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The GoPro Mountain Games are over. The largest outdoor action sports event of its kind and its held every year right here in my county. It draws in the greatest paddlers, climbers, runners, bikers, slackliners and other action sports athletes in the World. And not only the best athletes but its also a massive gathering of the best outdoor gear manufacturers. We see 10’s of thousands of visitors, big parties, live music and some of the most intense head to head competitions imaginable. Its as awesome as it gets.

And every year I look forward to competing in and announcing many of the events as it allows me to get up close to the action as well as revisit so many friends I only see this weekend every year. But for the 2014 Games I had been looking forward to some additional river runs down Gore creek with two of the most special people I know of, Campbell and Sterling. The beauty of the GoPro Games is that although it hosts the highest level of competition it also affords every level of athlete the chance to get after it. And these two kids are no different.

Sterling lives with and overcomes cerebral palsy and Campbell has overcome countless health issues that not only restrict his ability to eat but also breath. Without going into much details these beautiful young men have overcome what would put many on the sidelines. They have battled what seem to be overwhelming odds and refuse to give up. And they do it all with a smile. Their families have dealt with things that would break your heart yet they love endlessly. It is an inspiration. As a parent myself I am in total admiration as to how their mothers and fathers have committed to making enormous sacrafices and embody the truest spirit of unconditional love.

So while all the best athletes were in town I found the greatest moments of the Games on our little creek that runs through town. Both Sterling and Campbell’s parents allowed me to take their incredible sons down the river in the front of my tandem dynamic duo. And while we did not have the fastest times or take home a medal it was hands down the most rewarding moment we could ask for. I have always been hyper competitive but these two reminded me that its not always about winning. Its about enjoying and sharing. And as paddlers we are fortunate to have so many wonderful experiences and memories from our lives on the water. But lets remember when we have the chance to share it with those that will benefit the most from it, do it. They will love it and you will be rewarded far more than standing at the top of any podium.