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On Friday evening of May 17th the river community came back together to continue the good times of NoliFest with the rescheduled gorge GO FAST event called #BeatNightFall! Extreme high water flows and safety concerns caused the event to be postponed during the festival in April. However, thanks to the great crew at USA Raft the community was able to rally for this now annual event a few weeks later with perfect weather!

The BoaterX had lots of fast action in the 8 mile enduro style course down the Nolichucky Gorge. There were a total of 25 athletes in the 2nd annual event. The river level was 1,625 CFS, which was a good medium flow for the run from Popular, NC to USA Raft Outpost near Erwin, TN (The site of NoliFest). The GO FAST event was a mass start at the put-in and first one down to the USA Raft landing was the winner! The real interesting part of the event was the BoaterX did not start till late in the evening at 7:16 PM, so athletes only had about an hour and a half to complete the course before the ran out of daylight.

Athlete’s spirits were high and motivated to go fast when the countdown went down on a unpredictable start. Then a huge wake in the start pool was created with the mass start launch! The bump and run technique was employed often as athletes jostled for positions down the course and trying to find faster lines to make passes.

The winning time ended up going sub 1 hour this year setting a new course record and everyone finished the course before darkness set in for the night. As the competitors reached the finish line they were greeted by cheers of a Girl Scout camping group and a crowd that had amassed at USA Raft to help them finish strong! Good times, good times!!

Men’s K-1 Class:
1. Adam Herzog 0:57
2. Curtis England 0:57
3. Chris Gragtmans 0:58
4. Ryan Horn 0:59
5. Brett Mayer 0:59
6. Drew Austell 0:59
7. Mike Patterson 0:59
8. Marcelo Galizio 1:00
9. Wesley Bradley 1:00
10. Will Amos 1:01
11. Cody Robinson 1:01
12. Kevin Drury 1:02
13. Bryce Wilcox 1:03
14. Ben Armbruster 1:03
15. Stokes Lyles 1:04
16. Eli Dowler 1:05
17. Chapin Mohney 1:05
18. Eric Young 1:06
19. Daniel Morris 1:06
20. Woody Calloway 1:06
21. Josh Dalton (short boat) 1:06

Women’s K-1 Class:
1. Amy Register 1:14
2. Andrea Gass 1:15

SUP Class:
1. Dale Swanson 1:22

Inflatable Class:
1. Cpt. Michael Crooks 1:22

In typical Matt Moses and USA Raft Style the event ended with a nice throw together after party with good fellowship, cold beverages provided by USA Raft and the awards ceremony with a few prizes from USA Raft.

This guy right here is the local river hero for sure and who truly embodies NoliFest! 🙂