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Monday, October 4, 1999 -- Summersville
Gauley River Race
Story and photos by Marty Lamp

[Coverage] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3] [Pic Set 4]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]

Note: The photographer on this assignment found himself taking full advantage of the lack of boaters on the river (and in the holes) during the race. The plans of getting to Lost Paddle before the first racer were shattered while approaching Hungry Mother, despite putting on the water at 10am. The first few pics were taken from his kayak while trying to boogie downstream, and unfortunately, the first racers were missed.
Animal Gauley Race
Team Precision Rafting coming through Lost Paddle
So far, the 1999 Gauley Season has been filled with sunshine, warm temperatures, and no rain. So when the sky grew dark and the rain fell in Summersville on Monday for the 1999 Animal Upper Gauley Race, no one dared complain. This is more than just a race, it's a celebration, a reunion for some, and a step up for others, and the rain dampened no one's spirits.

All competitors would start just below the dam, and paddle on 2500 cfs of some of West Virginia's finest water through the five major rapids (Insignificant, Pillow Rock, Lost Paddle, Iron Ring, and Sweet's Falls), finishing just below Sweet's Falls. The total length of the course was approximately 9 miles with a gradient drop of 28 feet per mile. At 12pm sharp, the first racer took off, with all others following behind at 1 minute intervals.

Animal Gauley Race
There's no time for playin' today
To the surpise of very few people, the Wildwater Class was dominated by Andrew McEwan(44:10). McEwan utilized his smooth, steady style to the max and shaved nearly 3 minutes off of his winning time in 1998, winning for the third consecutive year, and setting a new course record along the way. Steve Kaufman(48:25) also proved quite fast, finishing second overall. The only other Wildwater boat racing was a Wildwater C-2 paddled by Reid & Russell Bailey(58:55), who finished 14th overall.

Although no women raced the in the Wildwater Class, there was some fast competition for the Women's Wavehopper Class. Less than a minute separated Shannon Carroll(56:05), Deb Ruehle(56:22), and Colleen Laffey(57:00). Carroll finished 6th overall, with Ruehle right behind finshing 7th overall, and Laffey finishing 10th.

In the Open Boat Single Class, Steve Frazier(1:03:22) edged out Nolan Whitesell(1:04:36) by just over a minute for the win. Frazier and Whitesell finished 25th and 28th overall, respectively.

Animal Gauley River Race
Everyone smile and look pretty
Clem Newbold(51:40) won the Men's Wavehopper Class, and finished 3rd overall. Slalom Class winners include Eric Lindberg(55:19) for the Men, and Sarah Gillifillan(1:14:15) for the Women.

The rafting class was bigger than ever this year, with 9 rafting teams chugging down the river. Precision Rafting(1:02:19) powered their way to a win with a raft full of strong paddlers, finishing 19th overall. AVA(1:04:31) finished second in the class, and 27th overall.

After the race, everyone convened at North American River Runners for the awards, which included a new Dagger kayak, a $500 gold watch, and plenty of cash prizes. To make things even better, everyone ejoyed plenty of good food, cold drinks, and fine music. Thanks go out to Donnie Hudspeth and Wayne Young for keeping a great race going strong, and to all the safety boaters hanging out on the rocks during the race.

This race wouldn't be possible without the contributions and generousity of the following sponsors:
Title Sponsor: Stafford Jewelers, Dayton OH

Primary Sponsors: Perception Kayaks, Dagger Kayaks, USANA, S&E Boardroom, Whitewater Photography, North American River Runners, Beauty Mountain Sports

Contributing Sponsors: Peak Performance Sports Message, Ridge Rider Mountain Bikes, Blue Ridge Outdoors, Wavesport,Backcountry Ski and Sports, Starrk Moon Kayaks, Mountain Surf, East West Printing