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ICF Awards 2003 World Cup to Kernville, CA
U.S. Organizers Prepare to Host the World of Wildwater Racing
by Michael Beavers
USA Wildwater C-1
Member, USAWildwater Committee
February 21, 2002 -- Kernville, CA
What had been little more than a charming tourist destination with
a challenging whitewater river nearby will soon be the focus of the
international wildwater racing community.
Two-time national champion Tom Weir paddles the Kern River
at the 2000 National Championships. (Photo credit Chris Osment)
Cirini, Chairman of the Wildwater Committee for the
International Canoe Federation wrote to organizers here
with official word that their town would play host to the
2003 Wildwater World Cup.
"We are very excited that Kernville, California has
been selected as the host site of the 2003 Wildwater World
Cup," said Lisa Fish, executive director
Canoe/Kayak. "Being awarded an event
of this magnitude is a credit to the leadership of the Wildwater
racing community and the people in Kernville."
That community will be led by Terry Valle, who has
already begun rallying her town and community behind the
idea of hosting the series of six international competitions.
She has already enlisted the support of the U.S. Forest
Service as well as various residents and merchants.
forest service and the Chamber of Commerce have put their
weight behind this effort," said Valle. "For now,
the biggest challenge will be lining up title sponsors and
funds through Kern County.
has little doubt that this support will show. Her organization,
the Kern Valley River Council, has hosted large paddlesports
events before and is experienced in gathering commercial
and political support. The council actively promotes the
Kern River area in part to provide funds for various conservation
The ICF ordered
a departure from what typically had been a three-week World Cup
series by compressing all six races into two weeks. The classic
and sprint events will be held at three separate locations as
before, yet to the racers, the read-and-run aspects of the Kern
events will feel more like the Tour de Corse, the legendary
series held on the island of Corsica where compressed format popularity
saw its peak in the 1980s.
The compressed format does not deter Valle. "The last time an
international Wildwater event went to the US, it was modest in
terms of media coverage and organization," she said. "While
the whitewater and races were successful, the event left a bad
mark on the US. It is my intention to truly put on a world-class
event and give great memories of the Kern region and American
support for Wildwater racing."
Lisa Fish agrees. "This will be a great opportunity to showcase
the sport to the USA and the world. The people in Kernville did
an outstanding job hosting the 2000 Slalom National Championships
and I have no doubt they will do an equally outstanding job hosting
the Wildwater World Cup races."
Beavers is editor of USAWIldwater.com and a C-1 Wildwater racer
training in Atlanta, Georgia. Reach him at