Gorge Games able to af-Ford upgrades

No one can be sure how much wind to expect at this year’s Gorge Games, but the competitors can still expect big air — or rather, airtime.

Thanks to the efforts of Connecticut-based Octagon Marketing, the 2002 Ford Gorge Games — held in and around Hood River July 13-21 — will be broadcast on cable television’s Outdoor Life Network in addition to two hour-long programs on NBC in September.

“OLN is a great fit for the Gorge Games,” said Octagon senior account representative Peter Lagiovane. “We’re still working out the details, but this partnership will give the games and the athletes even more exposure than in years past.”

NBC has promoted the Gorge Games since 2000, while Ford Motor Co. just signed in early March to replace Subaru as the games’ primary corporate sponsor.

Another major upgrade to this year’s competition is the issue of the cash purse, which totaled approximately $100,000 in 2001, but will be bumped to $200,000 this year.

“That’s a big draw for me right there,” said 2001 Blowout champ and Gorge Games record holder Cory Roeseler. “I might have to start winning freestyle events again.”

Lagiovane said the doubling of the cash purse and the presence of sponsorship partners like NBC, Ford, Yahoo!, Nautica, Outward Bound and Balance Bar instantly adds to the event’s credibility.

“Doubling the prize money really puts us up to another level,” he said. “With the names we have signed on this year, we’re playing in the big leagues now.”

Aside from all the promotional efforts of the past few months, Lagiovane said that spectators and competitors can still expect the same hospitality and event management as last year.

He said all the 2001 venues would be used again, with the possible exception of the head-to-head and extreme kayaking competitions.

Instead of congregating in BZ Corners, Wash., — a less “extreme” section of the White Salmon — officials hope to return the competition to Big Brother Falls, the event’s home in 2000.

“With the amount of snow and rainfall this year, we’re hopeful,” Lagiovane said.

No new events have been announced this year, although rumors abound that last year’s inaugural 86-mile adventure race will be increased to 100-plus miles.

“The Punchbowl was the best rappel section I’ve ever done,” said 2001 competitor and former Hood River resident Nelson Snyder, who has also competed in world-class adventure races such as the Eco Challenge.

“The mountain bike-leg was also one of my favorites, but the winds during the paddle section made the course pretty challenging overall,” he said.

Competitors can now register for the 2002 Gorge Games at www.gorgegames.com.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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