Kayaking — or boating, as enthusiasts say — brings people together. “It’s the best of everything,” said Tim Kunin of Denver. “When I got into kayaking, I found that everyone welcomes you …
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Kayaking — or boating, as enthusiasts say — brings people together.
“It’s the best of everything,” said Tim Kunin of Denver. “When I got into kayaking, I found that everyone welcomes you with opened arms. Boating forms a special bond that you don’t get with every sport.”
Kunin was one of about 20 Colorado Whitewater members who competed on June 26 in this year’s first event of the Golden Community Rodeo Series. Put on by Colorado Whitewater, the series is in its 18th year and takes place annually at the Clear Creek Whitewater Park in Golden.
The June 26 event was a kayak rodeo — when competitors perform tricks for points — and the second and final event of this year’s series will be a downriver race on July 10.
Dani Barna of Golden who is pursuing a master’s degree in math and statistics from the Colorado School of Mines has been boating for about 10 years.
“But I’ve never done anything like this before,” she said. “The freestyle is new to me. It’s super fun.”
Golden Community Rodeo Series competitions welcomes competitors of all skill levels, with the exception of pros. It is free to compete, but all competitors must be a current Colorado Whitewater member for insurance purposes. The kayak rodeo competition is for kayakers, but the fun downriver race is for all river sport devices, including canoes and stand-up paddleboards.
The city of Golden always welcomes the event, said organizer David Holzman. Holzman added that he is grateful for the city’s willingness to be efficient and accommodating, year after year.
Golden River Sports, one of the main sponsors of the event, believes it’s important to support the boating community, said the shop’s owner Bart Pinkham.
“Local events are great for the community,” he said. Plus, “it’s just plain fun.”
It is free for anybody to come and watch the Golden Community Rodeo Series events, Holzman said, and the competitors enjoy having the crowd there to support them.
A crew of 16-year-old Max Ryan’s family members came out to watch him compete on June 26 — both his parents, brother, grandparents, uncle and cousin. His mother, Emmy, who lives in Golden, added she feels lucky that her children have the opportunity to participate in “such a fun sport.”
“Colorado Whitewater has done some great things for the kids,” she said. The organization teaches them safety and gets them to challenge themselves while “keeping a positive attitude.”
Daniel Glauser of Denver has been boating for more than 20 years and enjoys being a Colorado Whitewater member because the organization’s “sole purpose is to help people enjoy the beauty of Colorado’s rivers,” he said.
On June 26, Glauser was volunteering at the competition as a safety person/rescuer and to take pictures as a skilled photographer.
“I like the places that (boating) can take me,” Glauser said as he picked up his kayak to get ready for his turn on the river after the competition concluded. “The view from the river is always the best.”
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