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On and off for the last 13 years, I have been competing at Tarifville Gorge on the Farmington River in different incarnations of kayaking events. The Farmington river was the first place I paddled on the East Coast back when I was in medical school 18 years ago, and I have been coming back there ever since and paddling with some of the same people I met on my first day of paddling there back in 1996 such as Dave Saaf! When I was in medical school, T’Ville was my paddling refuge so it does have a special place in my heart.

The kayaking competition has always been a great grass roots event with lots of local support. Six years ago, it became the T’Ville Triple Crown/ New England Championships – a really fun two-day event where each competitor paddles in three different disciplines – downriver racing, slalom, and freestyle – each day. It was the brainchild of Jamie McEwan and Andy Kuhlberg, and is a great test of a variety of paddling skills and definitely ensures that you will sleep well after each day of competing. Its one of the only events where all kinds of paddlers from different specialties show up to participate head to head. The first day of competition each event is judged separately and the top competitors move on the paddle again the next day – doing all the same events again but this time the overall Triple Crown Winner is chosen as a cumulative winner from the total of all events for the second day.

Because there are three events that happen each day for two days – there is also an army of volunteers who come out to make it all happen. Its always heartening to see so many people who love paddling, the river, and the area come out to make everything run like clockwork. Another unique part of this event is the awards. Event organizer Andy Kuhlberg goes out of his way to make unique and special awards from the river itself – often these come in the form of rocks or pieces of tree trunk but they are always great mementos from the area. Andy is also a potter and does also make some great mugs and cups – maybe we’ll see those as awards one of these years too!

Despite freezing temperatures before the event and uncertain water levels, the weekend of April 12th and 13th turned out to be beautiful and warm. The water levels proved to be just right too. Andy Kuhlberg even got to compete this year for the first time after 5 years of organizing and supporting the Triple Crown. Junior local paddlers Caitlyn Green and David Silk both paddled very well and represented what the future of kayaking looks like for their hometown crowd. Emily Jackson and Nick Troutman had the support of baby Tucker, and Danny Stock also had the support of his wife Vaso and daughter Nyada for every event! It was definitely a family affair and that’s definitely how the Triple Crown feels in general which is one of its best selling points, so next year, if you want to enjoy a weekend full of paddling and fun, come to the T’Ville Triple Crown!