There has always been a degree of mass confusion about events at Wausau Whitewater. People think we have one event. People think we have the same event. People think it is at the same time. People think it is the same event. All of those assumptions are wrong.
I am going to let you in on an inside secret. (shhh…) The first step in defining the season for Wausau Whitewater is to decide which organization have events that we would like to bid. Yes, I said BID… Wausau gets major events by bidding. For example, we are in the process of bidding 2009 American Canoe Association Open Canoe Slalom Nationals & North American Championships. The bid was drafted, reviewed by Wausau Whitewater’s committee chairs, and then sent to the chair of the Open Canoe Committee which decides where Nationals is awarded. The proposed date for this event is July 28 to August 2. At this point, it becomes a waiting game until the decision is made.
This event ranks larger than any we are bidding through (USACK) this year. Many years, it is the USACK event that will form our schedule. For example in 2011, Wausau will host International Canoe Federation (ICF) Junior Slalom PreWorlds which is an international event linked to the acceptance of our bid for the 2012 International Canoe Federation (ICF) Junior Slalom World Championships. In 2011 and 2012, those two huge international events have an additional event tied to them. To allow the US Junior Slalom team practice on the home court, we will host US Junior Slalom Team Trials in both 2011 and 2012. To get an idea of the magnitude of the 2012 event, in 2008, the event was held in Roudnice nad Labem in the Czech Republic and there were 243 competitors from 35 countries are taking part.
North America has not hosted an event of this magnitude since September 8 and 9, 2001. Homeland Security and visa issues made it difficult to get teams from international locations into the US after 911. This caused a lull in the rich history of international events that Wausau was privileged to host for the last 20 years.
Once bidded events are put on the schedule, other events are slotted into the schedule. In 2009, Wausau will continue the tradition of Wausau Whitewater Weekend, a no rules kind of event that lets slalom paddlers race down the river in the boat of their choice. The mix of playboats, slalom boats, open canoes and other kayaks or canoes is amazing to watch. Most of all, this is a fun event. Paddlers can make runs until they are totally exhausted. Wausau Whitewater Weekend has a tradition of being slotted in June and preceded by the Ray McLain Training Camp. New paddlers often get their first time in competition during Wausau Whitewater Weekend.
No season at Wausau Whitewater is complete without the very popular Midwest Freestyle Championships. Founded in 2004 by Michael Schroeder, this event gives the growing playboating community the opportunity to throw down their best moves in an adrenaline-packed head-to-head competition where the competitors strive to string together the best moves in the freestyle sport, such as Blunts, McNasties, Phonix Monkeys, and more.
To round out the season schedule after the events are slotted in, training camps and clinics are scheduled. Last year Wausau hosted four different types of training (freestyle, open canoe, swiftwater rescue, and basic paddling). Training allows anyone one to grow in whitewater paddling skills.
Finally, Wausau Whitewater schedules what we can recreational releases, also known as open water. These dates are days with 6 hours of paddling time for anyone who wants to grow in whitewater skills or just wants to have fun and build community. In 2008, Wausau Whitewater had 9 recreational releases averaging 80 to 120 paddlers per day. Paddlers come from more than five states away to paddle the Wausau water and experience all the other things Wausau has to offer as a community. Typical fees are $10 for the day plus ACA insurance or an event fee.
Complex, yes, but well-rounded, to allow anyone can be part of Wausau Whitewater if they want to use the course. water.