AW Volunteers of the Month Presented by Kokatat: Bob and Megan Larkin
American Whitewater would like to recognize Bob and Megan Larkin for their tremendous work as coordinators for the Russell Fork Rendezvous. They are our November Volunteers of the Month. Bob and Megan, who have organized the Rendezvous for a number of consecutive years, are part of the Bluegrass Wildwater Association-a club founded in 1976 that works tirelessly to support American Whitewater and shares a similar mission and vision.
The event began in 1994 as a Bluegrass Wildwater Association Fall Party at the Kiwana's Park in Haysi, VA. The next year it became the Rendezvous and the Carolina Canoe Club (thanks to Joe Greiner) joined the event.The race, which had started as a race between friends from Garden Hole to the takeout at Ratliff Hole, was shortened to include Slot (Let's Make a Deal now) through Towers, Fist, and all the way to the current finish line at Climax. Music was central to the event from the beginning, as well as food and a bonfire.
When American Rivers listed the Russell Fork as one of America's top ten most endangered rivers in 1997, more musical acts stepped up to raise money on the river's behalf and the event became a multi-day festival the first weekend in October. There, the Rendezvous stayed through 2003. In 2004, the event was changed back to the last weekend in October and was renamed the Lord of the Fork race in honor of John Lord who passed earlier that year.The festival moved to Elkhorn City, KY until 2017, after which Bob and Megan took on the Herculean task of moving it back to its original stomping ground in Haysi, beginning in 2018. We are so appreciative of Bob and Megan's effort to bring the paddling community together to celebrate this gem of a river in the heart of Appalachia. It takes dedication and countless hours to pull these festivals off and we are so grateful for their work.
As Volunteers of the Month, Bob and Megan will receive a gift certificate from Kokatat, an amazing sponsor of American Whitewater. Make sure to give them both a shout of thanks when you see them on the river!