Stylish rafters preparing for extravaganza
Who says that you can’t float a river dressed like a clown, cowboy or viking?
The annual event on the Smith River is fun for participants and spectators alike. Registration runs from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 14.Del Norte Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
Stylish rafters have a little more than a week to tweak their costumes and decorate water crafts. The 43rd annual Gasquet Raft Races are next Saturday, July 14.
After a record-breaking 174 rafters participated last year, the organizers of this year’s race are motivated to go bigger still.
“We have way more vendors than last year, but we’d still like to have some more,” said coordinator Jina Bowen.
Face painting, a silent auction, and a raffle are a few of the new features that will be at the post-race party at the American Legion Hall in Gasquet.
Large inner tubes (donated by Les Schwab) will be also available for sale and rent.
Vendors interested in setting up shop at the Legion Hall should contact Jina Bowen at 707-954-1836.
Crowd favorites like the deep-pit barbecue and Katie’s famous margaritas will be on scene, while classic rock band Border Coast entertains with live music.
Race competition will be divided into eight categories based on age and mode of transportation (kayakers, oar-driven rafts and hand-paddled rafts).
Hand-crafted trophies designed like wooden ores will be given to the fastest group from each category, the best costume and the most unusual raft. The trophies were created and donated by Jed Smith Redwood Burl Co.
Rafters are encouraged to download a registration form from the Gasquet Raft Races Facebook page to avoid standing in long lines on race day.
Registration for the race runs from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Forks in Gasquet. The cost is $15 per participant, which includes an event T-shirt.
Raffle prizes include a $400 fishing prize for two with Kevin Hicks guide service, a $375 chair from Roxco Furniture, a $275 car detail from California Auto Image, a two-night stay at Middle Fork Ranch and a $150 gift certificate for Les Schwab Tires.
Last year, the American Legion post in Gasquet was able to raise around $11,000 from the races, which was used to pay for a new roof for the hall.
This year, the goal is to raise enough to pay for a new generator to be shared by the American Legion and the Gasquet Fire Department to be used for emergency situations.
For more information, contact Bowen at 707-954-1836.