Thursday, March 22, 2007

Go ahead with the chlorophyll: Riot Karaoke Tour invades NAWF 07

In the early spring, young men and young women often turn their thoughts to life, love, and the Northern Alabama Whitewater Festival.
This year we brought the whole Riot Circus to NAWF, including our newly purchased Karaoke machine, for the first stop on the Riot Karaoke Tour 2007.

I found out on that Thursday that my shoulder is shredded, and I'm having to go to physical therapy for the next 3-6 weeks at least :( So no paddling for me, but I went along anyway to film, and participate in the jackassery. Needless to say it was still a fun weekend.

The competition went well for us, with Riot paddlers putting in a solid showing.
On the first day every team Riot paddler made finals in either the waterfall freestyle, or the race, or both.

In the Men's Expert waterfall freestyle, the "Wonder Twins", Alan Young and Andy Gates, of Columbia SC's Handsome Boy Modeling School, both made finals, and incidentally, it was their first time running a waterfall of that size. Nathan Silsbee also made finals, with some nice moves off Short Creek falls.

Columbia's Handsome Boy Modeling School



Andy Gates

Both Spencer Cooke and Chris Gragtman's made the Men's Pro waterfall freestyle, and Spencer took the crown with his multi-directional spin to freewheel trick, for which he took home 100 dollars.

The head to head races are always fun to watch at this event. The race course is really cool, with the competitors first running the falls, rounding a buoy , and then going behind the veil of the falls and out again on the other side. Spencer and Chris both made it to finals, and battled it out to finish with Spencer in 1st (another 100 dollars) and Chris in 2nd, a repeat of last year's result. Most impressive about the finish was the fact that Spencer was in the Flair 47, a much shorter boat than many of the other boats in the race, this proved to me just how fast the Flairs are.

Spencer, on his way to winning the race

With Chris hot on his heels

How cute.

Day two of competition featured the hole riding comp at the newly built "King's Hole". Water levels were not optimum, and the hole was fairly bony, but splits, phonix monkey's, tricky whu's, loops, and other tricks were still to be had by those patient enough to figure out the feature.

Dave Finney and Andy Gates put in good showings in the prelims of the Men's expert class. Alan Young, in his first hole riding competition, made finals in Juniors and finished 2nd. During one of his runs he attempted his patented "Magic Trick", and nearly pulled it off, only to be foiled by the pesky rock. He was accidentally entered into the Men's Expert class as well, and was encouraged to go out and just have fun. And that he did, linking nice ends and hitting good Space Godzillas to make finals and eventually finishing 1st, not bad for his first event. Nathan Silsbee showed off his skills in the Riot Orbit, and finished a respectable 3rd in Men's Expert. Alan won a free kayak for finishing 1st, and he gave it to his uncle who got him into kayaking, which I think was a really cool thing to do.

Alan Young

Andy Gates

Spencer had good rides in the Men's Pro class, but narrowly missed finals. Chris Gragtman's paddled the Astro 54, linking up smooth right and left cartwheels and cleans, and splits. He made the Men's Pro finals and finished 3rd.

We also racked up in the overall totals, featuring the combined results from all the events. Men's Pro Overall: Spencer Cooke - Turd place (and as a famousIrishman said, you can't polish a turd) Chris Gragt - 5th and Dave Finney - an astounding 18th. Men's Expert Overall: Alan Young - 1st Nathan Silsbee - 3rd Andy gates - 6th

Whew....and that was just the on water competition.

The real event was held at King's Bend Campground as America's top karaoke wannabes vied for domination at the first stop of the Riot Karaoke Tour 2007: Don't Quit Your Day Job.

On friday and saturday night we had a frenzy of activity at the Riot booth, as stunned onlookers were mesmerized by the song stylings of the Riot team, the organizers, and the general paddling public. Men and women of all ages butchered such classics as "Endless Love", "Like a Virgin" "Shot Through the Heart" and "The Humpty Dance". Throughout the night we gave out limited edition Riot t-shirts, and sweet prizes from Mion, Shred Ready, and Immersion Research.

One of the highlights for me was when Dave "The Gentleman" Finney took the stage to sing a sirring rendition of Marvin Gaye's classic "Sexual Healing", making many of the women and most of the men in the crowd weak in the knees. Many people don't know this, but Mr. Finney is a professional karaoke-er in his "other life", and will be traveling the country soon teaching amateur singing clinics.

Other notable performances included Nathan Silsbee's Brittany Spears cover, Wavesport's Brian Jennings singing many popular favorites, the "Smooth Criminals", The Motley Crew Girls, and I was even coerced into singing my infamous rendition of Lionel Ritchie's "Hello".

We held several competitions on saturday night, to award the biggest prizes, and the performances were fierce. Thanks to everyone who participated, and were brave enough to risk utter humiliation in front of the boating masses.

After the karaoke fiasco wrapped up on saturday night we enjoyed the entertaining site of kayakers beating each other senseless with inflatable bo staffs, and then turned our attention to the awards ceremony and raffle. Some jackasses were screaming "Proooceeeeed" and "Go on with the chlorophyll" which was very distracting. The final raffle prize was a Riot Inferno and a hug from all of the team.

Big thanks to Alabama Small Boats and the rest of the NAWF crew for putting on another great event.

Team Riot
Look for the Riot Karaoke Tour 2007, coming to pester more festivals soon!

Go ahead with the chlorophyll