2016 Rock Star, which is so much fun to paddle I can’t even begin to explain.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a Werner Team dinner, along with Nick, Dane, and Emily at the “Deer Hammer” whiskey bar with Kristine and KC as well. Thanks Danny!

On Sunday we had the “Giant Slalom” Race and it was another sweep by Team JK in the Zens. Emily and Sage took top two spots in women while Nick and I tied for first, and Dane was third, Alec was 4th. The Zen was perfect for this race that included attainments, upstream gates, ferries, and downriver sprinting for 2.5 minutes. My last time tying in a race was at the Alseseca Race where Dane and I tied for first there as well. Ties are hard to pull off! Ties for first are very rare!

Marty Cronin, our VP of Sales, who is a long time whitewater paddler, but spends much of his time on the road selling fishing kayaks, Orion Coolers, etc.. was able to come, sell whitewater boats at the store, and paddle every day on the river, too. Our company is lucky to have Marty who is so versatile in his skill set and fired up on paddling in general. As usual, because there is so much going on, we don’t get to spend that much time hanging out together, but it was great to catch up in this fun setting!

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Rush Sturges just got a new Freestyle Machine for USA Team Trials!

Now that the “cat it out of the bag” and people are seeing the new 2016 Rock Star in person, the line up to get one is going to start getting long. We are now shipping both the small and medium sizes and will be shipping the large sometime later this week! The FASTEST way to get one is to order from your local dealer and then have the dealer tell our customer service. If we know the boat on order has been purchased by a paddler already, not just the dealer, we will put that boat to the front of the list the best we can. You can get either the Competition version (if you can afford the extra $200 it is worth it at under 27 pounds for the medium!) or the Standard version (still under 30 pounds for the medium- about 4 pounds less than most manufacturers boats in the category)

Well- now we have the rest of the Colorado Tour with the really BIG events being USA Team Trials and GoPro Games coming up!

Get out there and have some fun yourself on the water! Try out the new Rock Star or any JK boat! A new boat motivates you to get on the water and use it, going out on the water is good for you, mentally and physically!

See y0u on the River!
:)

Eric Jackson (link to my blogspot)