Photo Courtesy of Lori W

The Rock River Raft Race NFP board proudly announced a successful 2019 raft race resulting in significant donations raised to benefit three local organizations. Event details were also unveiled for the fifth annual Rock River Anything That Floats Race (RRATFR) taking place Sunday, August 16, 2020 (rain date is Sunday, August 23) 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 Rockford 4th of July Committee, Ski Broncs and the Rockford Park District Forest City Queen Fund. In 2019, the event was widely attended with more than 40 rafts and 200 participating rafters who collectively generated $9,000 in net proceeds. 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.

Photo Courtesy of Lori W

In its fifth year after relaunching the popular race which originally began in 1976, the RRATFR is a novel way to spend a great day on the Rock River. The race course is 1.65 miles long and ends in a grand finish at Prairie Street Brewing Co. There are three categories for awards – Speed, People’s Choice and the Frank Scheir Design and Creativity Judges’ Choice. Local area businesses, clubs, student groups and other organizations and groups of individuals are encouraged to “get their ship together” and take part in this unique Rockford tradition.

Participants can register now for the 2020 race on the website at Registration deadline is August 9, 2020 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
  • 10:00 a.m.: Live radio remote, entertainment, food and drinks at race start line on Illinois Street near old Coast Guard Station
  • 12:00 p.m.: Race begins at the Auburn Street Bridge
  • 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Live music by The Gilligans from a barge patrolling the river
  • 3:30 p.m.: Chuck-a-Duck drop off the Whitman Street Bridge
  • 4:30 p.m.: Awards ceremony at Prairie Street Brewing Company
  • 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.: After-party at Prairie Street Brewing Company featuring local band Blind Date

“If you’ve ever thought, ‘that Rock River Anything That Floats Rock River Raft Race looks like fun,’ well you’d be right,” said Chris Manuel, RRATF board member, “Whether you participate as a ‘rafter’ or watch from the banks of the Rock River, you will definitely have a great time. 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.”

Photo Courtesy of Lori W

The Chuck-a-Duck Race sponsored by the Rockford IceHogs and YMCA Intern Challenge is back for the fifth year. Tickets go on sale for rubber ducks at the Rockford IceHogs’ last 2020 home game on Saturday, April 11. 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. 16, 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 Hogs home games for the upcoming season.

Photo Courtesy of Lori W

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 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

160 thoughts on “It’s Time To Get Your Ship Together For The Next Rock River Raft Race

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