Whitewater enthusiasts race the rapids in ‘King of the Rogue’

GOLD HILL, Ore.– Water-loving thrill seekers hit the rapids of the Rogue River on Saturday for another year of kayaking and rafting competitions.

The King of the Rogue event brings people from across the country together to see who can conquer the Rogue River. On a stretch of the river just near Gold Hill, many whitewater enthusiasts consider it to be some of the best whitewater rafting in southern Oregon.

“It’s glorious weather. The water is just perfect. We got great competitors, a lot of people. It’s just fun,” said Steve Kiesling, founder of the King of the Rogue competition.

After 2018’s competition was shut out due to smoke and wildfires, the King of the Rogue competition is back in full blast. Racers took to the rapids and gave viewers a chance to see what whitewater rafting is all about.

“Rafting is a rush and you’re kind of out of control the whole time you’re rafting,” said Kevin Fay, one of the racers.

“You know, you have the right equipment, helmets, life jackets and you’re just going to have fun,” said Kiesling.

This year, spectators were treated to a variety of races including stand up paddle boards.

Organizers hope having this yearly event will help get more people interested in getting out on the water themselves.

“Just a very unique river. We’re really fortunate to have it here in southern Oregon,” said Fay. “A lot of places don’t have a river like this one here with such opportunity.”

But the key to whitewater rafting is to always have fun.

“It’s a great place to see whitewater athletes,” said Kiesling. “It’s just a lot of fun for a lot of people.”

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