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On Friday evening of April 16th the river community gathered to continue the good times of “Not” NoliFest although the festival was cancelled again due to ongoing pandemic concerns. Matt and I both agreed that our whitewater community could safely host the event again and it was well received. This fourth annual event was another fresh breath of air in many ways for all who joined!

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 participating in the event and we were blessed with beautiful weather. The river level was 1,800 CFS (medium level), which is the highest flow rate we’ve had for this event starting from Popular, NC to USA Raft Outpost near Erwin, TN.

This GO FAST event was a mass start at the put-in and the first paddler down to the USA Raft landing was the winner! Another challenge in this BoaterX event was it did not start till late in the evening at 6:55 PM, so athletes only had about two hours to complete the course before daylight was gone.

Athlete’s spirits were high and motivated to go fast when the 3..2..1 countdown went down for the start. Then a huge wake was created with the mass launch! The “bump and run” technique was employed often as athletes jostled for positions down the course while trying to find faster lines to make passes.

This year’s winning time by Mike Patterson & Bruce Poacher in a tandem kayak tied the current course record of 57 minutes set back in 2019 by Adam Herzog. Everyone finished the course before darkness set in for the night, but is was close for a few… As the competitors reached the finish line they were greeted by cheers from the crowd that had amassed at USA Raft to help them finish strong! Good times, good times!!

K-2 Class:
1. Michael Patterson & Bruce Poacher 0:57

Men’s K-1 Class:
2. Adam Herzog 0:58
3. Curtis England 0:59
4. Brett Mayer 0:59
5. Chris Gragtmans 1:00
6. Jason McClure 1:01
7. Matt Dalton 1:01
8. Will Amos 1:02
9. Jordan Finte 1:02
10. Ben Warf 1:02
12. Scott Darby 1:04
13. Wesley Bradley 1:04
15. Coleman Churitch 1:16 (short boat)
16. Ashley Brennan 1:19 (short boat)
17. Brad Eldridge 1:21
18. Russ Fauver 1:22 (short boat)
19. Ryan Shealy 1:24 (short boat)
21. Mike Knapp 1:26 (short boat)
25. Eric Mueller

Women’s K-1 Class:
11. Elizabeth Lockemer 1:02
14. Sonya Korabelnikova 1:14

SUP Class:
20. Andy Hinton & Chris Morgan 1:25 (SUP Duo)
22. Dale Swanson 1:29
23. Lela Winton 1:30
24. Brett Morrow 1:31

Big thanks to our finish line judges: Katy Miller & Kelly Coladen!

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

Cheers to hopefully hosting this event with NoliFest back in full action next year!!

Photos by Jess Christian & David Wood