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This year’s FIBArk Downriver Race had a new venue but a familiar champion. Andy Corra was able to add one more title to his collection, winning his 12th FIBArk Downriver race Sunday during the first edition of the marathon race’s new venue through Browns Canyon to Salida. 

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A day after winning the Pine Creek giant slalom, Tren Long came back and used a penalty-free first run to win FIBArk’s slalom competition Saturday at the Salida white water park. 

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After a long delay, the annual SunFest concert will be held at Riverside Park Friday and Saturday during FIBArk weekend.

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The FIBArk downriver race will travel the full length of Browns Canyon this year, forcing boaters to navigate some of the toughest and biggest rapids on the Arkansas River during the marathon.

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FIBArk’s mountain bike and running events will have a different format this year. Instead of everyone lining up at a starting line and racing to the finish, the competitors will record their times virtually this year. The events officially began July 4 and will run through Aug. 7.

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After initially being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FIBArk Whitewater Festival has been rescheduled and will take place this year after all.

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FIBArk’s downriver racers took on a new course this year, starting in Hecla Junction and rowing 14 miles to the finish in downtown Salida.

Cully Brown of Durango won FIBArk’s first Heavy Half, besting fellow Durango resident and five-time FIBArk downriver winner Mike Freeburn.

The new route featured some big rapids at Twin Falls and Seidel’s Suckhole near the start and Class 2 water after that, compared to the old route that started with easier water and then finished with the course’s most challenging rapids.

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This year’s FIBArk parade boasted about 40 entries, including emergency vehicles from around the county, marching groups, floats and hooligan crafts.

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Salidan Michael “the Governor” McGovern defended his world SUP (stand-up paddleboarding) Boxing title Sunday, knocking foe after foe into the pool with his 20-pound gloves (when they’re dry).

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Salidans Timmy Devos and Derek Scott triumphed Saturday at the FIBArk skate competition, with Devos winning the BMX open and Scott winning the pro skateboarding category.

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The 8-Ball Rally returned to FIBArk for the second year Friday, pitting kayakers racing against seven “8-ball” kayaks determined to do anything to slow them down on their way to the finish line.

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Cat Hardman of Huntsville, Alabama, was the only junior female competitor in the FIBArk kayak freestyle competition. With no other girls to compete against, Hardman went up against a trio of boys Friday.

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All of the freestyle competitions at FIBArk took place on the Office Wave this year. The high water dictated the switch from the wave in front of the Coors Boat Ramp, but the competitors seemed happy to go with the flow.

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Stephen Wright won the pro kayak freestyle finals Saturday, using a pair of blunt McNastys to score 735 points and separate himself from the competition.

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Salidan Miles Harvey, 17, said he tries to get out and surf the waves in the Salida Whitewater Park twice a day. That time in the water paid off Saturday when Harvey won his fourth stand-up paddleboard surfing title, this time on the Office Wave.

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In the FIBArk kayak slalom finals Saturday, Durango 17-year-old Nate Foster got to race against two former Olympians – Scott Shipley and Eric Jackson.

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With the Hooligan Race canceled for safety reasons, a second raft rodeo filled its time slot Saturday night to entertain the crowd.

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Salidan Taryn Ceglowski followed up her victory in the Tenderfoot Hill Climb Thursday by winning the women’s category and finishing sixth overall Sunday in the FIBArk 10K trail run.

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Brian Glassey of Poncha Springs, was the first overall finisher in the FIBArk 10K Saturday morning with a time of 34 minutes, 15 seconds.

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Brian Glassey and Lori Walker were this year’s FIBArk triple crown winners, scoring the fastest times in the Tenderfoot Hill Climb, 10K road race and 10K trail run.

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For the fourth time, Salidan Taryn Ceglowski was the first woman finisher Thursday at the Tenderfoot Hill Climb, in a field of 203 competitors who ran, hiked and tumbled their way up and down the course.

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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.

