With the Arkansas River flowing above 3,800 cubic feet per second this week, four of FIBArk’s water events have been canceled due to safety concerns with the high water.
On today’s schedule, the SUP Skills for Bills event was canceled, while the SUP Surf competition will now take place at the Office Wave, which is at the top of the water park.
The SUP Cross, Colorado SUP Championships on Saturday had to be canceled, as did the Hooligan Race, which is traditionally open to anything that floats that isn’t a boat.
The Crazy River Dog Contest on Sunday was also canceled.
FIBArk Secretary Ali Gober said a second raft rodeo, or a parade, could also take place Saturday, replacing the canceled Hooligan race.
“It will be just some fun stuff in big water (with experienced boaters),” Gober said.
After getting word that dam operators have lowered the amount of water being released into the Arkansas River and will hold that level throughout the weekend, Gober said they thought about bringing back the Hooligan Race. Runoff from side creeks and other areas, however, is still making the river too high to hold the event.
On the plus side, all of FIBArk’s slalom, freestyle and downriver races are still taking place, as is the 8-Ball Rally, and they could be more exciting because of the water levels.
“We still have a great weekend lined up,” Gober said.
With the downriver race now ending in Salida, Gober said a good spot to catch the action is near Hecla Junction. From the Hecla Junction campground, there’s a 1-mile trail heading downstream that leads to a good overlook. “That’s the spot,” she said. “It should be pretty fun; we have some high-level downriver racers that will be racing.”
Gober also noted that Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area is concerned about families getting too close to the fast-moving river.
“They just want to make sure everyone stays safe around the river this year,” Gober said.
Don’t go swimming in the river, stay back from the edge or wear a personal flotation device were tips she offered to help people stay safe.