It’s Never Too Early to Get Your Ship Together for the 3rd Annual Rock River Anything That Floats RacePopular raft race gives back locally; announces 2018 event details



April 5, 2018


ROCKFORD, IL –The Rock River Raft Race NFP board proudly announced a successful 2017 raft race resulting in significant donations raised to benefit three local organizations. Event details were also unveiled for the third annual Rock River Anything That Floats Race (RRATFR) returning to the Rockford region Sunday, August 12, 2018 (rain date is Sunday, August 19) from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The organizing board leads the race with the help of many individuals in the community, volunteers and sponsors.


The RRATFR has helped to raise donations to support local efforts for the Fourth of July event, Rock River Trail Initiative and Rockford Ski Broncs. In 2017, the event was widely attended with over 40 rafts and 200 participating rafters who collectively generated $9,000 in net proceeds. Each organization received $3,000 to go towards upgrades and improvements that will ultimately help to bring more residents and visitors to their attractions and establishments each year.


New this year will be a category for rafts using boat hulls. Hulled craft from canoes to rowboats to ski boats can be decorated and compete for First, Second and Third speed prizes. In addition, traditional DIY rafts will compete in their own speed category, and People Choice and the ‘Frank Schier Creativity’ Judges Choice awards will decide the most creative designs. Local area businesses, clubs, students and other groups of individuals are encouraged to sign up and make this event a fun team-building experience.


Participants can begin registering for the 2018 race on the website at The registration deadline is August 1, 2018 or before all entry slots are filled (limit of 100 rafts). The entry fee for rafts (with hulls or without hulls) is $100 per team (up to 10 crew members) and $15 per canoe, kayak or S.U.P.


Race day schedule of events includes:

  • 10:00 a.m.: Sign-in starts (all categories)
  • 12:00 p.m.: Race begins at the Auburn Street bridge
  • 3:30 p.m.: Rubber Duck Drop off the Whitman Street Bridge
  • 4:30 p.m.: Awards ceremony at Prairie Street Brewhouse
  • 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.: After-party at Prairie Street Brewing Company featuring local band Dirty Fishnet Stockings


"The last couple years have been a blast bringing back the raft race and activating our Rock River. We are truly grateful for the community’s support and can’t wait to see what types of designs teams come up with for their rafts this year,” said Chris Manuel, Rock River Raft Race NFP board secretary and treasurer. “By adding in the brand new ‘raft with hull’ category we are hoping that will make the challenge even more fun for participants. It’s fun to have creative freedom. Most of all, we just want people to come out to enjoy a good time and a good laugh, too.”


The race course is 1.65 miles in length and ends in a grand finish at Prairie Street Brewhouse. The scenic course offers a variety of viewing options for the thousands of spectators who will attend: Auburn Street Bridge, the Whitman Street Bridge, and along the Rock River Recreation Path.


The Chuck-a-Duck Race sponsored by the Rockford IceHogs and YMCA Intern Challenge is back by popular demand. Tickets go on sale for rubber ducks at the Rockford IceHogs’ last 2018 home game on Friday, April 13. After the game they will be available at select locations in Rockford, including the BMO Harris Bank Center Box Office, three local YMCA locations, Prairie Street Brewing Co. (including at Dinner on the Docks) and Owly Oop Sports Pub. Participants may purchase individual ducks for $5, or a pack of five ducks for $20 with proceeds benefiting local charities. 


The Chuck-a-Duck race will be held on race day, Aug. 12, at approximately 3:30 p.m. The rubber ducks will be dropped into the river off the Whitman St. Bridge and will float downstream to Prairie Street Brewing Co. Cash prizes of $1,000, $500 and $250 will be awarded to the first, second and third place finishers of the duck race and additional prizes for participants will include an IceHogs suite for one game during the 2018-19 hockey season, game-worn memorabilia/jersey, an autographed IceHogs stick and tickets to Hogs home games for the upcoming season.


It takes many, many volunteers to put on an event like the Rock River Anything That Floats Race. The board is looking for people interested in numerous roles to make this event a success, from assisting with rafts entering the water to helping clean up the riverfront. You can be part of the crew! Visit the “VOLUNTEER” tab at to sign up and help.


The board is also looking for corporate partners to help support this event. If you are interested in being part of this great community event as it grows, contact for more information.


About The Race

Initially launched in 1976 (U.S. Bicentennial) as a US. vs. Brits race, after two years with only two teams, it was opened to the public. More than just an homage to the incredibly popular raft races of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s - the all neRock River Anything That Floats Race will be a brand new tradition for generations of Rockfordians to love and experience. Additional event details can be found at




FOR MORE INFORMATION: Andrea Cook, RACVB marketing & communications manager / RRATFR board member: 815.489.1664 or