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Two new competitors made their debut on June 13 at the Lyons Outdoor Games
in Lyons, Colo., competing in the cadet rodeo. Garrett Parker (14) and his
brother Keegan (12) arrived with their new Jackson boats to try their hand
in their first-ever kayak event. Making it extra special, the two boys had
first stepped into a kayak a mere four months before the event. In that
short time they cruised from an introductory pool session in February, to
full-on competition at the Lyons Outdoor Games. And to top it off, they even
got to play King of the Hole with Nick Troutman on the river.

This crazy-fast learning curve began when the Town of Lyons, with the
support of Jackson Kayaks, started the Lyons Junior Kayak club this year.
The club was the brainchild of Lyons Parks and Recreation Director Dave
Cosgrove, along with several Lyons boaters. They partnered with the local
Jackson dealer, Confluence Kayaks, to create this dynamite program. And
with the help of Confluence Kayaks and Jackson’s Marty Cronin, Lyons
succeeded in enlisting one of the area’s top kayak instructors, Jason
Beausoleil (who just happens to paddle a Super Star).

The Parker boys, Garrett and Keegan, were the first kids to enroll in the
program in February, when they started hitting the pool every Sunday
morning. By mid-April, with a solid roll under their belt, they moved to the
still-frigid water of the St. Vrain River. The brothers took to kayaking
with a passion, and have yet to miss a pool session or river class since.
Most days, they can be found in the Black Bear Hole on the St. Vrain River
with their coach Jason. In May, three more local kids signed on, rounding
out the inaugural class of the Lyons Jr. Kayak Club.

The high point for Garrett and Keegan came this past week when Team Jackson
arrived in Lyons and began paddling with them. Jackson Regional Team paddler
Lauren Burress arrived on the Monday before the Outdoor Games, and showed
Garrett and Keegan the kind of talent that makes it onto Team Jackson.
Lauren spent the week paddling with Garrett and Keegan, helping them with
their kayaking moves, and encouraging them through their debut competition.
They capped the week by playing King of the Black Bear Hole with none other
than Nick Troutman. That REALLY impressed them – and showed them what open,
friendly and helpful folks are on Team Jackson. What great role models for
new paddlers!

This was Garrett and Keegan’s first exposure to a major kayak event, but it
certainly won’t be their last. Expect to see both Parker boys – along with
their mom and dad, who are also sporting new Jackson boats – at many more
events to come. A special thanks goes out from this writer, their dad, to
Marty Cronin and the Team Jackson gang, and to coach Jason Beausoleil (did I
mention he paddles a Super Star?) for making the Lyons Jr. Kayak Club a huge
success, and for giving the entire Parker family the chance to get hooked on
such a great sport. See you on the river!

Photo’s by Becky Parker

 Click to see larger image
Lauren Burres showing the boys some skills
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Garrett in the Black Bear Hole
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Keegan in the Black Bear Hole
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Garrett getting ready for a flat spin