Share |

Saturday, April 5, 2003 - Sunday, April 6, 2003 -- Webster Springs, WV
Webster Wildwater Weekend River Festival & Race (iPO Event Id#: 5476)
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]
[1999 Coverage] [2000 Coverage] [2001 Coverage] [2002 Coverage]

Crashing the waves at Webster
The storms cleared the area through the night, and by the start of Saturday's downriver race the sun was shinning on a gorgeous early spring day. Boaters of all types and abilities came out to test and improve their skills on a 5-mile stretch of class II & III whitewater on the Elk River. And this was just the beginning of the weekend-long fun at the 5th annual Webster Wildwater Weekend.

Starting at noon on Saturday, a fleet of kayaks, canoes, rafts, duckies, and all assortment of river boats sat in the Elk River with their sites set on the finish in Webster five miles down stream. Staggering the start into groups of like boats, there was soon a wave of paddles and oars stroking the water in an effort to get to the best lines as fast as possible.

Race Pic
Doin' the tandem raft
The conditions were good with higher water levels than the previous year. That was the year that Kim Casto needed every second to gain a second place finish in 42:06. This year Casto was able to pick up even more speed on his way down river and found himself in Webster in just 36:33. Good enough for a first place overall finish.

Using shorter boats, Ken Cooper (39:20) was able to edge Justin Simmons (39:45) for second overall. Finding the finish at 41:47, for an 8th place overall finish was Mindy Freeman, the fastest female on the day.

There were plenty more awards up for grabs in classes from parent/child canoe tandems to sit-on-top kayaks. And in the battle for the coveted "Webster Cup", with teams of four taking on the river in rafts, it was the co-ed team of Inflatable Egos (52:38) out handling The Local Boys (58:17).

Race Pic
Teamwork in the slalom course
With all the boats finding their way to the finish, many headed back up to the put-in and gave it another shot. It was just that much fun!

For those that sill had more competitive spirit to burn, it was soon time for the 3:00 pm slalom race. While we don't have any official results for you, we can tell you that it was a delight for the spectator's as well as participants. From any vantage point on the banks, you could witness everyone's entire run through the gated course. And the biggest cheers were probably heard for the tandem canoes and their displays of precision teamwork as they finessed their way through the gates.

As the late afternoon wind picked up, the crowds settled down as some rested up for the big Saturday night party. Beginning at 8:00 pm, race participants and their guests headed to the indoor bonfire at Camp Caesar for an evening of live music, prize give-a-ways, river videos, food, drink & fun!

Race Pic
Showing off a little dexterity
We were told by some that last year's party had only one shortcoming. Rumor has it that the keg went dry a little earlier than some revelers would have wished. The race organizers, in recognition of the continued growth of the annul event, told us that this was not going to happen this year. They ensured us that they had doubled the keg supply just to be sure no one ends the night feeling dry.

As we must imagine, "wet and wild" is how these folks like it! But let's not forget to be responsible folks. Because on this first day of the Webster Wildwater Weekend, and every day for that matter, there's always more fun to be had tomorrow.

Race Pic
Who makes this fun possible?
A special thanks go out to all those folks that helped make another great Webster Wildwater Weekend possible:

Prize Donors:

  • Webster Memorial Fitness Center, Webster Springs, WV
  • United National Bank, Webster Springs, WV
  • First Community Bank, Upperglade, WV
  • Twin Oaks cabin rentals, Webster Springs, WV
  • G & R IGA Grocery Store, Webster Springs, WV
  • Northwest River Supply Inc, Moscow, ID
  • Beauty Mountain Sports, Lansing, WV
  • Glass Works, Weston, WV
Vital services:
  • West Virginia Wildwater Association
  • Webster County Watershed Association
  • Webster County Chamber of Commerce
Festival Directors:
  • Mike Surbaugh
  • Jim Casey
  • Geary Weir
  • and all their helpful volunteers!