Bickham SI Photoshoot 2“Beat Bickham” was the rallying cry of his opponents in the early 1960’s. Bill was on the first descent of the Upper Yough in 1959, along with Tom Smyth and Dave Kurtz. His swim earned him the privilege of having a rapid named after him — Bickham’s Tree Rapid — although today boaters will know the rapid as Meatcleaver. But he’s better known as a champion slalom race. For a few years, Bill was dominating the races, becoming national champion multiple times. He was profiled in Sports Illustrated (photo above), and even once had the honor of racing C-2 with Robert Kennedy.