The New Big Guns
2009 Rider of the Year Awards

Not since the IR Big Gun Show dissolved over four years ago has the best in whitewater boating been celebrated in annual peer-juried awards. Canadian paddler Patrick Camblin is attempting to recapture the prestige of being acknowledged as the best in the sport with the new Rider of the Year awards. Camblin's awards pick up where the Big Gun Show left off, with nominations being accepted until Feb. 25 for top overall boater, expedition, photographer, video, freestyle paddler, trick, drop, line and carnage.

"Back in the day the Big Gun Show was an event that everyone wanted to be a part of," says Camblin, who was a 2004 Big Gun award-winner. "It really gave boaters a platform to showcase their talents."

Rider of the Year winners are being chosen by over 100 of the world's best whitewater paddlers. So far the jury has over 75 choices in the nine categories. There are 10 nominees for the flagship Rider of the Year award, including Tyler Bradt, who ran 186-foot Palouse Falls clean last spring, pioneering creekboater Ben Stookesberry and 16-year-old playboater Jason Craig.

Camblin won't reveal his favorites, but he says he's looking forward to casting his ballot. He's considering announcing the winners at the Outdoor Retailer show this summer in Salt Lake City. "The main award is being put on a pedestal by your peers," says Camblin. "There are so many different factions in whitewater. I hope this brings the community together to recognize some great accomplishments." Check out the entries at Conor Mihell