Whitewater town series racing kicks off in Eagle
After winning Gore Creek series, Derrick Dreyer is also fastest on the Eagle
EAGLE — Derrick Dreyer was looking forward to a downvalley version of the weekly kayak races, which just wrapped up in Vail, and that’s exactly what he found in Eagle on Tuesday.
The town of Eagle began its whitewater race series, the Whitewater Throwdown, with several of the same faces which wrapped up racing on Gore Creek June 15. Dreyer finished the Vail series with 190 points, edging out Jeremiah Williams, Rob Prechtl and Valentin Gutierrez, who tied for second overall.
Williams and Prechtl are Eagle County locals who competed in the whitewater rafting world championships in 2019. Gutierrez came to Vail specifically to train for the GoPro Mountain Games, winning the three town series events he participated in. As the series totals the best of four, however, Dreyer was able to take the top honors by winning the final event on June 15. Gutierrez had moved on to the North Fork Championship in Idaho.
“There was a lot of tough competition out there this year,” Dreyer said on Tuesday.
In Eagle, Dreyer found a little less competition on Tuesday. Organizers had to call off the R2 rafting event, as only one team had signed up to race, and there was no women’s division, as well.
Natalia Gray, who won the female kayaking overall division at the Vail whitewater town series, was ready to race in Eagle on Tuesday, but found no competition there to take her on.
“I just decided to safety boat it here because there’s no other girls,” she said.
‘The Eagle crowd’
Jeremy Gross, Halsey Lucas and Brian Hall were among the workers at the event, helping the town of Eagle organize the race series in the whitewater park, which is now in its third summer of operation. Races will take place for the next three Tuesdays, with registration at 4:30 p.m. and races starting at 5:30 p.m.
Lucas said the town of Eagle has R2 rafts available for teams of two who want to participate but don’t have their own raft.
In addition to the kayak, SUP and R2 rafting races, there are also freestyle boating and river surfing competitions scheduled for the next three Tuesdays on the Eagle River Park’s standing wave.
Dreyer and the downriver sprinters had to circle four buoys to clear the course on Tuesday, paddling upstream momentarily and jockeying for position among the other racers who are headed downstream. Dreyer said in facing off with his buddies from Eagle, he found a few fun moments in the contact sport.
“When you’re going head to head, anything can happen,” he said.
Dreyer lives in Eagle and says he spends a lot of time in the park during the spring and summer. He said he was happy to see the town of Eagle take on a race series like Vail’s.
“This is the Eagle crowd, so these are the guys I surf with every day,” Dreyer said. “The water is low for this time of year, but it’s still surfable, still raceable, so we’re gonna get it while we can.”