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By Emily Jackson

This year was one of the biggest Snow Packs in Colorado’s History but the snow isn’t what I was excited for. It was the water it was going to turn into. We started off in Buena Vista for the CKS Paddle Fest and helped promote our sponsors as well as teach clinics. The weekend afterwards was first ever BV Pro Rodeo. It was a super fun and well organized event. You could tell the people running it had been to organized events before. In finals for Women it was local Katie Urban, Ruth Gordon and I. Final results were Katie in third, Ruth in Second, and myself in First. In the Mens it was Jonathan Shales, Dustin Urban, Dane Jackson, Nick Troutman and Jason Craig. Dane Jackson took third, Nick Second and Dustin in First. The after party was a hit with a live band and a local brewery.

Our next event was in Steamboat Springs that following Monday. The Paddler Invitational was certaintly not a new event but it is a different format almost every year. Its one of the few events where it is a Freestyle and Creek event combined. In the morning we had the freestyle. Tanya and I playing it out for 1st. I ended up winning, my first time winning the event in Steamboat Springs. Nick Troutman also took 1st in the Mens Pro Class. Then with only an hour of break we headed up to the Creek. I don’t remember the name of the Creek but I know the section we race on isn’t the most popular because its steeper and deeper up farther, but the section we were running on was still super fun water with a lot of room for errors. I made a couple pretty slow ones myself and ended up 4th. But I still got 2nd in the overall. Nick Troutman got tied for second overall with Andrew Holcombe. That night we got on the road and drove to Lyons Colorado.

I was doing a slalom race the same weekend as Lyons Outdoor Games but luckily it was only an hour away so I could do my race runs, run back and get in my play boat for my freestyle heat. The event was super fun, with bikers, kayakers and kids just having a great time. There were a lot of spectators and people seemed really into the event. I only got to spend a little bit of time at the event but from what I saw it looked awesome. I got third at the Slalom Race, which was JR Trials. And I won the freestyle event, continuing my freestyle streak. Nick also won with my Dad in second.

And last weekend we had one of the Biggest Colorado events of the year, the Teva Mountain Games. The Teva Mountain Games has been going on since the early 2000’s and I have only participated in 4. Its one of my favorite events because when you are surfing there are hundreds of people around you and they seem super enthralled with the sport. Seeing people into what your doing to that extent only gets me more fired up. The first day, Thursday is the Homestake Creek Race and its one of the biggest and coldest of the events. The creek is a solid class 4-5 stretch that drops 250 feet in a ¼ mile. I have never done the race but I have done the course. The course is boney with rocks at every turn and they are not smooth. I enjoy watching the event and seeing people like Tao Berman, Andrew Holcombe and Tommy Hilike have super fast race runs. Nick and Dad both ended up around 14th in a pack of 68 competitors. Both did super well and I was very excited to watch them race. Dane and Jason also had super good runs but they just weren’t fast enough overall. The women were hardcore and made the run look easy. Tanya took the cake but a milestone. Ruth Gordon had an awesome run until an unfortunate swim in the last drop that put her into the Did Not Finish Group. (Yes there were a lot of DNFS) The Next Day was Rodeo Semis. There were 8 heats of men and they were cutting it to two. The two heats were stacked with some of the biggest names in Freestyle Kayaking. For women we cut to 5. Jessie Stone, Tanya Faux, Ruth Gordon, Nikki Kelley and Myself all made it to Saturday’s events! My Dad took Prelims by over a hundred points with every move in the book. Finals were the nest day and finally the weather was warming up. My father and I had one this event the past 3 years in a row and we were both looking to beable to say 4 timer. Well I get to say 4 times now and my father stuck with second place but he still gets to say 4 time world champion so I cant feel bad for him. Nick Troutman took 3rd, my Father took second and Dustin Urban took 1st. In the women in was Tanya Faux in third, Ruth in Second and myself in First. On Sunday we had an event called the 8 ball where it’s a boatercross but people are waiting for you in the rapid and there goal is to slam you as hard as they can. (Its painful) I have never placed in one until this year where I got 1st. It was tough. I got surfed, pierced, slammed, paddled! But in the end it all paid off.

It feels good to have one ever rodeo I have entered this year but every event I show up at there’s always someone putting you on a run for your money. Ruth Gordon is having her best year yet with moves only boys could do before this year. Now that I am Salida CO, one of the most fun events are happening this weekend, FIBARK. If you haven’t been I suggest you try and make it. It’s the best hole for learning tricks and I absolutely love the town.

Thanks a ton to everyone who has been supporting me along the way. I really appreciate it!
Happy Paddling!
Emily Jackson