From the Chaffee County Times (Kathy Davis):
Buena Vista PaddleFest May 22-25 is one of the few whitewater festivals in the world and is open to people of all interests who can watch or participate in demonstrations, educational classes, a pro rodeo competition and a number of social events. PaddleFest is anticipated to draw about 1,000 people over the Memorial Day weekend…
But if the interest is not whitewater boating, something new this year is the very popular SUP – Stand up Paddling, a flat-water clinic. This new sport, a combination of surfing and canoeing, will be demonstrated at Town Lake in McPhelemy Park on Saturday and Sunday.
At the PaddleFest Pro Rodeo competitions, world champion professional paddlers run the waves in the playholes in the Arkansas River near Buena Vista River Park. Kayakers are judged based on the ability to perform high-end, free-style maneuvers in the whitewater playholes in Buena Vista Whitewater Park. Preliminary competitions are Friday afternoon and finals are on Sunday afternoon. Some of the top paddlers coming for the pro rodeo are Erick and Emily Jackson, Stephen Wright and Brian Kirk. Local kayakers Dustin and Katie Urban are running the pro rodeo and Katie Urban’s brother, Jed Selby, is competing. A series of free clinics, seminars and demonstrations both on and off the water are offered. The free clinics may be something to introduce beginners to the sport and how to prepare for kayaking. Dryland river rescue courses are offered for safety around or on the water. Professionals teach all the classes, Richmond said. The women’s specific courses are taught by women for women. People wanting to participate may sign up in advance for the classes or the day of the festival.