I helped set up Charlie Beavers, at age 12, with his first kayak... a Dancer XS which dwarfed the little guy at the time.Â Â We had a pretty epic season that Spring of '94.Â Â It snowed straight through 'till the middle of June and Charlie Beavers being on the river was as predictable as noon Fire Siren in Steamboat Springs.Â Â Charlie was an accomplished skier among his wide range of athletic skills but this kayaking thing really tickeled his fancy.
Years passed and in a town where you can't hardly swing a dead cat and not hit an olympic athlete, Charlie Beavers emerged as the leader of a new bread of daring young athlete.Â Â Along with Ben Coleman and Andy Blakslee, the trio dazzled the local contingent of boaters (some very accomplished) at our weekly rodeo.Â Â Charlie went on to shine in the national scene.Â Â His approach was always refreshingly non-selfpromotional.Â Â In an era of "pro boaters" and sponcered athletes Charlie was in it just for fun.
At age 16 Charlie rallied a contingent of Steamboat "hair boaters" to pioneer a first run of the North Fork of Fish Creek.Â Â As described by fellow expeditionist Craig Frithsen, Charlie displayed a maturity and calculated analysis of the run well beyond his years.Â Â "It seemed like there was no way down this drop (later affectionately named "Hairy Beaver") and Charlie made it look like it really wasn't worth so much concern."Â Â He gave the others a line and a feeling the run was manageable.Â Â All first decenders made the run safely and The North Fork of Fish Creek is seldom repeated.
Since then there have been many rodeos, first decents, creeks, flooded rivers and friends made.Â Â Charlie was settling into a job shipping boats for the good folks at Pyrana, couch surfing 'till the next adventure.Â Â The other day I recieved a shipment at our shop of Pyrana boats.Â Â On the outside of one "Charlie Beavers shipped this boat" was his message to his friends in Steamboat Springs.
Our hearts and souls go out to Charlie's friends in Ashville.Â Â Our thoughts are eternally with Bonnie and Wick, Charlies' mother and dad.Â Â We will have a ceremony and rememberace of Charlie Beavers during The Yampa River Festival in Steamboat Springs June 6,7,8 2003.Â Â If you're a friend of Charlie's and in the area, stop on by and paddle a river, get worked in a hole and we'll all raise our glasses to Charlie Beavers... son, friend and adventurer.
Peter Van De Carr