1,400 kids take on Adventure Games in Vail | VailDaily.com

1,400 kids take on Adventure Games in Vail

Shaeffer Dodd and Hans Witenburg finish the Kids Adventure Games Friday in Vail.
Chris Dillmann | Vail Daily

VAIL – Water levels were higher than event organizers had ever seen as weather went from one extreme to the other at the 2019 Keen Kids Adventure Games. 

Now in its 10th year, the Kids Adventure Games kicked off its Vail weekend with hot weather on Friday, and even hotter temperatures on Saturday. For kids, who must enter the cold water of Gore Creek amid the variety of adventure obstacles they encounter on the outdoor course, the intense sun was welcome.

For the volunteers the event relies on to usher along the 1,400 kids it attracts, conditions were less than pleasant. 

“We had a lot of people on Saturday asking if they could be placed near the river on Sunday,” said Beth Pappas with the Vail Recreation District. 

By Sunday, however, clouds had rolled in, along with rain and cold temperatures. 

Stationed alongside the “Slope-N-Slide” on-mountain water feature, volunteer Colton Sorce, of Denver, said Sunday was a bit miserable at times. 

“Today was not fun at all,” he said on Sunday. 

Sorce is 13 and in addition to volunteering on Saturday and Sunday, he competed in the event on Friday. It was his fourth year participating. As a veteran competitor, he knows the trick to getting into the Kids Adventure Games – register early. The event sells out every year and organizers are at their limit regarding how many entrants they can accept.

“The course can’t handle more than 360 kids per day,” said Kids Adventure Games founder Helene Mattison. “That’s its cap.”

Justin Bradshaw, of Eagle, said his kids discovered the Kids Adventure Games last year after their friends participated in the event. They didn’t find out in time and registration had already filled up by the time they wanted to enter.

This year, “we signed up the first day you could,” Bradshaw said. His children, 6-year-old Loren and 8-year-old Costner, took on the course on Saturday and Sunday.

Loren, who participated in the rain on Sunday, said the Tyrolean crossing over the creek was the most difficult feature. That wasn’t surprising to hear, said Billy Mattison, who helped start the event along with his wife Helene.

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“They had a really tough time getting across the river on the Tyrolean, just drifting in the creek,” Mattison said. “The creek came up with the rain, it was the highest we’ve ever seen for this race.”

Some of the 6-year olds were on course for more than 2 hours, Mattison said on Sunday.

“It should never take this long,” he said. “It was super challenging with the rain but the kids all persevered and did it, it was impressive.”

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