Swiftwater Rescue Conference & Championship Games hosted at RIVERSPORT OKC in collaboration with OSU's nationally recognized fire rescue program


Conference Aug 28-31 • Championship Sept 1

RIVERSPORT and Oklahoma State University are excited to present the 2023 RIVERSPORT Swiftwater Conference at RIVERSPORT Rapids in Oklahoma City. It is the second year for the conference and championship which earned rave reviews from last year’s participants!

Learn best practices in the classroom from OSU’s nationally recognized fire rescue program, then put them into action on RIVERSPORT’s $45M whitewater rapids facility in this action-packed three-day conference. Curriculum highlights are included below along with recognition for our sponsors who are making this event possible.

This program is designed for both novice and experienced First Responders from fire departments, law enforcement, EMS, US&R and military personnel – anyone charged with responding to flood and swiftwater incidents

Once the training’s done, the Games begin! The 2023 RIVERSPORT Swiftwater Championship Games take place Friday, September 1, and are open to first responders from across the nation. Your entry is included in the conference fee. Compete against the top swiftwater rescuers in America for individual and team prizes, plus the right to be name America’s best.

Building a strong team is key, so throughout the conference we’ll be offering up cookouts, live music events and  the chance to try out RIVERSPORT’s surfing, rafting, indoor snow skiing, and more. We recommend staying in the adjacent Bricktown Entertainment Districthotel discounts available.

Conference registration limited
Your conference registration includes entry into the RIVERSPORT Swiftwater Championship Games!

Register Now  $599 per individual; discounts for teams

2023 Conference Agenda

August 28, 2023
10:00am – 2:00pm • Registration
2:00pm – 5:30pm • PPE, Water and Basic Skill Familiarization for Non-Techs
2:00pm – 3:30pm, Group 1
4:00pm – 5:30pm, Group 2
Tuesday, August 29, 2023
7:00am – 8:00am • Registration
8:15am – 8:45am • Welcome & Safety Brief
8:45am – 5:00pm • Training (Lunch Provided)
6:00pm – 8:00pm • Evening Social Event…surfing, skiing, rafting and more will be open to participants
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
8:00am – 8:30am • Safety Brief
8:30am – 5:00pm • Training (Lunch Provided)
Thursday, August 31, 2023
8:00am – 8:30am • Safety Brief
8:30am – 5:00pm • Training (Lunch Provided)
Friday, September 1, 2023
8:00am – 8:30am • Safety Brief
8:30am – 5:00pm • Day 4 – Swiftwater Championship Competition (Participants are on their own for lunch)
Teams must bring their own boats to compete in boating events


Basic paddling & raft flips
Throw bags & water entries
Strainers then blowouts
Wade crossings, foot entrapments & fire hose rescue
Vehicle rescues
Eddy swims & vector lowers
Continuous loop
MCP with raft & rescuer
Live bait, swim line & across pendulum rescue
Tension diagonal with rope curtain
River crossing using tension diagonal
Flatwater boat skills

Swiftwater Conference Instructor Bios

Greg Merrell
Greg Merrell is a Battalion Chief with Oklahoma City Fire Department.  He is a Task Force Leader with OK-TF 1 Urban Search & Rescue Team.  He has served as Company Officer at the OKC FD technical rescue station.  He has multiple national and in state US&R deployments, serving as Rescue Team Manager & Task Force Leader.  He currently instructs for Oklahoma State University – Fire Service Training and Animal Search & Rescue Training.  Greg has instructed Fire Department, US&R, Law Enforcement, EMS and Military personnel throughout the United States in all rescue disciplines, specializing in Swiftwater Rescue & Rescue Boat Operations.  Prior to joining the Fire Service, Greg served on Active Duty as a UH-60 Pilot-in-Command, Unit Trainer and Aviation Safety Officer. 

Terry Sivadon
Terry Sivadon is a Captain with the Tulsa Fire Department where he serves as the Rescue Coordinator. He has 28 years with the department and 22 years as part of the rescue program. Terry is also the Program Manager for OK-TF1. He has been a member of the task force since 2005 where he has served as a Rescue Specialist, Logistics Team Manager and Task Force Leader. 

Mike Mather
Mike Mather started Mather Rescue in 1991 having gained his Swiftwater rescue experience as a Class 5 International Whitewater and Rock-Climbing Guide.  Mike is one of the more experience and entertaining rescue professionals in the industry.  As a Rescue 3 International and American Canoe Association Instructor Trainer Educator he has taught technical rescue courses all over the US as well as Internationally in Swiftwater, Boat Operations, RWC/PWC, and Technical Rope.  Mike excels at instruction in all technical rescue disciplines for Military, Rescue Professionals, Experienced Boaters and Novices alike.
Trever Merrell
Trever Merrell is a Firefighter with Oklahoma City Fire Department.  He is assigned to Station 7, serving on both the Engine and Truck Company.  He is a technician in all rescue disciplines.  He instructs for Oklahoma State University – Fire Service Training in Rope Rescue and Swiftwater Rescue.   Trever also teaches fire classes, technical rescue and hazardous materials classes at Pontotoc Technology Center in Ada, OK. 

