It’s Time to Get Your Ship Together for the 4th Annual Rock River Anything That Floats RacePopular raft race gives back locally; announces 2019 event details



January 17, 2019


ROCKFORD, IL –The Rock River Raft Race NFP board proudly announced a successful 2018 raft race resulting in significant funds raised to benefit three local organizations. Event details were also unveiled for the fourth annual Rock River Anything That Floats Race (RRATFR) returning to the Rockford region Sunday, August 18, 2019 (rain date is Sunday, August 25) from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The organizing board leads the event 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, Rockford Park District Forest City Queen Fund, and Rockford Ski Broncs. Each organization received $3,000 to go towards providing improvements which will ultimately assist in bringing more residents and visitors to the Downtown Rockford River area for entertainment and recreation.


New this year, the RRATFR announced a partnership with Rocktown Adventures, a local outdoor retail and rental shop, located on Madison Street near the river. The partnership will provide an opportunity to rent a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard from Rocktown, and include transportation to the start line.


Also announced were plans to keep the hulled and DIY raft categories with first, second, and third prizes for speed as well as a People’s Choice and ‘Frank Schier Design and Creativity’ Judges Choice awards to determine 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 2019 race on the website at The registration deadline is August 8, 2019 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).


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 Blind Date.


Also watch for the Gilligan’s, who will be performing on a floating barge on the river during the race.


"We continue to build on each year and look forward to another great opportunity to see the fun, creative, and competitive side of our participants come out. Having the new hulled division has brought another layer of excitement to the race.


The community has embraced the event and now, in its fourth year, has become another annual event to bring people to downtown Rockford and enjoy the riverfront,” said Chris Manuel, Rock River Raft Race NFP board secretary and treasurer. “One of Rockford’s greatest assets is the river, and we are grateful to be a part of highlighting it.”


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, 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 for the third year. Tickets go on sale for rubber ducks at the Rockford IceHogs’ last 2019 home game on Sunday, April 14. 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 apack of five ducks for $20, with proceeds benefiting local charities.iting local charities. 


The Chuck-a-Duck Race will be held on race day, Aug. 18, 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 2019-20 hockey season, game-worn memorabilia/jersey, an autographed IceHogs stick and tickets to home games for the upcoming season.


It takes 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 planning in advance, to 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 new Rock 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 Associate Director of Marketing & Communications / RRATFR board member: 815.489.1664 or