Reno River Festival, 2011

This weekend I competed in The Reno River Festival where I had a great time and I was happy to see all of my friends. I competed in freestyle on Friday and I was 2nd behind Hannah Kertesz, and Emery Tillman was 3rd. It was held in hole 3 on the North Channel but the water was very high so it was flushy. We each had 3 rides and the best ride counted. Even though it was flushy I still was able to get my loop, round house, and spin. For Men’s Freestyle Stephen Wright, Eric Jackson, and Dustin Urban were the top 3. For Women’s Freestyle Ruth Gordan Ebens, Emily Jackson, and Erin Clancy were the top 3. Saturday was the slalom race and I was 3rd in Women’s open and E.J. was 1st in men’s open. The weather was perfect and the river was even higher making it a challenging course. Thanks for the great course Charlie! Sunday was boater cross and I made it into the 2nd round where I took a paddle to my face so I finished 4th. As always, I enjoyed meeting people and talking to kids about kayaking throughout the weekend, and the festival was also a great fundraiser for my friend Jason Craig who was injured in a kayaking accident and my friend Daniel and I picked the raffle tickets for great prizes. 

Thank you for putting on a great event!

King of the Hole
King of the Hole
freestyle podium
freestyle podium
Jason Craig Fundraising raffle
Jason Craig Fundraising raffle

Perfect weekend, kayaking the American and Climbing at Phantom Spires

Climbing at Phantom Spires

Climbing at Phantom Spires

I had a perfect weekend!  I spent Saturday kayaking Chili Bar on the American and had a blast surfing Maya, then on Sunday I spent the day climbing at Phantom Spires by Kyburz, Ca.  I love this area because the hike in is short and the climbing is great.  I climbed my favorite lie back and Mom and Dad played a lot on a 5.10b crack.  We also had a lot of inter-action with a rattle snake that was sunning itself along our route.  I named him fatty because he was the fattest snake I've ever seen!

Truckee River Foundation Kids Safety Fair

Teaching River Saftey

Truckee River Safety Fair, 2009

We just wrapped up another successful safety fair sponsored by the Truckee River Foundation and I was lucky enough to help! We had about 120 kids from the ages of 4 to 14 show up to get a free helmet, pfd and water shoes and learn how to safely float through the rapids on a river. The most important thing I learned was to never dive head first into a river because you can not see the bottom, and always make sure someone has an eye on you. All the kids separated into age groups and I helped out with the little kids, which was mostly teaching the parents about water safety, and that most drownings happen in the presents of an adult. After each class, the kids received a free t-shirt and ice cream and then decorated their helmets at a station set up by the girl scouts. Some of the designs were super neat. Thanks to all the volunteers that helped!


Sage Donnelly

Peace helmet

Debbie explaining proper swimming

  Truckee River Races

I just got back from my whirlwind 7 week tour of whitewater competitions in Colorado and I had a blast! 


 This month has been very busy for me.  It started out with the Truckee River Races in Reno, Nevada where I ran the Downriver Race on Saturday and the Slalom Races on Sunday.  I placed first in both of the races and qualified to compete in the Junior Olympics as a Cub Cadet this summer in Canada!  It was also the first time I paddled my new fiberglass slalom boat.  It is super fast and fun to race in- and it’s orange!

After the races we packed our van and drove to Colorado for several weeks of kayaking on rivers and competing in rodeos, clinics and races all over the state.  We started out at Glenwood Springs where the river was running about 15,0000 cfs, way bigger than I’m used to seeing rivers flow, and surfers on surfboards were riding it like they do in the ocean.  It took a lot of tries but I finally caught the wave!  Team Trials were held here and I was the only female cadet who competed.  I was able to catch the wave and front surf it but it was super flushy and I had a hard time staying on it After team trials , we drove to Buena Vista on the Arkansas River where I helped teach a kids clinic with Dane Jackson and Lauren Buress.  It was a lot of fun and the kids had a great time playing Red Rover and chase around the pond.  After the clinic My family and I ran Browns Canyon and the Fractions on the Arkansas River. It was a blast! We then hit the Golden Community Rodeo where, as usual, I was the only girl in the cadets and I placed 4th over all.

Sage and Dad on the Glenwood Wave


After Golden we hit the Buena Vista whitewater park and ran the Numbers section of the Arkansas River.  It is a solid class 4 section and I ran it with my Mom and Dad, fellow Team Jackson members Devon Barker and Alec Vorhees and Devon’s friends Kat and her husband David.  The Numbers was super fun and it was the first class 4 I ran in my Shooting Star.  To top it off, I only had 2 braces the whole run!

Kids clinic in BV



Our next stop was the Lyons Outdoor Games where they have a large cadet competition on the South St. Vrain creek.  It attracted a lot of participants, including fellow Reno paddler Trevor LeMay!  There were 14 kids total in the cadet rodeo and, as usual, I was the only girl and there was only one other 8 year old, my friend Henry Hyde from Texas.  It was a tough competition and I was second, with fellow Jackson team mate Alec Voorhees taking first.  After the rodeo, I ran the slalom race and placed second in Jr. girls behind fellow Jackson paddler Lauren Buress.  I had a blast!

2nd place ride



After Lyons it was off to Fibark for another rodeo with a large junior class.  There were 4 of us under 10 so they broke the results down and made a cadet class where I placed second again, and then I raced in the Slalom races where I once again placed second to my friend Lauren Buress.

2nd place slalom in Lyons, Co


Our final destination was the Gunnison River Festival in Gunnison, Colorado.  The wave there was huge  and I managed a few practice runs, but was super happy to find out the cadet rodeo was on a much smaller wave.  I met Evan and Anna Schehrer and we had a great time competing.  I was able to stay on the wave the entire 45 seconds and did spins and shuvits on each side-I had a ball!  I managed to get my 1st first and also competed against my first girl ever!  Hopefully other girls decide to compete and we can get our own cadet girls class!

Gunnison Rodeo First Place!



Back in Carson City now where the only rivers running are American Whitewater scheduled releases.  Lots of fun still to be had and lots of rivers/races/rodeos still to be run!  

Biking in Gunnison




The New Jackson Kayak Dynamic Duo

My Dad and I in Trouble Maker

This week I finally got to try my Dynamic Duo! My Dad and I took it out on the South Fork of the American’s Chili Bar section with my Mom and our friends Colin and Hope Kemp. We had a blast! It was super stable and maneuverable and sliced through the holes like butter. We added two 200 bean Happy Seats and another set of hip pads so I could paddle it and both Dad and I were very comfortable. I started out kayaking class 2 rivers at the age of 3 in a tandem whitewater kayak and transitioned to my first Fun 1when I was 4. My parents were amazed at how I could eddy in and out and ferry on my own as well as read water which I had learned from kayaking in a Duo with my Dad. The Dynamic Duo is the perfect learning and training tool for anyone who wants to get on the water, and especially great for introducing your kids to one of the most fun sports a family can participate in!