BOZEMAN – The Gallatin Whitewater Festival featured four events near the 35 mph Bridge in Gallatin Gateway on Saturday.
In 2003, Dave Zinn took over running the festival as a way to fundraise for the non-profit Wave Train Kayak Team. The team promotes water activities by funding trips for kids between 10-18 years old.
"So we just thought it was time to have a good community event to bring everybody out on the water together, get everybody in the same spot and celebrate the river,” said Zinn.
Kayakers, rafters, and canoers made their way to the river at 9 a.m. Saturday morning to register for the four different events.
To start off the races this year, there was a Gallatin River Downriver Race, which was a two-mile timed track that took racers through the mad mile. Next, was the House Rock Boatercross, where kayakers sprinted from the Gallatin River Trailhead to the House Rock Rapids.
Later in the day, the events cooled down with a Community Raft Slalom where river guides helped teams of five to six people race through a course filled with multiple gates. To round out the evening there was a Kayak/C-1 Slalom, which had individual competitors navigate their way through a series of gates to reach the finish line.
For people like Travis Patterson, the day is not about receiving an award but rather about the experience.
"So knowing that you are out there on the river, with all of those people from the local community is ultimately why we are here,” said Patterson.
Winners of each event were given awards and bragging rights for the year.