Top paddlers from the United States will race on the Oklahoma River Friday and Saturday for the chance to represent their country in world competitions this year.
The Boathouse District is hosting the 2013 USA Canoe/Kayak Flatwater Sprint Team Trials, which attracts the elite paddlers in the country.
At stake are spots on the USA's junior team (age 18 and younger), under 23 team and senior national teams (any age).
Among the participants will be Dylan Puckett of Jones, who is trying to be the first kayaker from Oklahoma to earn a spot on the junior team since the Boathouse District was built on the Oklahoma River.
Puckett, whose goal is to make the 2016 Olympic team, joined the OKC RIVERSPORT's Youth Sprint Kayak team in 2007.
Puckett, 17, won the national championship in the men's single 1,000 meters for ages 16 and younger the past two years.
He has shaved 20 seconds off his best time from last year and has high hopes this weekend of qualifying for the junior world team.
That team will represent the United States at the Junior World Championships in Canada on Aug. 1-4
Puckett also will be racing for a spot on the junior world team in the men's double 1,000 meters with partner Istvan Urvan of Hungary, who lives in San Diego, Calif.
“If I don't do well, I will be disappointed,” Puckett said.
Also racing on the Oklahoma River Friday and Saturday will be Bria Cornforth of Oklahoma City, another rising star in kayaking from the Boathouse District.
Cornforth is only 13 but will race in the women's single 500 and 200 meters events. She started kayaking with OKC RIVERSPORT at age 8 and now trains with the senior national team.
She will be the youngest participant in the Canoe/Kayak Flatwater Sprint Team Trials.
Cornforth knows making the world junior team is a long shot this year because she will be racing against older, more experienced paddlers.
For now, she will be satisfied with just getting faster on the water.
“This experience goes a long way,” Cornforth said. “When I am on the water, it's just to be better than I was the day before.”