Raft Race signup extended to Aug. 15

By Frank Schier 
Editor & Publisher 

ROCKFORD – The Aug. 1 registration deadline has been extended to Aug. 15 for the Rock River Anything That Floats Race (RRATFR).

More than 35 teams have registered but up to 100 teams will be accepted. You and yours, your friends, neighbors and co-workers still have time to design and register your own HMS Bounty, Kon-Tiki, Santa Maria, Mayflower, or Noah’s Ark at rratfr.com.

RRATFR Co-chair Chris Manuel urges prospective rafter and paddlers to “please hurry and sign up before Aug. 15. The captains’ meeting is the is on Aug. 15, where you can meet fellow captains and other participants. The captains’ meeting will be held at the Prairie Street Brewhouse in the Peacock Room at 6 p.m.”

Register today with your creative raft idea. Not only do you get to have fun, but you will help raise money for several good waterfront causes. This effort is to pay homage to our Fourth of July tradition and prominent hometown Rock River organizations. The RRATFR committee made the decision to use the profits of the race to help offset costs associated with the Fourth of July fireworks display and Holiday Lighting events, along with assisting other river oriented local non-for-profits, the Rock River Trail Initiative, and the Rockford Ski Broncs.

Take a look at the website to see the self-powered creativity of the 1990’s. Rock River rafts for the race came in form of the Space Shuttle – complete with space-walking astronaut – a gondola; a giant duck; the Budweiser Beer Wagon – complete with horses – a dragon; a giant carp; a banana boat; a forklift; a bi-plane; a helicopter; a stick of butter; a turtle; a waffle; a toy truck; the Batraft (pictured); a bus; and yes, even Noah’s Ark and the Titanic – complete with deadly iceberg. These pictures are time machines inviting you to hop on board and have new fun creating new memories.

Prizes and medals will be awarded for First Place; Most Creative Design; and People’s Choice. You may also see a RRATFR 50/50 raffle.

Yes, you could ask your club or employer to sponsor you, the entry fee is only $100. Some past sponsor/racers were Nylint Toys; Mary’s Market; RMTD; an unknown bank’s raft, “Can I Float You A Loan”; Forest Hills Cleaners; Sunset Lounge; St. Joseph’s Hospital; The House On The Rock; Baskin-Robbins; Rockford College; Venice Terrazzo and Tile Co.; and Material Handling Company.

So far, this year’s major sponsors are Rock Valley Credit Union and Prairie Street Brewhouse.

The organizing sponsors are: Prairie Street Brewhouse; Midwest Family Broadcasting Group; Channel 13 WREX; The Rock River Times; Rockford Park District; Graham-Spencer and CMM & Associates.

To date, this year’s in-kind sponsors include Rock River Disposal; Metro Ambulance; Wilson Towing, Sam’s Towing; Rock River Enterprises and Barge; Bourn & Koch, Inc.; Fehr Graham; Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau; Joseph James/Rockford City Market; Ski Broncs; Tyler’s Landscaping; Nels Ackerlund Photography; Marion S. Momaly CPA, MST; YouthBuild; Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department; Rockford Fire Department; and Loves Park Fire Department.

For you non-builders/designers, register to race for only $15 for a kayak, canoe, or stand up paddleboard. Prizes and medals will be awarded! You can even rent your boat at Rocktown Adventures, 313 N. Madison St, 815-636-9066. They have 10 rentals available, so you’d better make your reservations soon.

With the Aug. 15 registration deadline and Aug. 21 race day readily approaching, get going right away on your raft with materials from Youthbuild’s Salvage Too, 902 S. Main St., a fine source of good, inexpensive lumber. Open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday-Friday, their materials are cheaper than any big box store and “Green,” with their reuse products kept out of the landfill. Give Salvage Too a call at 815-963-6236. Another great place for quality, recycled raft materials is Habitat ReStore, 986 W. Riverside Blvd. (North Towne Mall), 815-713-3184. They’re open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday-Friday and until 4 p.m. on Saturday.

How to get involved

•For all information regarding the race please visit rratfr.com or get updates on Facebook.

•For volunteer opportunities, contact Amy McIntyre, Facility Manager for the Rockford Park District Ice Facilities, amymcintyre@rockfordparkdistrict.org.

•For vendor opportunities, contact Cathy McDermott, Director Rockford City Market, cathy.mcdermott@rrdp.org.

•For sponsorship opportunities, contact Mike Paterson,General Manager, Mid-West Family Broadcasting, mpaterson@rmgmwf.com.

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