VAIL — Dad won.
No, not that one.
A father winning the GoPro Games freestyle kayak is usually Eric Jackson, whose kids Emily and Dane are also usually involved in the podium as well. As it turns out, Saturday’s freestyle kayak winner was dad-to-be Nick Troutman, who edged out his-brother in-law, Dan Jackson in a high-flying affair, 1,330-1,180.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Troutman, who is married to Emily Jackson — they are expecting their first child in roughly a month. “I’ve been coming for I don’t know how many years now — six, seven or eight — and I’ve made the podium a couple of times. I’ve just been trying really hard this year to focus on freestyle and keep my head straight and it’s been paying off so far. I’m pretty excited.”
Troutman blew out of the start with a wing-over entry move, a phonyx monkey, and a space Godzilla.
“I had my first two runs and was able to feel out the hole a little bit, find where the sweet sports were,” Troutman said. “I knew what I needed to do. I was psyched I was able to do it.”
What likely polished the win was Troutman’s ability to link his moves together, earning extra points. He put together an air wheel, a few loops and a lunar orbit to cap off the win.
Dane Jackson posted the score to beat in his first of three runs.
“It’s all great,” Jackson said. “I’m honored to be a part of this amazing family. It’s really fun. I look forward to many more years of competing with us.”
Adam Chapman of Sittsville, Ontario, who for some reason is not related to the Jackson family, took third, followed by Jason Craig of Reno, Nev., and then Eric Jackson in fifth.
“It’s really cool,” Troutman said. “That Jackson family is just a great family, and I’m super-fortunate to be able to marry into the family and have such great in-laws.”
Donnelly, 12, tops women’s field
How do Sage Donnelly’s parents ground her?
In a hypothetical situation, Donnelly doesn’t do her chores or come home late from school, what happens?
No more allowance? Well, she just won $1,500 for winning the women’s freestyle kayak competition Saturday. Send her to her room? Along with the check, she took home a big golden axe as a trophy. That’s some intimidating hardware.
It’s a nice issue to have.
“I’m kind of in shock still. It was awesome. It was a great group of women and I’m so honored to know them and boat with them a lot.”
Donnelly did her loops and space Godzillas like a pro and threw in a lunar orbit for good measure.
She did get a scare when the public-address announcer said, “There’s a new sheriff in town.” That actually meant that Donnelly had edged Hayley Mills and Rowan Stuart, and that the Carson City, Nev., paddler’s third run was nothing more than a victory lap.
As for axe, it will find a home.
“I’m probably just going to hang it in my room to remember how awesome it was,” Donnelly said.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or via email@example.com.\