Cody Beach Wins as Gore Fest Celebrates 30th Anniversary


Life’s a beach for Cody Beach, who bested all other boaters in the longboat class to take this year’s coveted Gore Canyon race with a winning time of 20:21. Spencer Huff took second 42 seconds back at 21:03, followed by perennial Tree Race winner Tommy Hilleke at 21:08.

In the short boat race, which saw a record number of entrants, Mathieum Dumoulin took the top spot at 21: 44, followed by Beach 20 seconds back at 232:04. But he was quick to give props to Beach for both his first and second place finishes.

“Props to Cody Beast for being the actual winner of this event with a second place in short boat and a first place in the long boat category,” he said. “I’ll definitely be on double duty next year!”

Riley Frank took third in the short boat class at 22:11.

It was a raucous weekend all around, as this year’s Gore Canyon Festival, a benefit for American Whitewater, drew a near-record throng to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

“American Whitewater was honored to present the 30th Gore Canyon race this weekend,” says organizer and AW Southern Rockies Stewardship Director Hattie Johnson. “The event offered paddle boarding, freestyle, and family friendly events for all to join in this celebration of the Upper Colorado River and AW’s work to protect this amazing resource.”

One of the premiere whitewater events in Colorado, the weekend focused around the Class V downriver race through Gore Canyon on the Upper Colorado River, before the revelry headed downstream to a raging bash at Rancho del Rio.

The next day’s events were little mellower, including a family fun float through Class II/III Hartman Canyon (aka Little Gore Canyon), a freestyle rodeo at the Gore Canyon Whitewater Park, and SUP downriver and cross races. Festival amenities, including camping, food, and entertainment, were located at Rancho del Rio, 10 miles downstream of the BLM’s Pumphouse Recreation Site.

American Whitewater is heavily invested in the protection of the Colorado and actively participates in long-term streamflow protection through the BLM, and Forest Service management planning, and played a critical role in securing the Gore Canyon whitewater park’s Recreational In-Channel Diversion (RICD), which gives boating flows on the Colorado River legal protection under State water law.

American Whitewater presented the Gore Festival to celebrate this beautiful place it works hard to protect, and as an opportunity for paddlers, industry, and partners to enjoy and support its cooperative stewardship efforts. While the Gore Race was the main event, the weekend now offers freestyle rodeo events, a SUP cross and downriver race, and a family float. Registration includes a one-year American Whitewater membership and entrance into a great raffle, race t-shirt, and live music on Saturday night after the Gore Race.

Weekend preview info: 

Gore Race: The starting line is standard, at the gear up rock at the top of Fisherman’s Nightmare. The finish line is at the bottom of Kirschbaum. Mandatory pre-race meeting at 8:00am at Rancho del Rio (4199 Trough Road Bond, CO 80423), shuttles to the put-in leave at 8:30am sharp. Please load your gear onto the shuttle prior to the race meeting. Safety and Rules The 5 mile stretch of the Colorado River that makes up the race course consists of class IV/V rapids. There will be safety set at all major rapids for this course. Racers should be proficient class IV/V paddlers. All racers must check in with race officials at the finish line regardless of completing the course. Participants will be required to wear a PFD, helmet, and protective footwear. Athletes should arrive at Rancho del Rio by 7 AM to go through gear check, sign the American Canoe Association Insurance and Liability Waiver, and attend the pre-race meeting. The race will begin at noon, long boats first. Kayakers will start with 1 minute intervals. Rafts will start at 2 minute intervals after all hard boats. If you are planning on racing both long and short boat, you need to provide your own shuttle in between laps.


Long Boat K-1 (longer than 9’)

Short Boat K-1 (shorter or equal 9’)

Rafts (All rafts will be in the same category.)

Stand Up Paddle Cross at Pumphouse (11’ board maximum): This is a Stand Up Paddle Battle Royal on the Colorado River From Launch 1-2. Multiple heats through the new whitewater feature with multiple obstacles to navigate. SUP cross will start at 3pm on Saturday at Pumphouse. Shuttles will bring competitors from Rancho del Rio to Pumphouse and back. Shuttles will begin to run around 12pm on Saturday to get racers up to Pumphouse for practice runs. The 3pm start will allow Gore racers who want to compete time to get to Pumphouse.

