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King of the Rogue promises to Royally Kick Ass.

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Game of Rapids


Last year’s King of the Rogue participants make it look suave and refreshing. Photo Credit: Stephen Kiesling
Last year’s King of the Rogue participants make it look suave and refreshing.
Photo Credit: Stephen Kiesling

Don your booties and skirts. King of the Rogue, the Rogue Valley’s only current whitewater competition, will take place Sat., July 11 in Gold Hill at Tilomikh Falls (aka Powerhouse Rapid) this year.

The race, promoted by Stephen Kiesling, is not just a race to encourage athleticism. It is as of an attempt to show the surrounding communities that Gold Hill has the potential to become a national whitewater destination. In the view of Kiesling and many others, this section of river offers a couple advantages. It is close to a major freeway with easy access. Most importantly, it has a 12-month season since the Rogue River flows year round. Future plans for the area include a whitewater park that would include construction of waves suitable for freestyle kayaking as well as surfing. The park would also include some slalom gates upstream of the waves. While this would require close to a million dollars in construction and planning fees, it is not out of the realm of possibility. Other cities, such as Bend and Boise have constructed similar whitewater parks despite shorter seasons.

The competition is set up in such a way as to take advantage of the fact that there are three main routes through the rapid. The rafters and kayakers start by running the Class III left side of the rapid, known as Grandma’s Ledge.

Following this drop the paddlers paddle back upstream a little before they carry/drag their craft upstream to run the middle class IV Powerhouse drop of the rapid. This is followed by another portage, this time to the right side of the island.

The final descent is down Mugger’s Alley, a meandering Class III route with the finish line at the end.

This is the third year of the race and a few things have changed from previous years.

First, there is a separate class II course that will accommodate stand-up paddle boarders. This is quite a bit different from past years when all boarders were required to navigate through the class III sections in what was quite often a task a bit beyond their abilities or at least comfort zones.  Also, there will be a fishing derby prior to the race.

And finally, the after-party includes a beer garden, food for purchase, and live music, will be at the Gold Hill Beach access.

The race is open to kayakers, rafts with a team of four, as well as stand-up paddle boarders. The registration starts at 9AM and the competition takes place from 11:30AM to 3:00PM.

Get more info and register at goldhillwhitewater.org.

Full disclosure: The author has competed in the last 2 King of the Rogue competitions and plans on competing in the next one. Fuller disclosure: You are allowed to substitute the word “compete” with the phrase “got his ass handed to him.”

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