Let the Games Begin 

Payette River Games take over the world

While low water levels might put a damper on the river season this year, the organizers of the Payette River Games don't seem to be missing a stroke.

The games--taking place at Kelly's Whitewater Park in Cascade Friday, June 21-Sunday, June 23--are crammed with on- and off-river competition and events designed for all ages and abilities.

Of course, the signature events are on the water, starting with the kayak competition. Kayakers from around the world are scheduled to go head-to-head for their piece of the $40,000 purse. Participants can compete in both speed and freestyle events, where the focus will be on style and athleticism.

Registration is limited, so those hoping to get in on the competition have to cross their fingers--that and pay the $25 registration fee.

Preliminary events will kick off on Friday, June 21, and Saturday, June 22, with finals on Sunday, June 23.

The rough and rowdy crowd can try their hands at the boater cross races, when a group of kayakers is released at once to maneuver through a course of gates. As usual, registration is limited and costs $25.

Stand up paddleboarders can get in on the action (and the $14,000 purse) by competing in two disciplines--spring and cross--to earn points. Downriver time trials will be held on a 1.5-mile stretch of the Payette, with prelims on Saturday and finals on Sunday. Registration costs $30 and is limited.

The SUP Cross Throwdown (sure to be a spectator favorite) will be held on the whitewater course with a group of paddlers battling their way to the finish line. Registration is (you guessed it) limited and costs $30.

But the competitive spirit isn't limited to on-water activities. Golfers can participate in a 19-hole tournament, where the first 18 holes are played on Saturday at Osprey Meadows Golf Course at Tamarack Resort and the top five finishers play a final hole at Kelly's Whitewater Park. Registration is limited and closes Wednesday, June 19.

There's also the beach volleyball tournament led by Olympian Dave Saunders, the River Dog Fetch competition, as well as fitness, climbing wall, disc golf, fly casting, bocce and horseshoe competitions. If all that competitiveness has you worn out, there are free morning yoga classes, as well as live musical entertainment.

Need more details? Get a full schedule of events and register online at payetterivergames.com.

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