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By Devon Barker

Dear Friends,

The first ever World Cup of Freestyle Kayaking was
great with over 20 countries competing thanks to
Wilderness Tours with Joe Kowalski & Matt Maguire,
Sara Daniels & Tommy Gunn, and the Eric and Kristine
Jackson and the whole Jackson Kayak Staff holding the
third event. Special thanks goes out to Kristine who
provided the format and time for the judges at each
event. You can check out all the info at the following
websites. I was 5th overall in freestyle and 1st in
squirt and I am very happy to have been in the first
ever World Cup. All of Team JK did outstanding and
had great rides and great results.

Between events I had an experience of a lifetime on
the FUN BUS. Camp Arrow Head donated the bus for us
to travel together as a team. I felt like I was
heading to 4-H camp all over again. I cannot thank
Jez who drove the bus and competed and Star from Camp
Arrow Head for making it possible for us.

The highlight of my trip was our stay in the Rock
Island Cabins in Tennessee. We had International
Cabin #5. My cabin mates were from Switzerland,
Canada, Germany, and England. I heard Swiss-German
most of the time and loved all of it. Kayaking has
enriched my life in so many ways. Thanks Cabin #5 &
our cuiser or the late 80s Toyota that took us
kayaking, all of us, each day.

We spent our last week in West Virginia or West by God
as “they” call it. I will never get use to the
kayakers’ excitement for rain. For the most part, it
does not rain in Idaho and if it does I build a fire,
curl up with a book, while muffins are baking in the
oven. It would never occur to me that rain makes the
rivers run and one should run outside and chase it.
Everyone’s spirits were high here as it rained the
whole time. I tried to explain snowmelt rivers to a
few people here and they said that must suck when the
rivers dry up when the snow is gone in the spring.
They did not even come close to believing me that most
of them run all year and that there is still snow in
the mountains.

The morning of Squirt Kayaking team trials I had to
walk two miles with all my gear in the rain to the
river as the access is only for commercial raft
companies. I had lots of time to contemplate the rain
fed vs. snowmelt rivers. Homesick was my conclusion.
Squirt boat trials went great and we were all getting
under the water with mystery moves.

Gualey Fest, rain and all brought a ton of people into
WV to raise money for American Whitewater. American
Whitewater works across the country to help protect
our rivers. They are working hard for more protection
for the Owyhee River right now. I also visited with
the NRS crew from Idaho. I cannot wait to be home
next week!

I am writing this from the Virginia /Tennessee boarder
in route to JK Team Week in Rock Island, Tennessee. I
took a leave from the Fun Bus to ride with Jessie
Stone. Jessie has the SoftPower Health Clinic in
Uganda where I was earlier this year. She had great
news for me about the young boy Ivan who we are trying
to help. He has been diagnosed with Potts or TB of
the Spine. Since my return I have not known if we
were going to be able to help him. I am so happy now
but we have to figure out how to administer medicine
everyday for a year to cure the TB. You can also read
Jessie’s article titled Net Gains about the newly
approved use of DDT in Uganda to treat Malaria! Ouch!
It is in the New York Times and on the Jackson Kayak

This brings me to the update all of you have been
hearing about for the last two years, MY TRUCK. Ever
since the slightly intoxicated and pushy driver took
out my truck I have been without a car but with my
life thanks to my huge Dodge Truck. It has been in
the shop the whole time I have been on tour but it
should be ready one to two weeks after my return to
Idaho. The steering column has been bent the whole
time causing tires, steering boxes, and rods to wear
out every few thousand miles. Fingers crossed.

My final wisdom tooth just broke the surface last
week. I would like to say I am wiser but really it
just hurts. Maybe it is just like life experiences as
they come with pain first and then wisdom.

Bless all of you for your love and support. I look
forward to paddling with you all at home and abroad so
don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Paddle in Peace,



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Mystery move

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Rock Island

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