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June 7, 2005

Sorry about my wrap up story,
my fingers were hitting the keypad but I was dozing off! It is a beautiful
morning in Vail on this Monday and I can now recollect the whole thing

The general theme was once again enjoying a great competition,
and lots of competition, with the huge addition of having my kids compete
and blow me away with their results.

Emily won prelims, semi-finals, and finals in the freestyle
competition taking home $2000 yesterday, with Tanya Faux from Australia
taking home $1000, and Tanya Shuman $500.

I was second in prelims, won semi-finals, and won finals
yesterday to take home $2000 ($2800 for the week), with Jay Kincaid in
second at $1000, and Dustin Urban at $500.

The amount of media here was impressive and it was
interesting balancing the time they want to spend interviewing the family
and focusing on the competition.

Fox Sports is doing a profile on the Jackson family,
and was filming the thing just upstream of the hole while Emily and I
watched Jay and Tanya warming up. We got jittery and cut the interview
short, getting in our boats to play and warm up with them.

The Teva Mountain Games are producing their own show
that will air on OLN and they also have been doing lots of interviews
with the family and it is not easy rounding up me, Emily, and Dane all
at once. The media seems as enthralled as Kristine and I are that both
kids are proving to be competitive against the pros. Dane got 9th in the
end, with a host of great freestyle athletes coming in below him. Emily
simply is a ready to paddle with the women’s pro class. This is
not unusual for juniors to jump up to the pro class because they are really
good. Pat Keller, Brad Ludden, Rusty Sage, etc. all did it and paddled
well as pro’s before they turned 19.

Saturday was the semi-finals, and was the snow day.
Talk about a weather turn around. We woke up in the morning to 33 degree
weather and hard snow. It snowed until 11am! We got about 4 inches and
our gear was all hung out to dry! They postponed the event until 2:30
pm from 11:30 am to allow things to get better, and it did. It was still,
warm up with pogies weather, but OK. Tons of spectators gathered in the
little whitewater stadium to watch the women get cut from 6 to 3 and the
men from 10 to 3. Dane paddled really well in warm up but flushed a lot
on his rides. Dustin nailed his second ride and made the cut in 2nd place
ahead of Jay, with me winning that round. Emily won the round again, cool.

Saturday night was the presentation of the Everest
Awards. It was presented by Teva, Sprint, and Veramonte wine. It was an
awards presentation where numerous media leaders nominated up to three
men and three women in Adventure Racing, Mountain Biking, Trail Running,
Paddling, and Climbing, with a special award for the expedition of the
year. It was a formal event that Teva started and was set up as a fund
raiser for the Women’s Wilderness Institute. They are a non-profit
organization teaching women leadership skills through outdoor experiences.
Corey Nielson and Courtney ? were the MC’s. Corey is a long time
slalom racer, adventure racer, and motivational speaker. They did a great
job! In the women’s category, Nikki Kelley won the inaugural Everest
Award, earning the winning votes from the media. In the men’s category,
I won the Everest Award which was quite exciting for me. Eugene Buchannan
of Paddler Magazine was called on stage to announce the paddling awards.
John Grace and Tommy Hilleke were the other nominees. Along with the nice
glass trophy, I was also given a case of Veramonte wine in a single bottle
(there 2002 Cabernet, sweet!) This is an awesome vintage and although
I was told by the wine maker himself not to drink it because it was too
special, what good is an unopened bottle of wine anyway? Wine party at
the Jackson’s this fall when we get back!!!

After the Awards, which were held at the Dobson Arena,
they cleared the dinner tables, linens, and did the quick changeover to
the “Teva Ball” a Roller Derby and Dance party. It started
off with Roller Derby. These girls have their sport down. Jammers, blockers,
fist fights, and crazy names like, “Sick Girl”, Ivanna Spanking,
Dee Dee Capitator, etc. The kids went nuts watching the competition/show.
Their highlight of the thing was a rogue streaker who hit the stadium
and ultimately met his doom at the hands of the police.

An awesome band, lead by an Aretha Franklin type singer
with a great personality made the party go off great. I got to dance with
my lovely lady, as well as the rest of the kayak crowd, with Amy Cambel,
Des (Fisher’s girlfriend), etc. I wrapped up my evening at 12:30
since finals were scheduled for 12 hours later at 12:30 pm. The party
raged on all night as the number of competitors was down to three women
and three men, leaving the rest of the competitors free to celebrate with
reckless abandon. There were plenty of stories to listen to in the morning
about the wee hours after parties, reminding me that I am happier to just
enjoy the best part of the evening.

In the morning, the sun was shining and the weather
warmer. Emily spent the night at the Keller’s (Pat and Rhea) Pat
Keller’s sister is Emily’s age and they hang out. We went
down the to river with the plan to warm up. However Jock Bradley wanted
to do a photo shoot for the cover of a magazine with Emily, Dane, and
I. Fox Sports wanted to do interviews with the whole family for a profile.
I feel like I wrote this already?! I am going to skip this part and go
to the comp.

Tanya Shuman, Tanya Faux, and Emily Jackson were in
the water warmed up and ready as the crowd gathered leaving no room for
spectators to see if they weren’t already in their standing room
only spot. Even the balconies of the nearby hotels were crowded, very
cool. I made my way down to the eddy just above the hole to cheer Emily
on. Tanya Shuman went first and started off going for a big loop but missed,
hitting bottom and flushing out. Unfortunately that set the tone for the
rest of her ride and ultimately she washed too low to get back up. Tanya
Faux did her ride and she was on fire getting big air, cartwheel moves,
and working her style score using different features. Emily followed Tanya
Faux, knowing that the score to beat was Tanya Shuman’s but trying
to beat Tanya Faux also. Although Emily got her loops, cartwheels, and
a decent use of other features, she came in just below Faux’s score
41 to 37. This left only Emily and Tanya Faux to battle it out for the
$2000 first prize and the glory. Emily was seeded second so she went first
having a great second ride with a 42 point ride while Tanya missed a few
moves on that ride to come in at 25.5 points, giving Emily her first Pro-Women’s
win! Emily has now won $3,500 in three weeks!

Men’s Kayak

Jay Kincaid, Dustin Urban, and I made the cut from
the top 10 to top 3 and would have to battle for the win. Jay went first
since he was in third so far and was on fire! He is a well oiled machine
ticking off one move after the next like putting checkmarks on a grocery
list. His strong suit here was his cartwheel moves, McNasty, and blunts,
while his loops were not going as well. He came in at 92 points!

Dustin Urban was next having a decent ride but missing
his rightly blunt and tipping over once, as well as missing his McNasty
to come in at 55 points (that is what they announced)

I new that I could get over 60 points taking my time
and being conservative, to guarantee my getting into the next round, so
I did, coming in with a 64.5. Five minutes later, the judges were playing
with Dustin’s score some more, bumping him up to 63 points! I once
again learned my lesson (the easy way this time by ALMOST losing my place
by being conservative) of not holding back for the final round because
anything can happen. Since I had a lower score than Jay on that round,
I had to go first for the head to head battle for first place. This was
the third time Jay and I have faced each other in the final three this
year. First at the World Championships, then Reno, and now Vail. So far
I was undefeated in Freestyle competition in 2005. Last year I lost to
Jay most of the time in this situation, and I rubbed me the wrong way.
I went for broke on my final ride, going for over 100 points so that Jay
would have to have his best ride to beat me. Kelley Woolsey, my old boss
at Wavesport, now the boss at both Wavesport and Dagger was on the bridge
and he asked me what I was going to do, I told him 100 points.

My ride was the perfect EJ ride, meaning I did what
I like to do best, show off. Calling my moves to the crowd, and to the
judges before doing them gives me the edge to get it done right. I rarely
call a move out and miss it. It is because I am in a Broad External mental
focus, meaning I am aware of things outside of myself, allowing me to
truly enjoy the moment void of useless internal talk that blurs and dulls
the moment. My ride was Airloop with big bonus, Airloop again, Space Godzilla
with big bonus, Back loop, clean cartwheels both ways, both splits, and
then a rock 360, and a rock splat to maximize my style. The ride came
in at 112 points, sweet. Jay thrives on pressure and put in a great ride
until his final move, missing the McNasty, sealing the deal for me. Jay
and I love to go head to head and we do it often, nicknaming our finals
the E-Jay show. We almost commit to each other that we had better not
let each other down by not making it into the final two and we are really
hard on each other when one of us gets eliminated early.

That wrapped up the Vail Mountain Games for me, except
for some more interviews for the OLN tv show to air on August 27th (my
17th anniversary to Kristine) On Monday, I hooked up with two of my oldest
and best paddling buddies, Dan Gavere and Clay Wright for a Homestake
Creek, Gilman Gorge, and Dowd Chutes triple crown run with Dane and Nick.
Dan Gavere paddled the 4 Fun that he borrowed from Clay. Nick, Clay, and
I paddled Rockers, (oh yea!) and Dane paddled his creek boat, the Fun

We all had a great run until Stovepipe on Gilman Gorge.
Dane tipped and bounced over a couple of rocks after losing his paddle,
had to hand roll, grab his paddle and make the rest of the long rapid
out of breath. He eddied out crying, scaring himself for the first time
in a long time, but got over it in about 30 seconds and did a sweet rock
spin about 20 yards downstream. Personally, I was disappointed that he
dropped his paddle, but very proud of his hand roll, hand paddling, and
keeping his boat on line and out of trouble. I don’t know many people
with that type of presence of mind in such a busy, steep, rocky, big water

Well that about wraps up Vail Mountain Games. We are
going to Six Flags Amusement Park today.

EJ 🙂