Home » Raccoon River Rally » Raccoon River Palooza – Cardboard Boat Race Registration

Raccoon River Palooza – Cardboard Boat Race Registration

Please complete a separate form for each team participating in the boat race.

All ages are welcome to participate and there is no limit regarding how many people can be on a team. The number of heats (races) will be determined after all applications are received.  Completed entries will be confirmed on a first come/first-served basis. Our goal is to ensure the safety and FUN of all event participants. We request that entries be submitted in advance, but on-site/day-of registrations will be accepted. In the case of inclement weather day of the event (thunder & lightning), the race will not take place.

**All participants must sign a liability waiver before racing. Click here to view the waiver.


  1. To qualify as a finalist, participants must correctly navigate the racecourse around the buoys at Blue Heron Lake and all crew members must be in the boat as it crosses the finish line. It will be a short course.
  2. All boats must display their boat name bold on two sides so judges and timekeepers can see them.
  3. All boat occupants must bring their own and wear appropriately sized, properly fastened U.S. Coast Guard- approved life jackets.
  4. Any paddle or oar (made of any material) is permitted to aid in your race. Boats can also be propelled by “convenient body parts”.
  5. Each occupant must be visible while the boat is in the water.
  6. Boats must be free of sharp edges or anything that could pose a danger.
  7. All participants must be able to swim.
  8. Crews will start the race at the beach area and teams are allowed to get all the help they need in launching off. There is no limit to the number of helpers.
  9. Participants MUST retrieve their boat – or its remains – from the water. After races, if you do not wish to keep your boat, please place it and its remains in the boat graveyard located by the beach.
  10. Foul-play or non-sportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated and will result in immediate disqualification.
  11. All decisions made by race judges and staff are final.
  12. Violators of these rules shall be branded “pirates” and stripped of any awards.


The following materials ARE ALLOWED to build your creation:

  • Corrugated cardboard or cardboard ‘blocks’
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Fastening materials such as duct or masking tape, liquid nails adhesive, latex paint and varnish
  • Boats may be painted with water-based paint and sealer must be dry before the boat enters the water

The following materials ARE NOT ALLOWED:

  • Cardboard may not have any wax, resin or vinyl coating
  • Wood or Styrofoam
  • Plastic or plastic sheathing
  • Fiberglass
  • Sona-tubes or coated cardboard
  • Silicon, wax, or tar
  • Caulking compounds
  • Metal, staples, clamps, screws, nails, or anything sharp


A water safety patrol will be on site to ensure the safety of all participants. The patrol includes a motorized boat and several kayaks. West Des Moines EMS will also be on site in the case of an emergency.

Skip to content