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Novices Should Just Stay Spectators At This Year's FIBArk Festival In Salida

SALIDA, Colo. (CBS4) - All the rain is affecting a popular whitewater festival in Chaffee County. At least one event at the FIBArk Festival has been canceled while others could be moved to new locations.

Officials with the FIBArk Festival have canceled Saturday's Hooligan race due to extreme high water conditions on the Arkansas River in Salida. The water is running at approximately 4,000 cubic feet per second, the most in years.

"Access to the Hooligan put-in will be closed and all Hooligan craft will be turned away by the police department and race officials," FIBArk board president Christopher Kolomitz said in a statement.

A refund will be offered to those who have already registered for the event.

hooligan race
A Hooligan race (credit: fibark.com)

"FIBArk officials are working to plan an exciting pro event for Saturday afternoon to take the place of the Hooligan, details for that event will be announced soon," Kolomitz said.

Kayakers began arriving in Salida on Tuesday to get ready to compete in the FIBArk whitewater races, a collection of kayak events that draws thousands of spectators and competitors to the small town.

FIBARK FESTIVAL CANCELLED map 6
(credit: CBS)

"The bigger the water means the harder the moves; the bigger the waves, the easier to surf," kayaker Peter Coggam told CBS4.

Coggam from Boulder was looking forward to the very high water.

"If you are an experienced kayaker or a rafter and you've had some whitewater experience, it doesn't get much better than this," Kolomitz told CBS4 on Tuesday.

If the river continues to rise, other events maybe also be cut or moved to less dangerous sections of the river.

FIBARK FESTIVAL arkansas river salida kayaking kayakers
Kayakers in the Arkansas River in Salida on Tuesday (credit: CBS)

"If you are a novice this might not be the year for you here at FIBArk," Kolomitz said.

"It doesn't have to be unsafe if you know what you're doing, if you have safety boaters, if you have friends on the water," Coggam said.

FIBArk organizers say as the river levels change so will their safety plans.

Additional Information From FIBArk

All other FIBArk events are anticipated to remain on the schedule occurring at their traditional locations and times. See FIBArk.com for more information.

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