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River Festival splashes down
by Nathan Orme
May 08, 2010 | 1374 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy Photo/Reno River Festival - Jason Craig, a 16-year-old Reno native and the current World Junior Freestyle champion, will compete in the junior competition at this weekend's Reno River Festival.
Courtesy Photo/Reno River Festival - Jason Craig, a 16-year-old Reno native and the current World Junior Freestyle champion, will compete in the junior competition at this weekend's Reno River Festival.
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Tribune/Nathan Orme - Ruth Gordon practices her kayaking maneuvers Friday at Whitewater Park in Reno for the first day of the Reno River Festival.
Tribune/Nathan Orme - Ruth Gordon practices her kayaking maneuvers Friday at Whitewater Park in Reno for the first day of the Reno River Festival.
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RENO — When Ruth Gordon came to the Reno River Festival to compete two years ago, she fell in love twice: once with the area and once with a man.

A Candadian from Burnstown, Ontario, Gordon met Toby Ebens in 2008 while pursuing her passion of freestyle kayaking. In Ebens she found a new passion and on Feb. 27 this year they were married on Mt. Rose — after snowshoeing and skiing to the venue.

"The beauty of living here is being able to drive to the winter, not survive the winter," Gordon said from her kayak while taking a break from practicing in the Truckee River on Friday. "I like to say people here sweep their driveways, not shovel them."

Now that the snow is melting and the weather warming, Gordon has returned to compete in this weekend's seventh annual Reno River Festival, which kicked off Friday at downtown's Whitewater Park. The competitions and clinics are in full swing starting today and continue through Sunday.

An all-around water lover, Gordon said she began kayaking 13 years ago at age 20 when she had a job at a rafting company.

"There wasn't much to do after work except learn to kayak," she said.

Gordon has won multiple kayaking championships, including the 2007 World Cup of Freestyle Kayaking. She said she won't be competing this year when the event is held in Europe, but after she is done in Reno she plans to head to Colorado for about five weeks of competition. Gordon is also the trainer for Team Reno and was the women's freestyle champion here in 2009.

This weekend she will be competing in the stand-up paddleboard competition, which is a new event for her and for the Reno River Festival.

"My expectations of my performance are not very high," she said with a laugh.

Also making a return to the Reno River Festival is current women’s World Freestyle Champion Emily Jackson, as well as Erin Clancy, Elaine Campbell and Diane Gaydos.

Sixteen-year-old Reno native and current World Junior Freestyle Champion Jason Craig returns to this year's junior competition, along with 16-year-old second place Junior World Champion Dane Jackson.

Also adding to this year’s event is the first-ever Humans in Motion short video contest, allowing participants to submit three-to five-minute videos to be reviewed by judges based on humor, creativity, originality and relevance to the contest theme and narrowed down to the top 20 for public voting. The top five videos were screened and the first, second and third place winners announced in Wingfield Park on Friday night.

To see the videos or for more information, go to www.renoriverfestival.com.
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