Downriver Stand Up Paddle Sprint (11’ board maximum) from Pumphouse: Back with a new white water focused race format is the Gore Fest downriver SUP race. Racers will battle it out over the 1.4 mile course of class II rapids. The race will start in the flatwater immediately above the canyon entrance of the Pumphouse section. Racers will zip through the Eye of the Needle rapid all while trying to stay ahead of their peers. With a climatic finish at the river right beach above the hot springs.


Sunday August 26 at Noon (Race Start) Pre-race meeting at 11:00 AM at Pumphouse Boat Ramp Safety and Rules The 1.4 mile stretch of the Colorado River that makes up the race course consists of class II rapids, with one class II+ rapid being the Eye of the Needle Rapid. There will not be set safety for this course and racers should be proficient class II/III paddlers. All racers must check in with race officials at the finish line regardless of completing the course. Participants will be required to wear a PFD, helmet, and protective footwear. Ankle leashes for SUP participants are not allowed, and all leashes must be releasable. Athletes should arrive at the Pumphouse Boat Ramp by 10:45 AM to go through gear check, sign the American Canoe Association Insurance and Liability Waiver, and attend the pre-race meeting. The races are run in a mass start from a starting line 50 feet upstream of the beginning of the rapids above the Eye of the Needle Rapid. All racers will start at the same time.

Categories: Men’s SUP; Women’s SUP Racer’s are responsible for their own ride to Pumphouse. We will provide a shuttle from Radium to Pumphouse after the race. Location: While the race will start at noon at the flatwater 50 feet upstream of the beginning of the rapids. Racers and race officials will float down to the starting line, starting at approximately 11:15 am. There are normally sand bars and beaches directly upstream of the starting line for participants to congregate prior to the noon start time. The first racer to finish by crossing the plane between the rock upstream of the Radium Hot Springs and the northern shore will be crowned the winner. Participants will line up in the order of their finish on the north shore 50 feet downstream and across from the hot springs until race officials have marked them safe and recorded their finishing positions.

Volunteers are needed to assist with the event. Gore Fest relies on the help of its dedicated volunteers to run a fun and safe event for everyone. We are currently recruiting volunteers to help with parking & event setup, race registration, entrance gate personnel, and the Green Team (aka waste management). Volunteers will receive free entrance to the event grounds, a free Gore Fest 2018 T-Shirt, and a TON of river karma. Volunteers that commit at least 6 hours of time will be entered into an AWESOME volunteer raffle.

Camping: Camping is included in your $10 entrance fee to Rancho del Rio. Trailer/RV camping is available, but there are no hook ups. Dogs are allowed at Rancho, but please pick up after them. If you are racing or paddling the river all day please find someone to look after your dog. There is little shade and no dog sitters at Rancho. There will be food trucks on Saturday night for dinner. There is no running water on site. Campfires are only allowable in designated fire pit and if local fire restrictions allow. Please pack out your trash or place in a receptacle on site. Cabins are available for rent from Rancho del Rio, but entry into the Event is not included.

Spectating: There will be shuttles available for boaters wishing to spectate the Gore Race from the canyon. The shuttle is free. Please make sure all safety team members and racers have space on the shuttle before spectators load boats. There is access into the canyon on the Gore Canyon trail located at the BLM’s Pumphouse Recreation Area. The trail is difficult. It is an approximately 2 mile hike over same rocky terrain to get to the finish line of the race. Hike in spectators can hike as far as Toilet Bowl rapid before a cliff makes it impossible to move upstream. There will be no rafts available to shuttle hikers across the river. Multiple events, such as the SUP Cross (3pm Saturday August 25th) and the freestyle kayak (11am Sunday August 26th) are located at the Gore Canyon Whitewater Park at Pumphouse. There is an accessible overlook and steps and a boulder terrace for onlookers. No shuttles will be provided to Pumphouse for spectators. It is approximately a 15 minute drive from Rancho del Rio to Pumphouse.

Schedule: Friday August 24, 2018 6 pm – 8 pm Late Event Registration (All Events) at Rancho del Rio 8 pm River Film Screenings Saturday August 25, 2018 8 am Competitor Safety Meeting – MANDATORY for all racers. 8:30am – 12pm Shuttles to Blue River confluence put-in for racers and spectators. 12 pm Downriver Gore Race Starts. 3 pm SUP Cross starts at Pumphouse. 7 pm Live Music – StrayGrass! 8 pm Awards Ceremony 9 pm more music! Sunday August 26, 2018 11 am Kayak freestyle at Pumphouse wave 12 pm Downriver SUP race starts.