The original Colorado raft team (Team Timberline) was formed in 1998; that year the “green” paddling team competed in Gore Canyon against a senior and experienced Women’s California team who had already been to the World Rafting Championships as the US Team. The Colorado girls had a lot of spirit, a commercial boat and commercial paddles. They were beat by approximately 2 minutes. The girls were not disheartened, but encouraged, to move forward in order to eventually overtake the California girls and earn their place as the Women’s US Team.
Back in 2000 Mike Reid, Tom Olson, and Matt Dopp formed a team to participate in local raft races. The trio recruited three other river guides and signed up for the local Dowd Chute race in Vail CO. We took second at that race, behind the national defending champions at the time, John Rices Clear Creek team. Thinking, maybe if we trained, we could beat John at Gore Canyon later that summer. Winning would qualify us for the World Championship on the Zambezi in Zimbabwe. After training all summer for the chance to dethrone the boys from Clear Creek, we lost coming in 15th out of 30 teams. That Gore race taught us one very important lesson, we need a better team. So, we went in search for the best paddlers in the Vail. Chip Carney and Sean Vierling joined the team for the start of next season. After pooling our funds, we bought a black raft form Sotar and made our debut that race season at the Dowd Chute race as Team Behind the 8-Ball. The black raft reminded us of the 8-ball of a billiards game. We wanted to have every raft behind us - so we coined the name Behind the Eight Ball.
The following year, the 2001 Nationals were held on the Arkansas River in CO. Behind the Eight Ball took third, once again losing to John Rices team. After the race we were shooting pool with Todd Toledo. At that time Todd was racing with his own team but we needed him on ours. During the game Todd hit a shoot leaving the cue ball behind the eight ball. I told him once again there you are behind the eight ball. One week later he joined our team.
At the end of that season Matt Dopp was going to move to Oregon and we needed a replacement, but not just any replacement. After the Gore race in 2001 we asked Chris Mongo Reeder, who had been heading a team of his own for years, to join us. Now Behind the Eight Ball was complete.
The next summer Behind the Eight Ball went to West Virginia to vie for the 2002 National title and finally beat John and Clear Creek. John Rices team won the slalom event but we won the sprint evet. The National title came down to the last event, the downriver. We won by several minutes! That was the start of our nine year run as National Champions, travels around the world and many great adventures with friends and family. The team has changed over the years, but three of the original members remain, Mike Reid, Todd Toledo and Chris Mongo Reeder.
Matt Dopp 2000-2001
Sean Vierling 2001-2003
Tom Olsen 2001-2003
Ben Bungarts 2002-2005
Brent Redden 2004-2006
Ollie Dose 2004-2008
Chip Carney 2001-2009
Brandon Levy 2004-2006
Dave Digiannantonio. 2008