What a weekend! Each paddling season is officially begun with the most stimulating event of spring: Rutabaga Paddlesport Shop’s famed Canoecopia. The expo was held from March 11th to March 13th at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin, and drew canoe-loving crowds in the thousands. I’ve been to this expo just about every spring, and this one was spectacular as always. The enormous hall is packed full of vendors…everywhere you look, there is eye-candy for paddlers, boats, paddles, gear, clothes, tents, shoes, the whole works…it’s your basic nirvana. For me, this event is also a great opportunity to catch up with friends, sponsors, and paddling gurus. For the past two years, I have been fortunate enough to be invited to speak at Canoecopia, about my experiences competing. Year One didn’t go so hot. I had some technological difficulties, and was very freaked out. This year was much better. Public speaking still scares me more than competing in World Championships, but I was a bit better at hiding it, and thank goodness, my Power Point functioned relatively smoothly! In addition to telling the stories about Junior and Senior World Championships, I was fortunate enough to have my friend/mentor/hero, Pam Boteler there with me, and she spoke for a bit about the Women in Canoe controversy, and the struggle to be included in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. All in all, it was a fantastic weekend, and I’m already getting excited for next year’s expo!