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Jacksons rule kayak rodeo

TMG Stephen Wright SM 6-2-07
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VAIL ” It’s a world gone Jackson, and we’re just paddling in it.

The Jackson family made it a three-peat at the kayak pro rodeo at the Teva Mountain Games Saturday. For the third year in a row, Eric, the father of the family, won the men’s title, while his daughter, Emily, 17, topped the women’s competition. And for good measure, Dane, 13, took third behind his father and Stephen Wright.

“Unbelievable. Last year, Emily and I had a great round and I thought that was about as good as it gets,” Eric said. “Having Dane get into the top three blew me away. Watching him is very inspirational.”



“It’s super-awesome doing a three-peat with my dad,” Emily said. “I think that rarely happens. To do it three times here is super awesome. Dane did awesome.”

Wright takes early lead



Wright didn’t make it easy for either Jackson in the men’s competition. He came out on fire in the first of three final runs, posting 123 points. Working the north side of Gore Creek, he got big air on his loops and super Godzillas, landed a phonyx monkey and McNasty neatly in the hole and finished with a variety of cartwheels.

“It was super-fun. I was glad the water came up a little bit. It let us go a little higher in the air,” Wright said. “It was just a good spot. It was fun having that many people in the crowd watching us. They were very supportive and it just made us want to go bigger.”

While young Jackson posted a 95 in his first go, putting his hat into the ring for the podium, his father struggled by his normally high standards at this event.



Coming into the hole from the eastern end, Jackson missed his entry move and failed to land his left phonyx monkey, disrupting his timing. He logged a solid 115 points, but was behind Wright.

More fun

Jackson looked much better in his second run. He landed his entry and just started ticking off his tricks in methodical order.

“I looked at the judges and told them what I was going to do,” he said. “The more fun I’m having, the better I do.”

Jackson soared on a loop, put down two cartwheels, phonyx monkeys in both directions, a clean cartwheel a split wheel and super Godzilla for 127 points, effectively ending the competition for first.

With the title clinched before he took his third ride, Jackson had some fun, tossing his paddle to Wright and wowing the crowd with some loops and cartwheels.

Meanwhile, Dane saved the best for his last run, landing a phonyx monkey and a McNasty for 107 points and third.

“It would be crazy to think that a 13-year-old would be competitive, but both Jason Craig and Dane, both at 13, have shown that kids can pick this stuff up really quick and have a lot of fun with it,” Eric said. “… I never would have projected that in three years (Dane)’d be in the top three in an event against the best pros in the world.”

Wright, meanwhile, was happy to be in the middle of a a Jackson sandwich.

“We’re such good friends that it’s not a big deal which one of us ends up on top,”

Wright said. “We both enjoy winning, but are more than happy to being first or second or the other way around.”

Landing the McNasty

Emily Jackson finished third in the women’s semifinals, meaning that she was the first to go in the finals. That ended up working perfectly for the 17-year-old.

“I wanted to try to get it right the first time,” she said. “I wanted to do well and not stress. I said, ‘I’m going to do it right now.'”

She did. She held the hole for the full minute and put up 59 points, outpacing Ruth Gordon (49) and Devon Barker (43). The key for Jackson was landing a McNasty for the first time at the Teva Games, which she did toward the end of her first ride.

“I can do them really well everywhere but here,” she said. “For some reason, I was struggling. So to land it here was definitely rewarding. I was like, ‘Yes! Finally.'”

While Emily will be going for her fourth title in a row next year, the interesting question is which Jackson will win on the men’s side?

“I don’t know who’s going to win ” Dane or my father, but it will be really close whoever it is,” Emily said.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.

Pro rodeo results

Women

Emily Jackson 59

Ruth Gordon 49

Devon Barker 43

Men

Eric Jackson 127

Stephen Wright 123

Dane Jackson 107

Ed Smith 99

Daniel Krummach 50


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