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By Sage Donnelly

This month has been very busy for me. It started out with the Truckee River Races in Reno, Nevada where I ran the Downriver Race on Saturday and the Slalom Races on Sunday. I placed first in both of the races and qualified to compete in the Junior Olympics as a Cub Cadet this summer in Canada! It was also the first time I paddled my new fiberglass slalom boat. It is super fast and fun to race in- and it’s orange!

After the races we packed our van and drove to Colorado for several weeks of kayaking on rivers and competing in rodeos, clinics and races all over the state. We started out at Glenwood Springs where the river was running about 15,0000 cfs, way bigger than I’m used to seeing rivers flow, and surfers on surfboards were riding it like they do in the ocean. It took a lot of tries but I finally caught the wave! Team Trials were held here and I was the only female cadet who competed. I was able to catch the wave and front surf it but it was super flushy and I had a hard time staying on it After team trials , we drove to Buena Vista on the Arkansas River where I helped teach a kids clinic with Dane Jackson and Lauren Buress. It was a lot of fun and the kids had a great time playing Red Rover and chase around the pond. After the clinic My family and I ran Browns Canyon and the Fractions on the Arkansas River. It was a blast! We then hit the Golden Community Rodeo where, as usual, I was the only girl in the cadets and I placed 4th over all.

After Golden we hit the Buena Vista whitewater park and ran the Numbers section of the Arkansas River. It is a solid class 4 section and I ran it with my Mom and Dad, fellow Team Jackson members Devon Barker and Alec Vorhees and Devon’s friends Kat and her husband David. The Numbers was super fun and it was the first class 4 I ran in my Shooting Star. To top it off, I only had 2 braces the whole run!

Our next stop was the Lyons Outdoor Games where they have a large cadet competition on the South St. Vrain creek. It attracted a lot of participants, including fellow Reno paddler Trevor LeMay! There were 14 kids total in the cadet rodeo and, as usual, I was the only girl and there was only one other 8 year old, my friend Henry Hyde from Texas. It was a tough competition and I was second, with fellow Jackson team mate Alec Voorhees taking first. After the rodeo, I ran the slalom race and placed second in Jr. girls behind fellow Jackson paddler Lauren Buress. I had a blast!

After Lyons it was off to Fibark for another rodeo with a large junior class. There were 4 of us under 10 so they broke the results down and made a cadet class where I placed second second to my friend Lauren Buress.

Our final destination was the Gunnison River Festival in Gunnison, Colorado. The wave there was huge and I managed a few practice runs, but was super happy to find out the cadet rodeo was on a much smaller wave. I met Evan and Anna Schehrer and we had a great time competing. I was able to stay on the wave the entire 45 seconds and did spins and shuvits on each side-I had a ball! I managed to get my 1st first and also competed against my first girl ever! Hopefully other girls decide to compete and we can get our own cadet girls class!

Back in Carson City now where the only rivers running are American Whitewater scheduled releases. Lots of fun still to be had and lots of rivers/races/rodeos still to be run!



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Anna Gunni
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BV Kids Clinic
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Evan Gunni
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Hayden Lyons
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Sage Glenwood
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Sage Kai partysurf
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Sage Lyons