The weather was warm, the water was high, and The Third Annual Golden Games brought diverse outdoor sporting competition back to Golden last weekend.
“We had a great turnout,” said Golden Games founder and organizer Troy Harcourt.
Around 100 competitors participated during the three days of competition, held annually on the weekend before Memorial Day. Events included a “screaming” quarter-mile kayak race down Clear Creek, freestyle kayak, competitive fly fishing, and stand-up paddleboard races.
Special clinics for slack line walking, paddle boarding, and kayaking also attracted the curious.
Danielle Radovich of Golden said she came to the creek Sunday with her son Aiden Piper, 6, to throw some rocks and enjoy the springtime weather.
“We stayed to watch the kayakers because they’re pretty cool,” Radovich said.
“Because they can do flips, and other tricks,” Aiden added.
Radovich said getting to watch activities like the Golden Games in downtown Golden was part of the area’s appeal.
“We love it, it’s beautiful and it’s active and on any given day we can go see something going on,” Radovich said.
The competitive fly fishing events had some new blood this year, Harcourt’s nephews River, 12, and Drake Harcourt, 8. The two were by far the youngest competitors in the field, which included professional fly fishers.
River said he liked their chances to finish in the middle of the pack though, as he watched the competition try to land a casted fly in a series of target rings floating on the water.
“It’s kind of like mini golf,” River said.
Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) down the Clear Creek was the crowd-pleasing event of the day Sunday, with the riverbank spectators cheering for any athlete who made it past the roughest of rapids on their feet.
“Golden Games is a great event to draw a lot of people to Golden. There’s bigger crowds this year and it’s got potential to continue to grow,” professional SUP athlete and event organizer Alex Mauer said.
The SUP flat water race was new this year, as was a major sponsor that is well known in outdoor sporting circles — GoPro. The digital camera manufacturer is a title sponsor of the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail (June 6-9), which Harcourt said has served as a major inspiration for the Golden Games.
Harcourt said the Golden Games will now serve as an official training event for the Vail event, and will continue to expand.
“Next year we are hoping to have mountain biking and rock climbing and possibly motorcycles,” Harcourt said, adding that he was always looking for volunteer organizers willing to help make those new events a reality.