Watertown, NY - Police arrive on the scene to find Chris "The General" Koll with an open container in one hand and a fistful of bottle rockets in the other. The remaining mortars get stashed in the bushes and the crowd re-assembles with anticipation of the carnage that is about to take place.
The Black River Race is won in the flatwater. Sea kayaks and downriver boats have a solid showing for a race that includes class IV rapids, a waterfall, and the infamous "Poop Chute" rapid. It is here at the Poop Chute that spectators have assembled, cameras at the ready, to view the racers as they enter the final leg of the 4+ mile endurance race.
One-by-one kayaks plug the hole below a steep drop to the roar of spectators. Energized by the crowd, racers enter the steep-walled Black River Canyon and catch a first glimpse of the finish line. Dagger's own Chris Gragtmans leads the pack with Adirondack local, Matt Young, hot on his tail. Further back, a cluster of long boats including 2 sea kayaks and an old Topo-Duo battle it out for the remaining podium spot.
Gragtmans holds on through the finish line with Young seconds behind. Chris Morelli steers his 17 foot sea kayak under the Brownville Bridge to take 3rd place. Cheers grow louder as finishers greet each successive racer until the final boat, OC-1 winner Jeffrey Pumo, finishes. With all racers accounted for and rumors circulating about The General's run in with the law, the Hudson River Rafting Company bus shuttles everyone back to Hole Brothers where the real fun begins.
The Black River Festival Floateeo, a freestlye event for pool toys and other improvised craft brings the day to a close and live music kicks off the evening festivities. The Black River Festival party is legendary. This year is no exception. The party theme is super-heroes and villains. Capes and tights abound. Black River racers and Floateeo winners are recognized in the traditional ceremony and the dancing continues late into the night. Another Black River Festival goes down in history.
The Black River Race is the first event of the King of New York whitewater point series. Three more races remain: 9/2 at the Eagle Section of the Beaver River, 9/3 at the Raquette River, and 10/13 at the Moose River. Racers compete for a number of prizes donated by Dagger and Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company. The 2012 King of New York walks away with a brand new Dagger Green Boat! The King of New York race series showcases some of the best whitewater New York State has to offer. Check out the website for more details.
Full results posted here.