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The 18th Annual Gunnison River Festival was held June 11-13, 2021 with three great days of “Celebrating the Rivers” of the Upper Gunnison Basin, including the favorite Taylor Downriver raft and kayak races, and new this year – educational seminars, dry land and in-flow clinics, virtual races and the inaugural “Run the Gunnison 5K” footrace at VanTuyl Trail.

“After a year off due to the pandemic, it was so great to get to celebrate again in person and take advantage of the great weather and good stream flow,” said Joellen Fonken, director of the Gunnison River Festival, a nonprofit organization who’s title sponsor is the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District.

Joellen noted that the festival would not be possible without funding assistance from these sponsors: Merrick & Company, Tava Real Estate, High Country Conservation Advocates, Lake Fork Valley Conservancy, High Mountain Liquors, Gunnison County, City of Gunnison, Gunnison BLM and American Whitewater.

The women prepare to dig in for the Women’s Division of the American Whitewater Taylor River Raft and Kayak Races. The women’s division was won by Kestrel Kunz.

Even a dog got in on the rafting! The overall winner of the American Whitewater Taylor River Raft Race was Jennifer Hodgkiss and team.

The competition in the Men’s Division of the American Whitewater Taylor Kayak Races was tight with Daniel Kreykes crowned the overall winner.

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