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By Billy Harris

Photos by Stephen Wright

Its interesting life being at the Jackson’s.

Roughing up Dane, learning the hard way
Guide on the green.
Learning the roll and helping people get by the brain.

We all piled into the Clay Wrights big ol truck with about as much Plastic as you can fit on the monsterus rig and Piled Loren, Dane, Stephen, Nick, Emily and I in for pool clinics at Rollapoolza in Raleigh NC. Once loaded up we all piled in batteries charged. Dane’s first request was, “are we stopping anywhere for snacks.” Stephen and I looked at each with a sour look. Both of us know that with 7 people in a 4 door truck despite its size was not going to accommodate what amounts to a miniature MC Hammer doing the Hammer dance for the next 8 hours on the front seat of a manual shifting truck. Dane Needed to be TAMED on this trip.
Rollapooza is held in Raleigh NC, in a massive pool with most of the dealers demoing out boats. We all signed up for clinics, some of us taught rolling, squirts, and flat-water loops. It was awesome. We never had more than 4 people in a clinic and no more than 2 people in the rolling clinics. Spent a lot of my time teaching rolling in the kiddies pool at the end with different ages and sizes. Found a lot of people who had the right idea but just were doing too much thinking. Head up last paddle on the surface when you start your roll and you will come up. It was a fantastic time managed 100% success at my end of the pool but I also ran into a bunch of people that were just open to learning how to roll too so it was kind of cheating. In between, we Bombed around in the DYNAMIC DUO trying to span the gap between the 2 pools and avoiding Nick who was hell bent on looping over the Duo with both of us in it. The first attempt he landed on Dane. The second attempt had Dane just jumping out the third attempt Loren and I watched nick soar over the boat landing on the other side. Dane climbed back in proclaiming that he could roll us both up and not to help. Forgetting that I was 100 pounds heavier than he was. “Billy, Stop helping me”. I kept trying to hell him I like breathing…..

Now I grew up with my mother announcing well ahead of time what the punishment would be for creating havoc in the car. I also remember being a pretty bad listener. Dane was no acceptation to this rule. My mother sought out payment for misbehaving with the standard “don’t make me stop this car”. And with a deft hand swinging with sniper like precision at our tender thighs in the back seat. You would think we were part spider monkeys the way me moved with seat belts on when that boney hand came for payment.
Dane started by polkaing his finger in my face. He loves the reaction he got from me until I snapped at him with my teeth. As it turns out I connected. Apparently he mashed it earlier and it was almost healed up and I split it wide open. He never cried but the tears were flowing as he held his hand proclaiming his innocence. Pain. Despite what my wife says, for people like me is the only way to convince a child to behave. Especially when he’s eaten 2 snickers bars, a gallon of Gatorade, and handfuls of sour keys. HE was quite honestly hard to pull of the roof of the car.

We showed up at the Green River on the way home. WICKED. We met Shane Benedict whom I haven’t seen in a long time. It was nice to see him cause Clay Wright, Justin Owen and a photographer Trevor showed up to meet us creating mayhem on the river. I have been told the nice thing about river running is there are no lines. WELL NOT TODAY. There were tones of people. Combined with my first time down the Green being led by Dane kind of worried me. Clay Wright, whose place I am staying at right now is a great guide but provides me with WAY too much info. Shane gives very little information and was perfect and scary too. “Keep your nose right and your eyes open”. Clay herded us down the river providing in depth descriptions all the way. It was awesome. Well worth the diversion on the way home.

If you’re in the area next year drop in to Rollapoolza it was great to have so many great instructors and such a well organized event.

Billy Harris
On a mission

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