April 15, 2006
-- Bryson City, NC
The Southeastern US Wildwater Championships remains intact as one of the longest continuously held
whitewater races in North America (this was the 38th year for the event). It’s truly exciting to look
over the race results from 20 or 30 years ago and see all of the world-class competitors that have
taken part in the event.
In the 70’s, David Jones was one of the racers that “owned the river” and followed closely by his
USA Teammate Bern Collins. One of the remarkable things about this year’s event is that both Jones
and Collins were back and racing very well. Remarkably, Bern Collins (who is now 67) was only a few
seconds slower in the 2006 event than his 1974 race time.
But it was the mass start that really brought out the competition in the men’s kayak classes.
Chris Hipgrave sprinted out the start and was followed closely by Maurizio Tognacci, Rob Murphy,
Chan Jones, Casey Jones, Terry Smith, David Jones and Lincoln Williams. In the end, Hipgrave was the
winner on his home river. He was followed closely by Tognacci and Murphy. Perhaps the biggest winners
of the weekend were Chan and Casey Jones, and Terry Smith, who all took 4 minutes off of their times.
Roger Nott carried on the tradition of the Georgia Canoeing Association by racing and winning the
open canoe Class. John Pinyerd paced his way to an uncontested C-1 win. Tierney O’Sullivan won the
K-1W Jr class and was also the fastest woman down the river.
We are truly grateful to our volunteers. Maggie Collins provided the medals. Susan Jones took care of
the times. Michael Collier helped with whatever he could do. The event also raised $80 in much needed
donations to USAWildwater and a couple pledges.