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Monday, September 22, 2008 -- Summersville, WV / Summersville Dam
The ANIMAL Upper Gauley Race (iPO Event Id#: 11236)

[Details] [Coverage] [Photos] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]

Coverage: [1998] [1999] [2000] [2001] [2004] [2005] [2006] [2007]

Photos by J.R. Petsko with story by Race Director, Donnie Hudspeth

Animal Gauley - photo by JR Petsko
Top US racers compete on the Gauley
Monday, September 22nd was a special day.

It was the first day of fall, the day the sun shines directly on the equator. It is a sign that the season is changing. In West Virginia it is certainly the same. Weather turns cooler and drier, we have the early morning fog, early changing leaves, and nice cool nights and mornings. It is a wonderful time of year isn't it?

Sound like Gauley Season to you?

Monday here in WV was a classic "Bluebird" beautiful Fall day. We had the early fog so typical of this time of year, plus the nice fog on the water of the Gauley River too. The temps were cool!

When we showed up at the base of the dam to get set up for THE RACE, there was one person there waiting to register. Her first words were "Can I help you guys set up?" I though, "Wow, how nice!" As it turned out her name was Susan Hollingsworth and not only was she nice, she was also FAST! She turned out to be the Fastest Overall Woman with the fastest time!

The Fastest Overall Man was Mark Hamilton. Not a newbie to racing on the Gauley; Mark is also a former Olympian. Many familiar faces raced that day, plus some new ones that I am sure we will see again.

Animal Gauley - photo by JR Petsko
Shouting commands at Pillow Rock Rapid
The Raft Team Category was big this year with several participating teams and some great competition. But the first boat across the finish line was a team from ACE, named "Do we still get the T-shirt?" Well, they got their shirts plus gave us all a great show at "Postage Due". . . Great Job you guys.

The Men's slalom was a big class with a lot of competition this year. The Playboat class was not as big as last year, but there was a great group plus a new face won it! Peter Tiernan was the fastest play boat, but look at those times. Not much spread there, it was a close race.

It seemed like everyone had a great time and there was a lot of talk about "next year."

And speaking of next year . . .

Let's challenge more playboaters to come on out. You CAN use creek boats you know. Let's also have more women boaters come out too, and more local Outfitters should participate at least by supporting some teams.

Lets have another great race on the Upper Gauley!

Take Care and Happy Paddling ~

Donnie Hudspeth of Mountain Air Productions and