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Not many people love Salida more than Stanley Naples does.

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FIBArk’s water events are being livestreamed for the second year on YouTube Live. People can watch the action from the comfort of their homes at youtube.com/watch?v=0MmDaCS_QgE.

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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.

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The Chaffee County Visitors Bureau website offers live video of FIBArk action from a camera mounted on Salida SteamPlant and pointed toward the Coors Boat Ramp. Visit colorfulcolorado.com and click on the button “Watch LIVE.”

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Salida Mayor P.T. Wood recalled the first time he announced FIBArk, in 1991.

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The average lifespan of a band is only a few years, so remaining together for 17 years, as Cracker has done, is an accomplishment by itself. Throw in a couple of gold records and one platinum, and you have a career worthy of pride and praise.

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Past FIBArk commodores got together last year and started the FIBArk Commodore Scholarship Fund as a way to help a local youth get into boating, or continue boating, who otherwise might not be able to do so. 

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The 71st annual FIBArk Whitewater Festival will kick off with live music and food at 5 p.m. today at Salida SteamPlant, 220 W. Sackett Ave.

The kickoff is a special FIBArk edition of Heart of the Rockies Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours. Admission costs $10.

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MILLK, a Gunnison funk band, returns to FIBArk to play bookend sets starting at 2 p.m. Saturday at Riverside Park. The second set begins at 6:30 p.m. before headliner Cracker.

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The Jauntee, who will play at 5 p.m. Saturday at Riverside Park, says one of the group’s main collective interests is “intergalactic space jaunts.” And things only get more interesting from there.

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FIBArk moved the downriver race upriver this year, Alli Gober, secretery of the FIBArk, announced in May. 

The new course will offer three options: a 1-mile Novice Downriver Race, a 10-mile Intermediate Downriver Race and a 14-mile Heavy Half Expert Downriver Race. 

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Day 2 of FIBArk music gets started at 3 p.m. Friday with Alternative People playing a two-hour set at Riverside Park.

Hailing from Gunnison, the four-piece band delivers jam-fusion with dance-oriented tunes influenced by a wide range of genres, including funk, metal, bluegrass and hip-hop.

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A new event joins FIBArk this year: fly fishing.

While not a traditional part of the FIBArk Whitewater Festival, the FIBArk Fly events will be a chance for anglers to get in on FIBArk fun and to win several prizes.

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High water levels in the Arkansas River are a mixed bag for FIBArk. High water will make some events more exciting, but others were canceled for safety reasons Monday at a stakeholder meeting.

The Arkansas River in Salida reached flows of 3,240 cubic feet per second Monday and is expected to rise over the next week.

“Every year we’re super excited for this weekend, but the nature of the event is it’s water dependent,” Alli Gober, FIBArk secretary, said.

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The 2019 FIBArk concert series kicks off Thursday at Riverside Park when Alma band Split Window takes the stage at 5 p.m. and then moves to the Deep South when Mardi Gras arrives on the river with the all-star group Tribal Gold.

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Salida’s FIBArk parade stepped off down F Street Saturday morning with 47 entries, including numerous Shrine Club groups that were listed under a single entry. 

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Sixteen competitors fought for the championship of the first-ever FIBArk stand-up paddleboard (SUP) boxing competition Sunday afternoon in Salida Whitewater Park.

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Grizwald, a 3-year-old Labrador retriever owned by Tom Keating, unseated six-time winner Chama to win FIBArk’s Crazy River Dog competition Sunday with a total time of 11.33 seconds.

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Upper Arkansas Service Club members received help from Salida Community Center and members of the Salida High School soccer team in serving 251 people Friday at the annual FIBArk street breakfast.

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A new event at FIBArk this year was the 8-Ball Rally, which pitted kayakers and canoeists against each other and the 8-ball kayakers whose job it was to create havoc.

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“McNasties,” “space Godzillas” and “lunar orbits” abounded during 2018 FIBArk freestyle kayak competition.