Mark your calendars for the Battle of the Animas! The Battle is a friendly, neighborhood competition between various tourism related businesses in downtown Durango. Teams are provided a raft and guide by Mild to Wild Rafting and Jeep Trail Tours, and the goal is to dart down the Lower Animas River while working cooperatively with your fellow teammates.
So, what can you expect if you’re thinking of competing in this event?
Well, when it comes to water levels and expected weather for the day, there's some unpredictability.
“There’s no way to tell until the day before, really,” Molly Mickel, owner of Mild to Wild, said. “Right now [the river] is fast and powerful, but you just never know”
Mild to Wild Rafting has an excellent track record of hosting this action-packed event since 2001, and they look forward to it every year, along with all the returning, loyal teams.
“It's kind of cool because the locals that work in the tourist industry don’t usually get to do stuff like this,” Mickel said. She mentioned that it gives all the tourist and service industry workers a chance to participate.
It’s also an entertaining opportunity for the guides at Mild to Wild, who enjoy the thrill of the race and the change of pace from their regular chartered trips.
Spectators are more than welcome to follow the teams down the river from shore. Be sure to find the racers near Smelter, where things promise to get interesting.
According to Mickel, guided trips for tourists generally space out rafts so they don’t run through the Durango Whitewater Park at the same time.
But there’s “not that kind of cordialness,” Mickel said, when it comes to the Battle of the Animas.
The winning contenders will take home the infamous Golden Paddle (and gloating rights) and be named champions of this year’s Battle of the Animas. The 17th annual event will take place on Wednesday, May 24th. Rafts will be dropped in the water at 32nd street, and teams of 6-8 will zoom to the finish line, located near Santa Rita Park.
Follow Mild to Wild on Facebook or give them a call at (970) 247-4789 for information about how to join this thrilling event!