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August 4, 2009

By Colin Kemp

Freestyle paddlers rule this weekend! – New Jackson Kayak whitewater boat is prize

What: 6th Annual Midwest Freestyle Championships

Where: Park – Center stage at Little Drop, right behind the Park Department

When: 10am – 5pm; Saturday, August 15 & Sunday, August 16

Best times to watch: 10:00 – 11:45am and 1:15 to 3:30pm – all events are based on competition numbers and will extend time with larger numbers or end sooner with smaller participant base.

WAUSAU — The 6th Annual Midwest Freestyle Championships — freestyle “rodeo” kayaking takes place this weekend at Wausau’s Whitewater Park from 10am to 5pm. Competitors will vie to win a new Jackson Kayak whitewater kayak during Saturday and Sunday’s freestyle action.

Cole Jacobsen, a Green Bay freestyle paddler and Chair of the 2008 and 2009 Midwest Freestyle Championships has worked hard to build an exciting event that will continue the tradition of excellence for Wausau and the paddling community.

Paired with Jackson Kayak, the event kicks off with a first time ever two-day freestyle clinic on August 13 and 14, with Jackson Kayak instructors, Colin Kemp, Brian Tupper, and John McConville. Kemp, an experienced instructor who formerly ran a kayak school with a fleet of 35 boats, promises to give the students an in-depth knowledge of freestyle moves and how to execute them on the Wausau course. McConville, 22, (featured in the above photo) is an amazing example of rapid growth in the Whitewater world. He has only been paddling for two years. In that short time, he has become a favorite of Midwestern paddlers and is now a Midwest Representative for Jackson Kayak. Tupper is an expert instructor recruited by Kemp when the overflowing class needed to expand to 3 instructors.

Hosting the popular event is Wausau Kayak / Canoe Corporation, aka , the non-profit corporation which manages Park operations. As the clock ticks, competitors pile on the points with spins, cartwheels, pirouettes and “blunts” that resemble end stands. Expert paddlers will try to pile on the points with moves like the Phonics Monkey, Space Godzilla, Lunar Orbit, Air Loop, Tricky Wu, and McNasty. Full schedule can be found at the end of this release.

On Sunday, The freestyle finals will be run in most classes and fun events like “boatercross” will take place behind the county office buildings near the VFW on River Drive. Boatercross is more than a sprint down the river. Heats of between five and eight racers all start at the same time on what is converted into a very wet obstacle course. The racers must pass through gates and do certain maneuvers. As the event progresses, an announcer will explain such moves as boofs and splats. Rules allow contact between the racers in this event for Wausau.

Top paddlers in each class will take home a custom-designed belt buckle and all participants will receive a memento medal. Terry & Company will return with food for everyone – Brats, burgers, fries, and hot dogs for a start.

Nora Whitmore, Red Wing, MN writes in her blog, “There’s a lot of excitement in the air…The Midwest Freestyle Championships are this coming weekend and everyone is practicing hard. Over the years the regular paddlers have gotten so good…it’s great to see. It used to be a loop could win it…now it looks like you’ll have to pull a Phonics Monkey out of your pocket to win. There’s a few that can do it! Little Drop can be a fickle place. Your roll needs to be quick or you’ll flush down stream”

Throughout the clinic and event, the course will be open to paddling in the non-event areas for recreational paddlers. Registration information can be found on the event page of Wasau Whitewater.

Jackson Kayaks will be available for spectators to view, sit in, and learn more about. You will see a high percentage of Jackson Kayak boats on the river. Bear Paw Outdoor Adventure Resort, the local White Lake dealer for multiple whitewater brands will be at the event Saturday and Sunday.

Full season event listings may be found at our website,, with events remaining including:

1. Four recreational releases, September 5 and 6, September 19 and 20

2. Basic Whitewater Paddling Instruction at each of the above releases – Three hour classes fill up quickly, includes boat, gear, instructor and insurance for the small fee of $35! Morning and afternoon sessions available all days.

Volunteers are always needed and spectators are always welcome to events and recreational days. But this season, the message is don’t just come see it, come be part of it! We thank the many sponsors that make this event possible, including Wisconsin Public Service, City of Wausau, Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin, Liberty Mutual, Greenheck Fan Corporation, Siemens Water Technology, Noodles & Company, World Kayak, Esquif Canoes, 89Q, Eastbay, Jackson Kayak, Jefferson Street Inn, Bear Paw Outdoor Adventure Resort, US Trail Maps, Sun Printing, Deffner Law Firm, Wausau Paper, Abby Bank, TD Fischer Group, Green Bay Packaging, Wipfli LLP, and many more great sponsors.

