Make your plans for the Payette River Games


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Freestyle kayaking is one of the favorite events at the games, but there are many others for competitors and spectators.

JOE JASZEWSKI — Idaho Statesman file Buy Photo

If you're not in Cascade June 20-22, you're missing one of the biggest athletic events in Central Idaho this summer.

The Payette River Games has more than 500 professional and recreational athletes (and counting) registered to compete in marquee events like kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and other events ranging from ax tossing, disc golf, dog fetching, bocce ball, fishing and more.

Organizer Mark Pickard said competitors are coming from 13 countries and 28 states.

All competitors will vie for cash and other prizes, and this year's event is offering a $50,000 purse for the stand-up paddleboard contest.

Organizers say is the largest SUP purse in the history of the sport, and there will be an equal split in prize money between male and female competitors in all events.

Kayakers will also vie for $50,000 in prize money in four different events.

Pickard said he wants to attract the best SUP racers and kayakers to the event, and it has already attracted a pair of world champions and Red Bull athletes in kayaker Dane Jackson of Tennessee and paddleboarder Kai Lenny of Hawaii.

Entry fees range from $15 to $95 depending on the event and purse. Some competitions have limited spaces and can sell out, so go to see the whole lineup of events and register. Deadline for registration is June 18.

They cater to professional athletes and weekend warriors with a varied slate of competitions

The games are designed to be spectator friendly, and there's no admission charged for those watching. Kelly's Whitewater Park will be the venue for most events, and nearly all the finals.

Preliminary contests will be held Friday, with finals Saturday and Sunday. See the schedule on the website for timing and location of each event.

An estimated 20,000 people came to the games last summer. The event is the brainchild of Mark and Christina Pickard, founders of Kelly's Whitewater Park in Cascade.

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