West is best in amateur kayak rodeo | VailDaily.com

West is best in amateur kayak rodeo

TMG EW Rodeo Final BH 6-4

VAIL – It isn’t exactly on the level of the Jets and the Sharks in “West Side Story” or the Hatfields and McCoys.But there were bragging rights on the line during Sunday’s East-West amateur kayak rodeo on the final day of the Teva Mountain Games. And the amateurs from the west of the Continental Divide topped their eastern counterparts.The West’s Jason Craig, Colter Beereboom and Katie Shephard took out the East’s Eric Bissel, Ted Pierce and Christin Clark, much to the delight of the partisan Vail crowd assembled on and around International Bridge.”There’s definitely a rivalry going on,” Beereboom said. “We were just trying to do loops, trying to get in the hole and string together as many tricks as we could.”

It does not hurt to have Craig, all of 12, on your team. The tyke was the cream of the amateur field, putting together a loop and a McNasty in the first round.”He pretty much won it for us,” said Beereboom, 16. “He’s 12-years-old and he’s better than I am.””I’ve been doing this for about three or four years and just practicing, getting it dialed in,” said Craig from Reno, Nev.And like any up-and-coming kayaker, Craig seems already to have the lingo down, as well as a strategy for competition.

“Just do our best and have some fun,” he said.In shades of the Jamie Sale-David Pelletier figure skating judging controversy at the 2002 Winter Olympics – OK, maybe not – there was some talk by the East about the judges being biased toward the home team.”Mostly it’s for fun. I think we had a lot of fun today,” Bissel said. “The West team, they got a few nice tricks in. We couldn’t hit those. Other than that, we had a good time. We think the judges might have been a little swinging on the West’s side, but that’s all right.”A note for future competitors – Coors Light can go a long way toward increasing your team’s score in this dog-eat-dog competition.

“I will have a keg of Coors Light strapped to the back of my boat next year,” Bissel joked.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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