Note to editors: Reporters are welcome to photograph or film. Lunch break runs between 11:30 and 1:00pm. Julie Walraven can be reached at 715-574-5263 for additional information. Michael Schroeder is the current President of Wausau Kayak / Canoe Corporation () and will also be on river on Thursday or can be called at 715-323-3751 for comment. For information on events, training camps and recreational releases, interested persons can go to or contact Julie Walraven, Operations Manager, 715-574-5263.

Midwest Freestyle Championships

August 15th & 16th, 2009 Wausau, WI

Welcome to the Wausau Midwest Freestyle Championships! Over the weekend you will see whitewater paddlers from the Midwest will be competing in the classes below. In freestyle competitions competitors score points based on the difficulty and precision of moves made in a hydraulic feature on the course.

Please join us for an exciting Wausau Tradition. Times below are approximate.

Saturday 15th

9:30 Boater Meeting

10:00 K-1 Beginner Preliminaries

10:30 K-1 Intermediate Preliminaries

11:00 K-1 Women’s

12:00 Lunch

12:30 OC1 / C1

1:00 K-1 Expert Preliminaries (there will be pro boaters competing in this division)

2:00 K-1 Master Preliminaries / Finals

3:00 Big Gun Shootout (time permitting)

7:00 Kayak Video’s at the VFW (basement)

Food can be purchased at the VFW prior to video’s

Mountain Khakis giveaway

Sunday 16th

9:30 Boater meeting

10:00 Team Rodeo Preliminaries

10:30 Boatercross Sponsored by World Kayak

11:30 K-1 Beginner Finals

12:00 Lunch

12:30 K-1 Intermediate Finals

1:00 K-1 Women’s Finals

1:30 K-1 Expert Finals

2:00 Team Rodeo Finals

3:00 Clean-up / Tear down (All competitors must help)

4:00 Award Ceremony

Please see the following open water, clinic and competition details.

8/13/08 Freestyle training camp 8:30 am to 6pm Water 10:00 am to 4:30 pm

8/14/08 Freestyle training camp 8:30 am to 6pm Water 10:00 am to 4:30 pm

8/15/08 Midwest Freestyle Championships Water 10:00 am to 4:30 pm

8/16/08 Midwest Freestyle Championships Water 10:00 am to 4:30 pm

Midwest Freestyle Event List:

Freestyle events:

Big change to this event this year is women will be allowed to enter the K-1 beginner, intermediate and expert categories. We made this decision because there are not enough women paddlers to have separate skill levels within the women’s division and we want to give less experienced female boaters a chance to win a division. Scoring is based on best of 2 – 1 minute rides.

Team Event for MWFC:

The big change to this event in “09” will be that the teams will be chosen at random. Teams will be selected Saturday night at the VFW video showing.

Team consists of three registered boaters. Competitors must participate in individual events to qualify for team eligibility. The team with the highest score wins. There are no classes, any and all mixed boat, gender and age groups are allowed to complete a team. All boaters must pre-register and pay event fees prior to Saturday 15th for eligibility.

Team Rodeo Scoring:

Standard rodeo scoring applies. Team competes as a three member team. Each team member must enter the wave or hole feature. Each team has 2 minutes and the score of one run is used for point totals. Again there will only be an award for 1st in this event.


Top three winners in each event will receive the following, Gold Belt buckle 1st place, Silver Belt Buckle 2nd place and Bronze for 3rd place. The team event will only have an award for 1st place, 3 Gold belt buckles will be awarded to the top team.

Please see the park home page for the 2009 rodeo scoring trick sheet.

Boatercross Event:

All boaters to line up out of the water with boats near the start line. We will send 5 boaters at a time into the water to race. The winner of the heat must line back up immediately. You must use the same boat you compete with in the other events. If you are not competing in the freestyle event only river running and freestyle boats are allowed.

Other event notes.

Bring a water bottle. We will have a cooler full of Gatorade to fill your bottles. We will not be providing any bottled beverages.
Free Camping next to the Whitewater Park (no camp fires allowed).

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