Salida: 64th Annual First In Boating on the Arkansas (FIBArk) races June 14 – 17

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From The Mountain Mail:

At the request of Colorado State Parks and Arkansas River Outfitters Association, Chaffee County commissioners unanimously agreed to delay placement of a call for water under its boating park water rights until the day before FIBArk. The decision was made at a special meeting May 18.

Because of low snowpack and runoff, the Bureau of Reclamation, in consultation with the Southeastern Water Conservancy District, has been exchanging water from Pueblo Reservoir back to Twin Lakes and Turquoise reservoirs. The increased storage will allow for greater releases of water later in the summer under the Voluntary Flow Management Program that will also benefit boating parks.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Tracy Harmon):

The 64th annual New Belgium Brewing-sponsored FIBArk event should draw more than 25,000 people to downtown Salida to witness the races, hear music, eat exotic foods and shop among the arts and craft booths. Events will kick off Thursday with a pancake breakfast, Pine Creek Boater X competition, a raft sprint and raft rodeo.

The festival will again offer some cutting-edge Stand Up Paddling events which sort of meld surfing with paddling. The sport has exploded in popularity in recent years because it gives veteran river rats a way to rediscover the adventure in calmer sections of river. A demonstration of the sport is slated for 5 p.m. Thursday at the Salida Whitewater Park.

This year a Triple Crown challenge will allow athletes to vie for the king or queen title by entering all three stand-up paddling events, including the 1 p.m. Friday freestyle during which contestants can express their creative side and wow the crowd; the 1:30 p.m. June 16 cross event which matches four paddlers in a short sprint race; and the 10:30 a.m. June 17 10-mile downriver endurance race.

Also on tap during the weekend will be freestyle, slalom, rafting competitions and more. Those who aren’t boaters can enjoy the carnival, a 10 a.m. June 16 parade, daily live music performances, foot races, bicycle races and even the 9:30 a.m. June 17 Chain-Drain disc golf tournament to be held in Poncha Springs.

One of the highlights of the weekend is the 5:30 p.m. June 16 hooligan race which brings together a bunch of silly homemade boats and their adventurous crews aiming to be the first across the finish line.

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