Matt Bell
Matt Bell 25 years in the fire service. Currently a captain on Rescue 4 Tulsa fire department. Serves as a task force leader for OK-TF 1. Matt has been activated on several deployments to hurricanes including Katrina and involved in multiple water rescues across the state of Oklahoma. Matt has a passion for water rescue, specializing in swift water Boat operations. 

Tanner Goodwin
Tanner Goodwin is a Captain with Oklahoma City Fire Department, he has served OKC for over 10 years.   He is currently assigned as Company Officer at Fire Station 7.  Most of his fire service career has been assigned to the OKC FD Technical Rescue and Water Rescue Stations.  For the last seven years Captain Goodwin has been an active member of OKTF1 and has experienced multiple national and state-wide deployments to include Hurricane Harvey.  Tanner also serves as a Rescue Swimmer for the OK-TF 1 Helicopter Rescue Team and is part of the OKC FD helicopter team.  Tanner teaches technical rescue for OSU-FST and serves as an instructor for OSU-OKC’s Fire Protection Academy.

Jason “Weasel” Montgomery
Jason Ashlee Montgomery is a Lieutenant with Oklahoma City Fire Department, serving 8 years with OKC FD.  Previously he was a member of the OKC FD water rescue team, assigned to the Water Rescue and Dive Operations station.  He is a current member of the OK-TF 1 Helicopter Search and Rescue Team.   He has deployed throughout the United States for flood rescue response.  Jason has always looked up to his idol, Hooter Porter and hopes to have the reach and knowledge to educate rescuers across the country as Hooter has done for him.   He is an expert Noodler and welcomes one and all to join him setting and checking barrels at the lake. 

Wade “Hooter” Porter
Wade Porter is a Lieutenant with Oklahoma City Fire Department.  He has 8 years with OKC FD and over 15 years in the fire service.  Wade is a live scent K9 handler and rescue specialist with OK-TF 1.  He is a technical rescue and fire instructor with Oklahoma State University – Fire Service Training.  He has been assigned to the OKC FD water rescue, dive operations and technical rescue station.  Wade is a spiritual man and believes Winnie the Pooh to be his spirit animal. 

Brody Largent
Brody Largent is a Sergeant with Oklahoma City Fire Department.  He is assigned to Fire Station 34, one of Oklahoma City FD’s Water Rescue Stations, specializing in Swiftwater Rescue and SCUBA dive operations.  He teaches Swiftwater rescue and rope rescue operations for Oklahoma State University – Fire Service Training.  Brody also teaches fire classes and technical rescue at Pontotoc Technology Center. 

Miles Kehr
Miles Kehr grew up in Alaska for twenty years, after graduating the University of Oklahoma he joined the Oklahoma City Fire Department in 2015. He has since served in the Oklahoma City Fire Department for 7 years, the last three having been a part of the water rescue and dive operations team. Kehr got started in rescue 5 years ago and has been teaching water rescue for Oklahoma State for the last four years. 

Bill VerSteeg
Bill Ver Steeg has been employed with the Euless Fire Department for 26 years.  He currently holds the rank of Battalion Chief.  He is the Special Operations Coordinator for EFD as well as a SWR/TRT Coordinator for the North East Fire Department Association (NEFDA).  Chief Ver Steeg is an Adjunct Instructor for Tarrant County College where he teaches SWR, USAR Boat, Rookies, and other Special Operations classes.  Additionally, he is a Rescue Specialist, Boat Operator, and Flood Boat instructor on the state US&R team. 

Robert Lambert
Robert Lambert has over 20 years in the fire service and currently holds the rank of Battalion Chief over Training and EMS for the Lake Cities Fire Department.  He is an adjunct instructor for Tarrant County College.  He teaches all Special Operations classes and is the program lead for Tarrant County College’s US&R boat program.  Robert is also a member of a State Response Team, and there he is, a Rescue Team Manager and very active in the water response program for them.  

Tae Kim
Tae Kim has been employed with Dallas Fire Rescue for 16 years and currently holds the rank of Lieutenant. He is assigned as a company officer at one of the two swift water rescue stations in the city. He has been a long-standing participant and one of the leading instructors of the swift water program for Dallas for the last several years.  Tae also holds active memberships in the US&R, HazMat, and Wildland programs. Lt. Kim has developed a Dallas Specific program for all the new recruits joining Dallas Fire and serves as the lead instructor for this program.  He also spends his time teaching at Tarrant County Community College as an adjunct instructor for both water rescue and USAR boat operator program.  At the state level, he is actively involved as a rescue squad officer in state USAR team and is one of the instructors for the USAR boat operator program.

Work hard. Play hard.

RIVERSPORT and OSU are excited to bring this unique training opportunity to America’s First Responders – we hope you can join us! Questions? Email us at [email protected].