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I just finished reading EJ post, Life and Sturgis all wrapped together… into Life- an essay and Kick off to an epic week! and found myself reflecting back on his thoughts and on my summer. Coincidentally, EJ started his Sturgis ride in Lewiston, Idaho where I work as a raft guide for my family. I was just off the river as he rode out of town. I wished I could have witnesses it. No doubt, I would have found it just as exciting as his rides at Kelly’s Whitewater Park in Cascade, Idaho. I was able to watch all the paddlers raise the bar in freestyle kayaking while competing and directing the Kelly’s with my husband Mike Hicks. Becoming co-director happened in route to the Bureau River.

The first of May I was driving to the Bureau River to paddle for the weekend when the benefactor of Kelly’s called me. I was just finishing 9 months of a new teaching assignment, Jr. High English, and was anxiously awaiting summer break. We were given the opportunity to co-direct Kelly’s. I needed summer break, but was excited to direct a park and give back to freestyle kayaking.

We hit the ground running, as there was so much work to do for the park and in preparation for USA Freestyle Kayak Nationals. I have a tendency to worry about my routine, which translates into me over training. My training time was reduced but this ended up being just what I needed. We competed on the top feature, one that I did not train on at 2,000 cfs as I was not comfortable with the size of the hole while training alone. Once again, EJ showed me where to do the tricks and stayed in the water with me one early morning as I trained.

His advice rang in my ears, “no hesitation, just do your tricks.” It worked. I had a great final ride with my friends and family watching and a ladybug charm from Ruth Gordon-Ebens in my pocket. I hit all of my moves without flushing. My space Godzilla and air loop went huge, but the next space Godzilla- I landed on my head. No worries as I just kept ticking off my list. At the final horn blast I waved to everyone and caught EJ cheering for me. I had hit my ride, truly the best feeling ever. Alec Voorhees greeted me first at the water with open arms and a big smile.

I would like to personally thank all of the competitors for supporting Kelly’s. Jason Craig brought tears to my eyes each time he dropped into the wave. Jason, you are an amazing person.

The morning after Nationals Brent LaFay, Troy Wilson (1st place open class at Nationals), and I began Kelly’s Kayak School. You can see photos and articles at . Three weeks of teaching zoomed by and I found myself raft guiding on the Salmon River. At the end of the raft-guiding season I will fly to the first and second World Cups in Tennessee. My “summer break” ends before the third event.

I hope to see many of you there. I’ll have DVDs in hand from Nationals at Kelly’s to handout. Hopefully, that will keep me from over training. We hope to see all of you again next year and many new faces in Idaho. June 21-23 will be the Idaho International Championships at Kelly’s Whitewater Park. All the details will be on the DVD but I’ll let you in on the increase of the purse to $25,000 with money for open, Jr. and SUP classes! The DVD is full of rides, photos, and athlete scholarship information for the event.

Summer break? Well, I did not have a break but I did have an amazing time and feel honored to have so many paddlers visiting Idaho.

Heading to Kelly’s to surf top feature at 2300 cfs. They just increased the flow! Want to join me?