River Races


The Main Events at RiverFest

Everyone who comes to the Ridgway RiverFest has a chance to get WET and enjoy the river. You can wade in the eddy and along the riverbanks or play on your watercraft in the middle of the river. For those who are more competitive, we have a few river races you can join.

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. Get tips and lots of information on what it takes to compete in this wacky race on the Junk of the Unc page.

Rubber Ducky Race vs. Rubber Ducky Hunt

The Rubber Ducky Race is only possible if river flows are low enough that we can safely capture all duckies at the finish line. If the race is cancelled due to too high of flows, we will have a Rubber Ducky Hunt – which is similar to an Easter egg hunt but wilder!

Three boat race categories

In a typical year, race categories are: inflatables, hard shell boats, and stand up paddle boards. All races start at Rollans Park in Ridgway and go downstream on the Uncompahgre River to the Ridgway Reservoir. The course is approximately five miles long.

Awards will be given to the top finisher in each category (single and multiple rider boats are joined in each category/there is only one award per category no matter how many riders are in a boat). If you have questions about categories or awards, please contact ridgwayriverfest@gmail.com. Updated information will be available by August 21, 2021, but due to weekly and daily changes in river conditions, final race details can be decided on race day only.

Safety Rope Bag Toss Contest

It’s going to be FUN! With a minimal entry fee of $5, you can have a chance to throw a river bag with rescue rope to our “celebrity” floating in the middle of the river. Each entrant gets three tosses. The entrant with the best and closest toss will get a RiverFest trophy as well as a souvenir metal festival cup.


Race Registration

Racers register at the UWP Booth on the day of RiverFest, between 9 and 10:15 a.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

$5 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 t-shirt when you turn in your race bib

$10 for each additional t-shirt (discounted from $15)

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