River Races


Rubber Ducky Race

With super high river flows expected this year, UWP is replacing the Rubber Ducky Race with a Rubber Ducky Hunt – we don’t want to lose ducks or duck collectors down the river! Rubber Ducky hunting permits good for capturing two ducks are $10, or buy two permits for five ducks at $20. Purchases begin at noon on June 24 at Rollans Park, and close at 3:15 p.m. The hunt is from 3:30 to 3:45 p.m. in the riparian tree grove, and winner selection and announcement is at 4 p.m. on stage!

The Rubber Ducky Hunt Grand Prize is $250 cash  from Black Hills Energy and a RiverFest hat. Three runners-up will receive a Ouray hat and a family pass to the Ute Indian Museum.

The Main Events at RiverFest

Due to high river flows from a lot of snowmelt this year, it may not be possible to wade or swim in the swift-moving Uncompahgre River. So, the only people who will really enjoy the river will be those with a competitive spirit who join the river races.

The winners of the Junk of the Unc and River Races win a prized RiverFest award, handcrafted by Ridgway artist Joanne Taplin and donated by Canyon Bridge.

Junk of the Unc

Thrills and spills await brave boaters as they maneuver their junk craft through the Uncompahgre River at Rollans Park toward the finish line, about 100 feet downstream.  Winners must cross the line with most of their junk intact. During low flows, Junk competitors should plan for the possibility of carrying their craft through the low water to get to the end of the course! Get tips and lots of information (including rules) on what it takes to compete in this wacky race on the Junk of the Unc page.

For 2023, one special Junk of the Unc prize will be awarded to the craft with the best use of reused or recycled materials: Private Guided Trip on the Ouray or Telluride Via Ferrata for 4 people from Mountain Trip, a prize value of $836!

See bottom of page for registration info.

Alpacka Sawyer Paddle

River Races

Typically during June, we can have three race categories: Hard shell (kayaks and canoes), Inflatables (rafts, inflatable kayaks, and pack rafts; inner tubes are not recommended this year), and Stand Up Paddle Boards. Groups and individuals compete against each other in each category. This is a casual community race where camaraderie and fun are more important than winning!


Race Registration

Racers register at the UWP Volunteer & Information Booth on the day of RiverFest, between 12 and 12:30 p.m. in Rollans Park, Ridgway, Colorado.

REGISTRATION FEES for the Boat Races and Junk of the Unc:

$20 for 1 race

$30 for multiple races

$10 for each additional boat member

FREE for festival sponsors ($250 or higher sponsorship levels)


Racers are required to bring their own Watercraft, PFD, Helmet, and Appropriate Footwear, plus Registration Fee.


Get a FREE festival hat when you turn in your race bib

$15 for each additional hat (discounted from $25)

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