httd32 Hometown Throwdown #3 came and went this past Saturday and it was an incredible event.  We set a personal record at the event with 33 participants signed up for the “competition” and another 30-40 spectators on the bank.  As usual we set up the “DJ Booth”, had some demo kayaks available from Ouachita Outdoor Outfitters and had a great time.  For this Throwdown we were actually able to have a kids only heat.  Of course before we get into any other results, it should be noted that all 5 of the kids that participated WON the entire throwdown.   There were kids in kayaks, on boogie boards, and some who were even getting the “parade” treatment by riding on the back of a kayak.  Whatever their mode of transportation, the Kids were the highlight of the show, and by the end of our little event the bank, eddies, and waves were full of kids playing.  Said Cowper Chadbourn in a recent post on the Arkansas Canoe Club message board about the event and its impact on our local community,

” For me, the moment when I realized how important it was came shortly after the event, as I was slowly being pulled by the eddy towards my turn to surf the wave. The eddy ahead was full of kids, one or two in kayaks, several on boogey boards. Along the sidewalk, and just above the ledge, several more were scrambling for a turn to swim through the rapid. All were smiling, all were having a great time. And I realized there will be another generation of people who love the rivers and love the outdoors.

This is what Rockport and events like this give us; an environment where old and young can play together; where kids don’t need $1000 of specialized gear to enjoy the day without freezing to death, where they can play and enjoy with others of their own age, but with parents and other adults close by to assist if there is any trouble. Where parents can introduce their kids to the sport they love, but in little doses so that if the kid gets scared, you can have them on the bank and feeling safe again in a minute, vs. having to tell a young mind to “suck it up” and run another 5 miles of river. (Sometimes adults need to hear that message, but it is generally not the best way to get a kid, especially a really young one, to love the river.) Where kids can play the way I used to play; without the aid of a gameboy or electronic controller. Where love of the environment gets inside of you and becomes part of who you are.”

httd31 And I couldn’t have said it better myself.  A local news crew led by kayaker and W.K. ambassador James Robison even showed up to cover the event on a new segment highlighting Arkansas’s outdoor opportunities.  By the end of the event, I think even the camera man was itching to get in a kayak and try out some surfing.  Young, old, experienced, novice, expert, boater, non-boater, open-boater, kayaker, or any combination of the above can enjoy events like Hometown Throwdown.  The point being not to “win” a kayak rodeo, but to enjoy a day hanging out with friends and family.  In Arkansas our kayaking community is like a big family and what better way to enjoy the summer than to get together once a month and have a “family reunion”.  Without WorldKayak.com and the sponsors of Hometown Throwdown, I would venture to say that our summers here in Arkansas would be a lot less exciting and our community of boaters a lot smaller.

Here’s another example of how our kiddos were enjoying Hometown Throwdown…[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/26326834[/vimeo]  Big thanks to Maggie Powell, Jennie Faircloth, and Harlan Hughes for their video and picture help.

Now then….On to the results, such as they are just a little gag to tie the whole thing together

1st Place 5 way tie!  (110 pts.)  Taylor Muse, Jerry Hale, Avery Hillis, Gage Keener, Stephanie Russell, and Bryce Kingrey

2nd Place (105 pts.):   Jason Mellor

3rd Place 2 way tie (100 pts.):  Chris Handley (OPEN BOAT) Scott Hanshaw

4th Place 3 way tie (95 pts.): Lance Jones, Grant Mathews, Jordan Byrum

5th Place 2 way tie (90 pts): Richard Lancaster, Garrett Mathews

6th Place 4 way tie (85 pts): Harlan Hughes, Joe Tarver, Sabrina Mellor, Cole Mullican (OPEN BOAT)

7th Place 6 way tie (80 pts): Carl Griffith, Diane Cheshier, Kristi Cox, Casey McIntire, Paul Cox, Rodney Mathews

8th Place 6 way tie (75 pts): Joe Goodwin, Tim Muse, Mike Gersch, Gannon White, James Robison, Maggie Powell

9th Place (70 pts): Mike Hillis

10th Place (65 pts) Chris Connell