Local raft teams open World title bid | VailDaily.com

Local raft teams open World title bid

Not many world championships are battled over by people camping in the Costa Rican rain forest.

The U.S. men’s and women’s raft teams, mostly of valley locals and mostly with Timberline Tours, are in Costa Rica to take another shot at the world title at the World Rafting Championships. It’s more than 50 teams from 25 countries on the Pacuare River.

Competition starts today with the sprint event. Before they’re through, they’ll also compete in the head-to-head (Saturday), slalom (Sunday), and downriver (Monday).

When they’re done, someone will be the new world champion.

The men’s and women’s teams are locals, but they’re also multiple national champions, so their proper name is U.S. Teva Whitewater Raft Team.

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They’ve been training for 10 months and have been in Costa Rica since last week, getting intimate with the Pacuare River and getting a look at the competition.

It’s been raining and the river had been getting big and fluffy, team members said.

Also, the river flow isn’t the only thing that changes. Events can be altered without notice, according the International Rafting Federal website.

“They were also talking about lengthening the downriver event, which bodes well for the Colorado teams. We have some long rivers to train on,” said Lisa Reeder. Lisa is married to men’s team member Chris Reeder, and a former member of multiple U.S. national champion teams before she retired.

To get to the Worlds, the men’s team paddled to their ninth straight national title.

Between the men’s and women’s teams, they’ve won 16 national titles, including a clean sweep in all four events for both the men and women for this year’s U.S. titles.

“There’s no greater honor than to be competing with the American flag on your chest. It’s an honor like no other any of us are likely to experience,” said men’s team member Mike Reid.

The men’s team has remained intact since competing in Bosnia for the 2009 world championships. Three members have been together for nine years.

The same men’s team competed in the Netherlands for last year’s world championships where they missed the podium by one point.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

Most of the paddlers from the men’s and women’s U.S. national teams are guides with Timberline Tours. Both teams are sponsored by Timberline Tours and Teva.

Teva U.S. National Champion Men’s Whitewater Raft Team

Chris “Mongo” Reeder, Seth Kurt Mason, Joe Sialiano, Andrew Bishop, Mike Reid, Todd Toledo, Jordan Kurt Mason

Teva U.S. National Champion Women’s Whitewater Raft Team

Jessica Kurt Mason, Ronni Malson, Sarah Hamilton, Molly Etters, Misty Cumings, Brooke Magstadt

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