Retro music for rafting
April 30, 2009
Whitewater rafting is like snowboarding was a decade ago: There’s very little money and recognition in it.
But the U.S. men’s and women’s whitewater rafting teams, both based out of Vail, are paddling as hard as they can to change that. Locally, they’re holding a fundraiser to increase awareness and funds. Worldwide, Olympic committees are considering introducing whitewater rafting as a demo sport in the 2012 Olympics.
The 6 Million Dollar Band, which regularly draws maximum-capacity crowds with its ’80s pop-culture cover tunes, will play at three20south in Breckenridge Saturday.
The idea: To raise about $1,500 to defray a portion of the cost when both teams compete in Bosnia/Herzegovina in the World Championship Rafting competition this month. With air fare, lodging, rood and entry fees, it costs about $15,700 per team to participate in the worlds. The teams already raised $6,000-$7,000 at their last benefit at E-Town in Edwards, and they’re asking such corporations as Coors and Olympus to sponsor them, said member Joe Sialiano. They’re also collecting money for their trip to the Netherlands in October, for a pre-Olympic event.
Whitewater raft racing is an international sport, which consists of six member teams earning points as they paddle down class III through V rapids in three disciplines: slalom (through gates in powerful rapids), head-to-head sprint and downriver endurance.
“It’s the ultimate team sport because you’ve got six people on a team, and everyone’s got to be working together, paddling in perfect unison,” Sialiano said.
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The teams currently stay in peak physical shape at the Avon and Breckenridge recreation centers, four hours, four days a week. They often train by tying resistance bands to the diving board and paddling against the resistance. They’re also running slalom gates on the Colorado River at Dotsero.
The U.S. women’s team has held the title of U.S. Women’s Champs for six of the 10 years they have competed. The men’s team has won every major event in the U.S. in the past seven years. In 2005, it became the World Sprint Champions in Ecuador, and last year it dominated the nationals.