Gorge Games catch air in sixth year

The time has come for extreme sports fanatics from all over the world to Gorge themselves once again.

Athletes and spectators alike are hoping to feast on the world-renowned Gorge winds and raging rapids when the 2002 Ford Gorge Games kick off Saturday in Hood River.

With a veritable buffet of corporate backing from names like Ford, Nike ACG, Yahoo! and Outward Bound, the sixth-annual sports and lifestyle festival boasts a $200,000 cash purse, as well as support from NBC, Outdoor Life Network and National Geographic.

Competition begins Saturday with the Blowout — a unique 17-mile downriver race that begins in Stevenson, Wash. — which will test windsurfers’ and kiteboarders’ ability to overcome the giant swells of the Columbia River.

Last year’s champ and Gorge Games record holder, kiteboarder Cory Roeseler of Hood River, will lead a field of more than 100 participants as they compete for a $2,000 prize.

Last year’s women’s kiteboarding division winner, Renee Hanks of Arcata, Calif., will also be back to defend her title. Local windsurfing guru Dale Cook will pace the men’s windsurfing division, while Susie Richards hopes to do the same on the women’s side.

The festival’s main attraction, freestyle windsurfing and kiteboarding, is scheduled to go off July 14-21, wind permitting. Both competitions will be held at the Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, and feature a $20,000 overall purse.

Windsurfing favorites include Web Pedrick, Nathan Mershon, Sean Aiken, Jocelyn Hrkach and Jennifer Henderson. Kiting favorites are 2001 champ Adam Koch, Julien Sudrat, Julie Prochaska and Cindy Mosey.

Another big draw this year will be the head-to-head and extreme kayaking competitions. A new format was introduced last year, and was a huge hit with the field. Sam Drevo will be back to defend his title, along with Tao Berman, Steve Fisher, Kelly Liles and Brooke Winger.

Additional Gorge Games events include rock climbing, mountain biking, outrigger canoeing, and a 100-mile adventure race. For more, visit 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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