Celebrate Dad this Father’s Day at FIBArk!

Celebrate dear, ole Dad this Father’s Day at America’s premier whitewater boat race in Salida. The FIBArk was the First In Boating on the Arkansas River and this year will embark on the 71st anniversary of this fantastic festival. Experience an unforgettable trip with Dad to Salida! You can stay just moments away from the action at Creekside Chalets & Cabins where you and Dad will enjoy the rustic comfort of a mountainside resort. Father’s Day is fast approaching, June 13th to 16th, so reserve your cabin today and get ready for an exciting weekend in the Arkansas Valley at FIBArk!

Historic FIBArk

Each spring, the tremendous Arkansas River rages and rumbles through treacherous terrain as melting snow runoff increases the river’s flow. During June the world’s best whitewater sportsmen and women rally in Salida to tackle the Arkansas for FIBArk. Early participants claimed that FIBArk was, “An invitation to death,” to challenge strong current and rapids while the river was raised five or six feet above normal levels by the spring thaw. Whitewater athletes persevered, however, and in 1951 the classic 25.7-mile downriver course was set between Salida and Cotopaxi. Word about the First In Boating on the Arkansas (FIBArk) spread, and the race earned prestige. The Salida Chamber of Commerce organized a three-day FIBArk festival to coincide with competitions and encourage international relations and invited athletes from France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Scotland, Israel, Italy, England, Austria, Canada, and Mexico to compete in the “Meanest stretch of whitewater in the world.”

FIBArk soon expanded whitewater competition to include the slalom. Slalom racers demonstrate an incredible skill to maneuver a boat through a course of 25 – 30 gates, racing time and earning a score based on a technique to complete the course without a foul. In 1954 both the American Canoe Association and International Canoe Association authorized FIBArk slalom racers to be eligible for national and world competition. This was a monumental event for FIBArk as it increased the level of competitors attending annual races.

The introduction of fiberglass in the late ’50s and early ’60s generated diversity and popularity among kayakers. Lightweight fiberglass and plastic boats enabled a variety of strong shapes and enhanced maneuverability. FIBArk festivals gained spectators, avid kayakers themselves, and again new events were added to keep all participants enthused. During the 1970s, festivals included raft races such as the raft rodeo and raft sprint. The evolution of kayaks continued, and in 1995, the kayak freestyle was added to entice boaters and thrill the crowd. FIBArk whitewater competitions continue to be unique events because athletes of all ability levels can participate and includes spectators of all ages.

FIBArk 2019

Treat Dad to an epic Father’s Day by attending FIBArk 2019! The FIBArk Board of Directors, dedicated townspeople of Salida, and world-class whitewater competitors invite you to celebrate this year’s festival from June 13th to 16, 2019. You and Dad can participate on the riverfront, along the trails, or downtown Salida where you will find athletics and musical entertainment throughout the weekend. Check out the FIBArk Schedule of Events for all the details!

River Events

Salida hosts the longest, oldest whitewater Downriver Race in the country. Join thousands of fans as we support the most respected whitewater athletes in the world in the Downriver Race. If you would prefer to be wowed, come out to see amazing tricks performed by Freestyle Kayakers as they show us the best loops, spins, and combo moves to earn points for difficulty and style. Freestyle Kayaking is a thrill!

Kayakers’ courage, speed, and maneuverability are tested on the Pine Creek Race. Competitors race the clock through this most challenging section of river rapids. On the Slalom course, spectators have a remarkable view of competitors navigating course gates to race to an untouchable finish.

FIBArk even takes the less serious side of river events pretty seriously. Come out to compete, or cheer for your favorite team showcasing their best raft maneuvers during the Raft Rodeo. The Raft Sprint takes rafting to a higher level by racing two rafts simultaneously, through at least two gates.

Calling all Hooligans! Race the Arkansas by staying afloat in anything that resembles a boat. The Hooligan Race might just be the most fun and most entertaining event on the water.

SUP enthusiasts will admire athletes who challenge themselves to stand-up on Class I – III rapids.

Our fearless, four-legged friends are invited to jump into the action during Crazy River Dog. Creekside Chalet’s is sponsoring this year’s competition focused on endurance and determination as dogs compete by retrieving items from the river.

Tenderfoot Hill Climb

Kick-off a spectacular weekend as you race, or scramble, up to the top of Tenderfoot Hill (“S” Mountain) and back down again. If you feel slowed down by the 1,122-foot climb, take in the spectacular scenery along immaculate trails.

Skatepark Showdown

Although FIBArk is all about the water, some of the best ricks happen outside the water! Check out Salida’s Skatepark where you can compete or watch as every level of athlete from Groms, to Pros, to Old Dudes like Dad bring their best skateboard or bike moves into the big bowl. Several events are scheduled throughout the FIBArk festival.


Entertainment abounds beyond the competition. The riverfront will rock with an eclectic line-up of fresh, Colorado artists. When you are not cheering, or belly-up to the Breakfast Bar, sing and sway along with some of these great bands:

  • Split Window
  • The New Orleans Suspects
  • Blue Recluse
  • Sly & Robbie with Makal Rose
  • The Jauntee
  • Sweet Lillies
  • JauntGrass
  • So Much More!

Above all, FIBArk has something to offer every athlete, every spectator of any age. Do you prefer racing with your feet on solid ground? Pack your running shoes and register for the 5k, 10k, Kids Fun Run, or 10k Trail Races. Got wheels? Bring your mountain bike and set out to race the mountain trails. Want to see some crushing action? Watch Monster Trucks do their worst at the Salida Fairgrounds. The whole family will enjoy the FIBArk Parade on F Street in Salida.

Plan an eventful Father’s Day weekend in Salida with Creekside Chalets & Cabins and your guide to the 2019 FIBArk Festival!

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