May 19, 2004 -- Richwood, WV
The U.S.A. Wildwater Team Trials took place last weekend and what a great weekend for
Wildwater racing it was! Earlier in the week we had SNOW and extremely high water
. Just ask a few of the folks already here! But
race day was under beautiful blue skies with ideal water levels, as paddlers competed for positions on the USA Wildwater Team. USA
Team Trials is one of two highly important races on the domestic race calendar (the other being National Championships), and probably
the most important, with athletes training specifically to qualify to compete in the World Championships and World Cup events held
The 2004 Team Trials consisted of two Downriver Classics, one on Saturday afternoon and the second on Sunday morning.
The water levels were ideal for the "Top" Gauley both days. The "Top Gauley"
is a beautiful section of Gauley whitewater. Though not as famous as the sections below Summersville Dam, it boasts fun and playful
class 2-3 whitewater with the large boulders the Gauley is known for. The section used was from the Curtin Bridge over the Gauley
to just below the largest rapid known as "The Snake", approximately 3 miles downstream. As there has never been a racing
event on this section of the Gauley before, the times from this event will be used as course records! A total of 18 competitors,
coming from NC, TN, PA, the DC area and even California were on hand and all seemed to have a great time both on and off the river.
The town of Richwood hosted it's annual Ramp Festival that weekend as well, which allowed athlete's a chance to plug into the local
town and we all enjoyed the lunch banquet held in Richwood at the Alumni Hall. The event enjoyed considerable media coverage with
daily articles in a major West Virginia newspaper, written by Richwood resident Pat Hanna. Pat did an excellent job of covering the event,
and did weekly articles for a month prior to the race. Also on hand were several local television news crews and West Virginia Public
Television, which did a great story on the race! Many of the athletes were highlighted in articles and television interviews,
giving Wildwater excellent exposure in West Virginia.
I would like to personally say Congratulations to our winners, and for the opportunity to host this event!!
Special Thanks go out to the many volunteers that worked to make this event flow
smoothly! The results were tabulated by Chuck and Nancy Brabec, local paddlers and frequent visitors to the NOC. Pat Hanna did an
incredible job of covering the race with several front-page photos and articles. The town of Richwood really embraced the event as
well and made the athlete's feel welcome while they were in town. Other sponsors include: The Richwood Convention and Visitors Bureau,
The Richwood Chamber of Commerce, The Summersville Chamber of Commerce, State Farm Insurance, Nicholas Energy, Green Valley Coal Company,
Four Seasons Oufitter, Four Seasons Lodge, First Community Bank, Cherry River Foodland, WaterStone Outdoors, Summersville Lake Retreat,
Adventure Mountain River, Songer Whitewater, C93 fm, Copy Right, Jan Care, and West Virgina Wild & Wonderful.
Donnie Hudspeth is the 2004 US East Coast Team Trials Race Director. Reach him at