Mountain High 

Folks, the time has come to suit up and perfect your flip turns, spins and other playboating moves. That's because on Sat., May 14, the Zoo Town Surfers host the 12th annual Best in the West Freestyle Kayak Competition at Brennan's Wave, which organizers dub as the "longest standing kayak competition in the west." It begins with registration and practice rides for any and all interested kayakers from 10 AM–noon, followed by a competitors meeting at 12:30 PM. The contest, which attracts throngs of spectators (just check YouTube for evidence), follows from 1–6 PM and promises the winner the prize of a "legendary belt buckle." Besides some water wise fun, the event also doubles as a fundraiser for The Max Wave—a surf wave that's planned for the Clark Fork River near downtown Missoula in memory of late local kayaker Max Lentz, who died at the age of 17 while kayaking in West Virginia.

The 12th annual Best in the West Freestyle Kayak Competition is Sat., May 14, with competition from 1–6 PM at Brennan's Wave on the Clark Fork River at Caras Park. $35 registration with a T-Shirt/$25 registration without/free to spectate. Call 546-0370 or visit zootownsurfers.com.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CHAD HARDER

THURSDAY MAY 12

Walk off your flub to help raise money for playground improvements at Arlee Elementary School during the third annual Walk-A-Thon, from 6-9 PM at the track and surrounding grounds of Arlee High School, 72220 Fyant St. Participants are asked to solicit donations before their walk, and the event also includes a chili feed, bake sale and door prizes. For more info or to donate, call Dori at 726-3216 Ext. 2221.

FRIDAY MAY 13

Learn how to prepare for high water when Montana River Guides presents a Swiftwater Rescue Technician course, which is tailored for raft guides and private boaters and meets today through May 15 at TBA locations on the Blackfoot River and Alberton Gorge near Missoula. $335. RSVP and get directions by calling 777-4837. Visit montanariverguides.com.

Kids in Missoula can hike, bike, raft, canoe and swim to their heart's content, and learn skills in leadership, self-confidence and teamwork, during Missoula Outdoor Learning Adventures' Outdoor Adventure Summer Camp, which is currently open for registration. Camps run each week from June 6–Aug. 26. $150 per one-week session, with a $50 deposit check per week. Get details at missoulaoutdoors.com.

SATURDAY MAY 14

Double the fun by passing through divides and passes on your bicycle when Missoulians on Bicycles presents its Paul O' Connell Memorial Ride, an 80-mile jaunt from Sula to Wisdom that begins with carpool departure at 7:30 AM from Kmart, 3626 Brooks St. Alternately, you can meet at the Sula Store in Sula at 9 AM. Free. Call Norman at 370-3876 and visit missoulabike.org/ride-details for updates on other rides.

Youth ages 6 and up get the good word on birds when Missoula Children and Nature presents a birding adventure with Larry Weeks of The Five Valleys Audubon Society, which consists of a stroll along the Kim Williams Trail to look for birds beginning with a meet up at 8 AM at the Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St. Free. Call Ian at 396-9562.

Push your soles to the limit during the Great Northern 5K Fun Run and Walk, a race that raises funds for Rails to Trails of Northwest Montana and begins with day-of registration at 8 AM at the Meridian Court Business Complex cul-de-sac in Kalispell, near the corner of Center and Meridian streets. A 1-mile kids sprint follows at 9:30 AM, followed by the race at 10. $50 for a family of four/$20 per person. Visit gn5k.com for details.

Smack around a softball or just watch a slew of female softball players do the same during the Porky's Women's Benefit Softball Tournament, which raises money for a cancer patient in Missoula and occurs today and tomorrow at around 8:30 AM at McCormick Park. $175 per team, but players must be sanctioned by the Amateur Softball Association of America. The tournament is free for spectators. Call Elaine at 728-4179.

Wear your avian appreciation shades during the National Bison Range's International Migratory Bird Day in Moiese. The celebration features a number of activities starting at 8 AM, including bird watching on the 19-mile Red Sleep Mountain Drive (weather permitting), bird ID workshops, and even a seminar on gardening for wildlife and birds. Register and get more info by calling 644-2211 ext. 207 or by e-mailing bisonrange@fws.gov.

Have a pack off with a guy named Smoke when the Glacier Outdoor Center, 12400 Hwy. 2 E. in West Glacier, presents Smoke Elser's Wilderness Outfitting and Packing Course, from 9 AM–5 PM today, and at the same time on Sun. $200, includes lunch. Call 888-5454 to register.

Give Sgt. Pepper a reason to twist and shout on the ice rink when the Missoula Figure Skating Club presents its 14th annual Showcase on Ice with The Beatles iShow, an ice skating performance featuring group and solo performances by club members of hits by The Beatles, starting at 6:30 PM at the Glacier Ice Rink, 1101 South Ave. W. $20 family/$8 adults/$4 children. Call 529-5496 or visit missoulafsc.org.

TUESDAY MAY 17

Do your part to help control a nasty noxious weed during a Dyer's Woad Pull, which begins at 6:30 PM at the Mount Sentinel Trailhead. Free. Call Marilyn at 544-7189 for details

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