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Saturday, June 12, 1999 -- Harpers Ferry
1st Annual Tim Gavin Downriver Race
Story and photos by Marty Lamp

[Coverage] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3] [Results]

Tim Gavin
Downstream of Bull Falls
On Saturday, the 1st Annual Tim Gavin Downriver Race brought together over 50 paddlers for a race down the historic Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. Tim Gavin was a top notch paddler who learned many of his skills on this section of whitewater, running from Millville to just downstream of Harpers Ferry. Gavin was tragically taken from us while paddling the Upper Blackwater, an unforgiving section of class V-VI whitewater that he knew well, and had paddled many times before.

The Millville gauge was reading about 1.5 feet just before the race, bringing an unending amount of rocks to the surface, and making subtle water reading skills crucial. Holes were scarce, except for Bull Falls and Whitehorse Rapid, and so were clean lines, but with over 6 miles to paddle, adrenalin would not be a problem.

Tim Gavin
Punching the hole at Bull Falls
Leading the majority of the race and taking the overall win was Harpers Ferry local Kevin O'Neil(53:58). O'Neil was paddling an ocean touring kayak, making the good lines all that much smaller, and right behind him was Josh Marshall(54:02), who was the only other paddler in the Wildwater division. Mike Moore(54:28) took the win for the K-1 Fiberglass division, finishing 3rd overall, while Chuck Dunkerly(58:02) was the first plastic kayak to cross the finish line.

For the women, Nissa Thomsen(1:00:33) was the overall winning female paddling K-1 fiberglass, and right behind her was Lisa O'Berry(1:01:19) who was paddling K-1 plastic. Dave Bruboch(1:01:34) did some impressive paddling to take the win for C-1 open canoes.

After the race, everyone headed to The Cliffside Inn for an incredible food buffet, which was followed by an award ceremony and and auction that let some paddling gear go for unbelievably low prices. Paddling videos were playing, and everyone seemed to be smiling and enjoying the day. Thanks must go to Kevin Benson for making this event possible. It was the perfect way to remember the life of a paddler, husband, father, and friend who will never be forgotten.