Tao Berman has a deal for you: If you can beat him in the Lyons Outdoors Games’ extreme race June 12 he’ll pay you $500, bringing the first-place payday to $1,000.
But Berman also struck a deal for himself: If he wins by at least two seconds he gets the $1,000 cash purse, plus another $1,000 and a year’s worth of free beer from Oskar Blues, the local brewery.
That’s the deal the 31-year-old extreme racer negotiated with Marty Cronin, the event’s organizer and vice president of sales for Jackson Kayak.
“It all started because I know they have the best race course in the country, but their purse isn’t big enough to attract the country’s best talent,” Berman says.
The race on South St. Vrain Creek began in 2007 when Andrew Holcombe won the inaugural event. But since 2008, no one has had faster lines than Berman.
“When Tao called and started going off on me, I’m like, ‘I’m just trying to make an event go,’” Cronin says. “And then he says ‘I’ll put up $500 of my own money.’ All of the sudden I’m like ‘Holy shit, that sounds cool.’ It created a nice little twist.”
“Colorado has a lot of fast paddlers,” Berman says. “Scott Shipley lives in Lyons. I’m willing to put up this money knowing there’s no guarantee that I’m going to win. I’m doing it, partly to give myself even more motivation to train harder.” –Christian Knight