Jeremy Adkins forged a connection with the Black Warrior River as a young boy, kayaking with his father and traveling to festivals across the country. Though Adkins will tell you it was at those festivals where he met the full lineup of his dad’s beer drinking buddies, he also learned what worked and what didn’t in regards to whitewater festivals.
Jeremy is the founder of the Alabama Mountain Games, a three-day festival based at Boogie Bottoms in Blount County, Ala. In what initially began as the North Alabama Whitewater Festival, it has since evolved to feature music, disc-golf and a handful of other activities, forcing the term whitewater out of the title. The Alabama Mountain Games kicks off with Huckfest, a freestyle kayaking competition, located on Short Creek in Guntersville, Ala.
For Jeremy, the Black Warrior River has been an outlet for spiritual release. It is a simple connection for Adkins and he feels that others could benefit from it as well. He will often ask his paddling friends is they are going to church on Sunday, but when Adkins refers to church, he means the river.
Adkins is a veteran in the sport of freestyle kayaking. A member of the Jackson Kayaks whitewater regional staff, Adkins has taught multiple members of the United States Freestyle Kayaking Team and has managed to start his own business, all while maintaining a restaurant job. He claims that his best days on the river are ones where he can notice a sense of fulfillment in those who he teaches. From small children to injured combat veterans, Adkins aims to spread his whitewater wisdom to all those willing to listen.
“The river can teach you every lesson you need to know and that’s what amazes me,” said Adkins. “It teaches you how to respect things, your culture, your spirituality, how to control emotions, fear and anxiety. It is amazing what it can teach you when you’re out there.”