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FIBArk 2022 is here. Set your sights for Salida, Colorado this June 16-19, to participate or spectate in the 73rd annual festival of fun, concerts, craft beer, and white water competition. This year’s festival is sponsored by Amicas Pizza.

This is the premier whitewater festival in the nation. The initials stand for “First in Boating on the Arkansas — and it’s a one-of-a kind whitewater event that has been held annually since 1949. Which also makes it the oldest whitewater event in the nation.

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The FIBArk Whitewater Festival features a wide array of both land and “sea” events including rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, and running. Some of it is serious competition – with world-class kayakers and racers arriving from all over the world. Some of it is just plain hilarious — with family and team entries racing in home-build floating entries — many of which never make it across the finish line.

The Salida Whitewater Park Boat Ramp on the Arkansas River, right next to the FIBArk Administration building is the center of water activities throughout the days, with premier watching spots all along the river in downtown Salida and on the F St. Bridge. Later in the evening the scene shifts to the concert area of Riverside Park.

Many people do not realize that FIBArk is a 501(c)(3) and in addition to putting on this premier white water festival, it raises funds to support its youth paddling program, which teaches the next generation of whitewater enthusiasts. For evolving details of the dozens of events, visit the FIBArk website:

A Few Highlights of the Event Schedule:

Wednesday, June 15

5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  FIBArk Kickoff Event at the Salida SteamPlant

Thursday, June 16

5:00 p.m. Thursday, June 16 — Carnival begins, Riverside Park opens

6:00 p.m. Tenderfoot Hill Climb begins

6:30 p.m. Raft Rodeo

7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Roundhouse Assembly music – Riverside Park

Friday, June 17

11:00 a.m. Surf contest, Salida Whitewater Park

1:00 p.m. Head to Head Slalom Boater Cross, Salida Whitewater Park

3:00 p.m. Raft Sprint Head to Head at Salida Whitewater Park

3:30 p.m. Joe Johnson and The Wildfires – Live Music at Riverside Park

5:00 p.m. SUP Dual Slalom, Salida Whitewater Park

5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Pine Creek Giant Slalom Pine Creek (for flows under 4K CFS)

5:30 p.m. Leadville Cherokee – Live Music, Riverside Park

Saturday, June 18

8:00 a.m. 5K/10/K Road Race, Thonhoff  Park

8:00 a.m. Salida Community Center Pancake Breakfast

8:30 a.m. Kids Fun Run, Thonhoff Park

9:00 a.m. First and Second Runs of Slalom Race, Salida Whitewater Park

10:00 a.m. Parade

1:00 p.m. Slalom final

3:00 p.m. Freestyle Throwdown

5:30 p.m. Hooligans Race, Salida Whitewater Park

Sunday, June 19

8:00 a.m. 10K final

8:30 a.m. Downriver Race marathon (26 miles)

12:30 p.m. Crazy River Dog


Featured image: Crowds gathering to watch the FIBArk Raft Rodeo in 2021. Image by Brooke Gilmore.