70th anniversary brings new events to Salida

With the 70th anniversary of FIBArk comes two brand-new events, the 8-Ball Rally and SUP Boxing.

Created by Ken Hoeve for the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, the 8-Ball race is a 200-meter kayak sprint with a twist.

Sarah Briam, FIBArk board member, said the race will start upstream from downtown Salida, go through the playholes and end at the F Street bridge. While the kayakers race, “8-ballers” will be waiting along the route to impede their downstream progress.

“Their sole mission is to upset the race and knock racers off track. It’s an American Gladiator version of bumper cars,” she said.

Most of the river races for FIBArk start higher upstream and aren’t particularly spectator-friendly. This one will happen downtown for the amusement of all.

The race will be done in a head-to-head style, meaning all the racers will be in the water at the same time. Depending on how many register, the racers will be broken into heats.

While anyone can compete in the race, Briam and other board members will be recruiting for the 8-ballers. Briam said the 8-ballers need to be competent, experienced and responsible boaters. Credentials will be checked. The event will start at 6 p.m. Friday, June 15.

“This will be like nothing else you’ve seen on water. I think it will be one the crowd will really enjoy,” she said. “It should be a riot.”

FIBArk Board Treasurer Patrick Payne saw a video about paddle-board boxing on YouTube and got inspired. In the video, two competitors are wearing oversized boxing gloves and dueling on top of an oversized paddle-board and pulled behind a boat.

Payne decided to adapt it to the river and add it to the schedule. The oversized SUP provided by Dvorak Expeditions is called a SUPsquash. The board will be tethered to the cables that hang over the river near the boat ramp. The competition will be at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 17, immediately after the Crazy River Dog competition. “Which is great,” Payne said, “because there has always been a lack of events on Sunday.”

While having experience on a paddle board would be beneficial, Payne said the event is primarily about 10 seconds of balance.

“Stay up while your opponent goes down – it won’t be a three-round boxing match. The gloves are big and heavy, so no boxing skills needed.”

Payne said the board members considered using inflatable boxing gloves, but decided to go all-in. So the ones they chose (a red and blue set) are foam-filled. “They are a ‘whole lotta glove.’”

The event will be organized in a bracket system with the champion and runner-up receiving prizes. Payne said the grand champion will likely receive $100 and a bottle of Tin Cup whiskey. Tin Cup is an event sponsor this year. The runner-up will likely win a bottle of Tin Cup.

There might be something special planned for the championship round, but Payne said it had not yet been decided.

“It’s exciting. I think people will get a kick out of it.” he said.

Register for these new events and others at fibark.com/registration.