Lofer Rodeo 2019, from September 13 to 15, was a weekend in four acts: lighted night paddling, boater cross, the legendary paddlers party, and a protest paddle for the Saalach river. All was accompanied with blue skies and perfect water levels. The 180 starting spots were sold out Friday evening before midnight!
Organised by the Whitewater Slaves kayak club, the Lofer Rodeo 2019 was started off with the annual night paddling and light show with a riverside bar. Joining in on the river were paddlers from Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Slovakia, the Netherlands and New Zealand. The laser show had a later start this year allowing the sounds and the paddling to continue late into the night exceeding all expectations from previous years.
Saturday, 10am, the races started. Timed runs are used to seed the boatercross with the top 64 men and 16 women battling it out in the afternoon for the Lofer Rodeo trophies. Racing was tight, exciting, and physical with many turnovers and surprises. In an unbelievable race, Matthias Weger of Austria, pushed his way to the top in the men’s field.
The largest ever women’s field took to the Saalach this year bringing the tightest, most nail biting, racing of the day. It also dished out the biggest beatings with a swim in one of the heats. In the end Paulina Kodadova Zasterova from the Czech Republic, took home the women’s trophy. The Czech’s continued their trophy run with Eduard Doskocil winning the C1 canoe competition. Right before the finals went down, four old schoolers from the Prijon pro Team won the hearts, with superior style notes, for a throwback fun race.
After the boathouse party was drunk out of beer last year, the ordering was stepped up with a 1,000 litres of beer cooled for the night. Beer flowing and the prize giving completed, the boat raffle was started. The selected finalists fought it out with a free-throw competition, the winner taking home a Spade kayak. Formalities all settled, Dj Maqua sound-tracked hazy memories of good times late into the night.
With a slow Sunday start, and recoveries well underway, the Alpiner Kajak Club organised Saalach protest paddle started. Over 300 kayakers, rafters and stand-up paddlers showed strong opposition to a planned hydroelectric power station on the Saalach River near Unken.
Recording the highest participation numbers ever for the rodeo, the Lofer Rodeo 2019 was a smash. Save the 18th and 19th of September 2020 for next year’s biggest paddling party weekend.