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Monday, September 25, 2000 -- Summersville, WV
ANIMAL Gauley River Race
Story and photos by Marty Lamp

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]
[Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3] [Pic Set 4]
[1998 Coverage][1999 Coverage]

Animal Gauley River Race
Andrew McEwan would not be denied
The 2000 Animal Gauley Race was a great success despite the deluge of rain and cool temps that may have kept a few timid souls from venturing out. Over 100 participants braved the 50 degree temps (hey, it's been very warm until now ), and lined up just below the dam for the 9 miles of quality West Virginia whitewater that lay-in-waiting down stream.

Summersville Lake was pushing 2800 cfs of fun down through this classic Class IV-V run, dropping at a gradient of 28 feet per mile, and if that doesn't sound like much, don't forget that there were a few rapids that needed to be cleaned like Insignificant, Pillow Rock, Lost Paddle, Iron Ring, and of course the finish line, Sweet's Falls.

Some familiar names were sitting in the cockpits of their Wildwater racing boats at the starting line, like the always smooth and 3 time defending champion Andrew McEwan(44:36), not to mention downriver hardmen Steve Kauffman(46:53) and Jesse Whittemore(47:40). It's probably not too much of a stretch to say that the question floating around was Can anybody beat McEwan?, and everybody knows that's not something easily done.

Animal Gauley River Race
The Rivermen on their way to a win
McEwan was the first racer to take off at 12:45pm, with everyone else taking off at 1 minute intervals. McEwan did what he does best, keeping to his very clean lines and maintaining a steady paddle stroke the entire race, which earned him his fourth consecutive win in this race. Kauffman would finish in second place, a scant 2 1/2 minutes back, and Whittemore dropped through Sweets with the third fastest time of the day.

In the battle for the fastest woman on the river, it was a close one between Deb Ruehle(54:25) and Shannon Carroll(54:34) again. In last year's race, Carroll edged out Ruehle by 17 seconds to get the win, but this year, it was Ruehle who came out on top by only 9 seconds! Ruehle and Carroll finished 9th and 10th overall, respectively, with Colleen Laffey(55:38) finishing third for the ladies. They were all paddling Wavehoppers.

Animal Gauley River Race
Shannon Carroll is always playing
In other classes, Rick Gusic(51:50) barely held off Mike Moore(52:15) in the Men's Slalom, while they finished a very fast 4th and 5th overall, respectively. Amy Conger(1:00:46) took the win for the Women's Slalom class, and Steve Frazier(1:02:00) was piloting the fastest Open Canoe, finishing 26th overall.

In the highly competitive raft class, Rivermen I(59:14) beat out last year's winner Precision Raft(1:00:20).

Afterwards, everyone convened for the tasty festivities at NARR's High Country Cafe. Thanks go out to Donnie Hudspeth for keeping this growing event fun and safe for everyone.

Thanks go out to the Title Sponsor for the event, Stafford Jewelers, in Dayton, Ohio. Stafford's is the largest diamond dealer in the tri-state area. Special thanks also go to the many local sponsors for this event, the support of the National Park Service, and other volunteers, and to to ACE Whitewater for allowing the racers access to Sweet's falls.