Seven teams showed off surfing skills Thursday in FIBArk’s raft rodeo, flipping their boats, jumping into other boats like pirates and doing flips into the water.
The Outlaws, aka team “Rodeo Clown,” and team Elephante, aka “Animal Kingdom,” stood out among the competitors and went into a surf-off to decide the winner.
In the end, the Outlaws claimed the title, followed by team Elephante in second and Independent Whitewater in third.
“Our strategy was to look good, so we went with rodeo clown costumes,” one of the Outlaws, Jeremy Hittle, said. “You also have to get the crowd going with crazy stuff, so we were jumping out of the boat and pirating other boats; that’s what wins championships.”
He said Luke Robinson did a “superman” off the front of their boat, in addition to other tricks into the water, while Autumn Hart was their pirate.
Tony Heinz and Stacy Delozier also rowed on the Outlaws.
Hittle said the high water was “super powerful and super pushy, but we had a great team that came in and dominated.”
Team Elephante also dressed up in costumes. Spencer Lacy was dressed as a pink elephant, Robin Eckerman was dressed as a giraffe, while Andy Armondarez and Riley Gelatt wore a red cape and leopard pants, respectively.
“Our strategy was to have the longest surf because we knew it was a tough wave,” Lacy said. He said their strategy also included jumping into other rafts and doing some tricks.
Seven teams competed in the rodeo, which is fewer than normal but didn’t stop it from being an action-packed event.
“There’s usually more competitors, but today only the cowboys showed up,” Hittle said, adding that the playhole is “three times the size it normally is.”
“The water is never this big,” he said.
The competitors still enjoyed it.
“This is a perfect way to kick off FIBArk,” Lacy said. “It’s one of FIBArk’s iconic events, and there’s a lot of stoke behind it.”