Team Canoe & Kayak takes Team USA

Team Canoe & Kayak took gold in the Raft Cross event, June 7 at the Teva Mountain Games in Vail, Colo. The magazine fielded the R-2 tandem of Scott Waidelich, an advertising associate at C&K with Chris Baer, a longtime Arkansas River Valley guide and podium fixture on Colorado's raft racing scene.

The Raft Cross is a two-man slalom event that sliced through a retentive hole that left many boats stuck next to Vail Village's International Bridge. Vail's Timberline Tours entered three teams, including paddlers from the U.S. men's national raft team — locals who placed sixth overall at the World Rafting Championships two weeks prior in Bosnia.

The finals featured two of those teams (Timberline 40 and Timberline 1) and Team Canoe & Kayak. From the outset of the race, Canoe & Kayak was spun backward and clearly slipped into last place. Timberline 40 had a commanding lead, but botched the ferry near the hole, delayed by the Timberline 1 raft.

"Chris was yelling 'it's not over', then switched to 'go for the bump,'" Scott Waidelich remarked. In a legal move, Canoe & Kayak slid in front of the two Timberline team boats, bumped them downstream then greased the final two ferry gates to take the win.

Baer added that, "both Timberline teams were fighting for the right gate and we were so far behind, we actually came in from upstream and just plowed them down."

Team Canoe & Kayak looks forward to defending its title at next year's Teva Mountain Games.