Ear to the ground

“Come on! Four hundred pounds sounds like personal use, not intent to distribute.”

– A joking Durango resident rising to Missy Giove’s defense after the mountain bike legend’s recent marijuana bust

One for the record books

A Durangoan earned “king of the river” status during last weekend’s 61st FIBArk Whitewater Festival in Salida. Andy Corra, the 48-year-old owner of 4 Corners Riversports, won the Wildwater Natioanl Championships on Saturday and the marathon 26-mile Downriver Race on Sunday, beating out racers a fraction of his age.

The downriver race is the event that first got the FIBArk festival started in 1949. The 26-mile race through class III water runs from Salida to Cotopaxi and has always drawn some of the best boaters in the country and world to the starting line. Corra first won the race in 1985. This year’s race put him at six FIBArk victories, a record he shares with veteran boater Gary Lacy.

“Obviously, the older you get, the harder it gets, but it’s such a technical sport and there’s so much boat-control and learning how to race an event like this, it kind of evens out,” Corra told the Pueblo Chieftan. “I was certainly stronger when I was 25, but I don’t think I’m much slower.”

Fellow Durango boater and 1991 FIBArk champ Mike Freeburn finished second in the Nationals and offered a blow-by-blow account. “The start was chaotic,” he said. “(Andy) got out and I got stuck behind a whole group of people right away, so I lost contact with him. One guy turned sideways and I crashed right into him. My plan was to stay right with him and there was instantly a 20-meter gap, so once he had that little jump, it was really hard to make that up.”

At the finish line, Corra offered props to Freeburn, who is 43, for keeping him motivated and competitive. “We’re doing it for the old guys,” he said.

Cougar control

Based on a recent incident in Temecula, Calif., Durangoans can muster up some cougar courage. Three toy chihuahuas recently held a mountain lion at bay inside a suburban garage, while their owner called for help.

The large cat wandered into the open garage in mid-June but didn’t count on running into an unusual home defense system. Two-year-old chihuahua Lina and 1-year-old pups Abby and Gita promptly cornered the lion, and Amalee Spray, the dogs’ owner, credits the miniatures with saving her life. Lina, Abby and Gita refused to back off and continued barking and growling at the cougar. The terrifying threesome kept the animal occupied until sheriff’s deputies arrived.

“When they saw the dogs they said, ‘These little things?’ When they saw the mountain lion their jaws dropped,” Spray told the Temecula Valley News.

A game warden arrived nearly an hour later and “dispatched” the mountain lion.




In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows