RIDGWAY – The Uncompahgre River is raging with the ghosts of a huge winter past, and boaters are readying themselves for the First Annual Ridgway River Festival, scheduled to take place June 28 at Rollans Park.
The Uncompahgre should be full of surprises during the festival’s two on-river events. The Down River Race, commencing at 11:30 a.m., is sure to provide excitement and entertainment. Racers can compete in three categories based on their craft: kayaks, inflatable craft with two or more chambers, and riff-raff and one-chamber inflatables. The kayaks and two-chamber inflatables will run a course from Rollans Park to the Ridgway State Park Reservoir. Speed is the name of the game as boaters maneuver the wild rapids and treacherous boulder fields of the Unc to be the first to cross the finish line.
For the Riff Raff Race, boaters will get creative, fashioning their crafts out of materials that are not necessarily intended for river travel. The Riff Raff course will send racers down the Ridgwaves to a finish line just above the railroad bridge. Spectators can expect to see some crazy crafts that make them laugh and wonder, “Just how does that boat float?”
The Whitewater Rodeo, a freestyle kayak event, will be held at one of the Ridgwaves and will commence at 2 p.m. Kayakers may enter in any of four categories: Women’s Beginner, Women’s Advanced, Men’s Beginner, and Men’s Advanced. This event is sure to be a crowd pleaser as competitors throw down cartwheels, flat spins, McTwists, and splitwheels in the vortex of bubbling whitewater.
All boating enthusiasts are encouraged to vie for the titles of River Rockstar, Rodeo Queen, Superfly Speedracer, and Junk of the Unc.
Prizes will be awarded in all categories for both events. Awards will be presented at a celebration at 4 p.m. in Rollans Park. Event registration will take place from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, June 28 in Rollans Park. This is an official sanctioned event of the American Canoe Association. Registration fees will be $10 for ACA members and $15 for non-ACA members. All river competitors must have a properly fitting Personal Floatation Device (PFD) and all Whitewater Rodeo competitors must also have a properly fitting paddling helmet.
Come celebrate our watershed and get swept away in the fun. For more information about the Ridgway River Festival or to volunteer email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Deb Read at 970/626-5134.