OKLAHOMA CITY (September 7, 2023) – RIVERSPORT will host the 19th annual Oklahoma Regatta Festival September 29 – October 1 in downtown OKC’s Boathouse District. The family-friendly festival features live racing on the Oklahoma River and the addition of a new event, Paddlemania!
The public is invited to enter Paddlemania events which include a build-your-own-boat whitewater race, a flatwater “Battle of the Paddles” tug of war, raft racing, whitewater kayak races and freestyle competitions. The day will end with “big water” rafting, RIVERSPORT Rapids’s most extreme rafting.
"This is our last weekend to be open for the season, so we wanted to do something special for the community,” explained RIVERSPORT executive director Mike Knopp. “The public can enter any of the Paddlemania events and even if you don’t want race, it will be great fun to watch.”
Paddlemania joins a weekend lineup that includes OG&E NightSprints on Friday and Saturday evenings and 2.5 mile Head of the Oklahoma racing during the day.
Friday evening, more than 20 local corporate teams will race in the OG&E NightSprints. The 500-meter sprints under the lights feature both dragonboat and rowing races for medals and bragging rights. The action runs Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
On Saturday, teams from across the nation take to the water for the Oklahoma City University Head of the Oklahoma, a 2.5 mile “head race” featuring collegiate, masters and junior rowing as well as kayak and dragon boat racing. Head of the Oklahoma racing concludes on Sunday morning, 8:00 a.m. to noon. RIVERSPORT’s new event, Paddlemania, will launch Sunday, Oct. 1 at noon, bringing a build-your-own boat contest, raft racing, freestyle competitions, kayak cross and more to the RIVERSPORT Rapids whitewater channel.
Paddlemania will feature six whitewater competitions for participants of all skill levels, creating an actionpacked event for competitors and spectators alike.
Build Your Own Boat – Teams of two to six create their own rafts to paddle down the RIVERSPORT Rapids whitewater channel in a timed race. Inspired by 2022’s Red Bull Rapids rafting event.
Battle of the Paddles – Teams of four are connected by rope in whitewater rafts and must paddle in a tug-ofwar to determine the winner.
Corporate and Community Rafting – Rafting teams of six to eight paddle down the RIVERSPORT Rapids whitewater channel in a timed race.
Kayak Time Trials – Individual kayakers paddle down the RIVERSPORT Rapids whitewater channel in a timed race.
Extreme Kayak/Kayak Cross – Individual kayakers slide off a ramp 20 feet above the rapids in a head-to-head slalom challenge to the finish line.
Freestyle Exhibition/Roll Challenge – Individual kayakers demonstrate their freestyle skills, followed by a series of tests to see who can win the roll challenge.
Registration for Paddlemania is now open at riversportokc.org/paddlemania. Entry for the Build Your Own Boat competition is $50 per raft. All other event entries are included with a RIVERSPORT Day Pass, Season Membership or Annual Membership.
Parking is $10 and benefits RIVERSPORT Foundation nonprofit programs.
RIVERSPORT will also offer rafting, surfing, indoor snow skiing and more during the weekend, along with food trucks and fireworks during racing.
The Oklahoma Regatta Festival is made possible through the generous support of our RIVERSPORT community partners: Inasmuch Foundation, Love’s, OG&E, TSET, Robinson Park, Compsource Mutual, Outdoor Foundation, Mercy Hospital, Prosperity Bank, ECHO, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, Express Employment Professionals, Row2k, Braum’s, Kimray, Cox, The Chickasaw Nation, CVB, Bank of Oklahoma, Oklahoman LocaliQ, Lamar, KFOR Oklahoma’s News 4, Tyler Media, Devon Energy, American Fidelity and Chesapeake Energy.
RIVERSPORT is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers Olympic and adventure sports including rowing, kayaking, dragon boating, whitewater rafting, skiing, climbing, cycling, adventure courses, high-speed slides and zip lining in the Boathouse District in downtown Oklahoma City and at Lake Overholser. As an official US Olympic & Paralympic Training Site, RIVERSPORT develops Olympic Hopefuls in both rowing and canoe/kayak and regularly hosts national and international competitions. The organization’s outreach programs ensure that people from all walks of life, especially those in underserved communities, have access to outdoor sports and recreation. To learn more about RIVERSPORT, visit riversportokc.org or call (405) 552-4040.