Adam Spencer, The Triplicate

Stylish rafters preparing for extravaganza

Who says that you can't float a river dressed like a clown, cowboy or viking?

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


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


Rafters are encouraged to download a registration form from the

Gasquet Raft Races Facebook page to avoid standing in long lines on race


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.