River Runners Gears up for Colorado Rafting Season Kick-Off this Memorial Day Weekend

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Colorado whitewater rafting company gets ready for a big weekend of business and festivities on the Arkansas River.

Spring runoff has started on the Arkansas River in Colorado.

Spring runoff has started on the Arkansas River in Colorado.

Kids are starting to get out of school, graduation ceremonies are wrapping up and the Arkansas River is starting to rise due to spring runoff.

River Runners, a Colorado whitewater rafting company on the Arkansas River, officially kicks off the summer tourist season with Memorial Day weekend festivities to run May 24 - May 27, 2013.

The longtime river outfitter officially opened in April, but Memorial Day weekend is the first big weekend for rafting in Colorado, according to Eileen Peterson, general manager, River Runners.

“Kids are starting to get out of school, graduation ceremonies are wrapping up and the Arkansas River is starting to rise due to spring runoff,” Peterson explained.

The Riverside Grill at River Runners in Buena Vista, Colo. is set to open on Friday of Memorial Day weekend, which Peterson said is a big draw for locals and rafting guests.

“People love hanging out at the Grill before or after their rafting trip, but we also have a lot of locals who come down for the great food and unique atmosphere,” Peterson said.

River Runners will be hosting the Race to the Grill on Memorial Day, which is a low stress downriver race through the Milk Run section of the Arkansas River, according to Travis Hochard, operations manager, River Runners.

“This is a four mile sprint race that is open to rafts, kayaks, duckies and stand-up-paddle boards,” Hochard explained.

Registration for the Race to the Grill is at 11:00 am at River Runners and a free shuttle will be provided to Johnson’s Village where the race begins, according to Hochard.

The River Runners Royal Gorge Rafting Center, eight miles west of Cañon City, Colo., is also open for half day and full day rafting trips through the Royal Gorge and the Bighorn Sheep Canyon, according to Hochard.

“There is still space available, but it is best to book at least several days in advance to ensure availability,” Hochard said.

River Runners has been offering guided whitewater rafting trips on the Arkansas River since 1972. Choose from half day, full day and overnight rafting trips on beginner, intermediate and advanced whitewater. Raft any day May through Labor Day.

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