Rules In Place To Keep Great Raft Racers Safe

Friday, September 4th 2015, 11:00 pm
By: News On 6

It's time to put the finishing touches on rafts for the Great Raft Race this Labor Day weekend.

Pictures of rafts are starting to show up, and one Tulsa man who built his own may not be as detailed as some others, but it’s just as unique.

Monday morning, all the rafts will start in Sand Springs and, one by one, end up at the finish line at River West Festival Park.

But it's a long eight-mile float to get here, and there are rules to follow.

The Great Raft Race is a Tulsa throwback, making a comeback this Labor Day weekend after 24 years.

Tom Wahl, like many others, have entered their DIY rafts into the competition.

"Just on a whim, I bought a kayak kit and started putting it together," Wahl said.

He ordered it from a company in New England after he retired and it became his pet project for three months.

Wahl said he put 80 hours into it – stitching, gluing, sanding, lathering epoxy and applying fiberglass sheeting.

"Bought it before I knew they were going to revive the Great Raft Race, so this will be a good test for it," he said.

He's just worried about what happens if he hits rocks on the Arkansas River, but he will have a lifejacket, per race rules.

Rafters must also have an anchor, tow point or hook, paddles and a whistle to blow in an emergency.

Low-point beer is allowed on the river, but you can't drink and operate a raft.

Registration is full, and participants must sign a waiver.

Tom Wahl Kayaker

Wahl said, "It's going to be a nice day for kind of like-minded people to get together, have a good time paddling on the water. It doesn't get any better than that."

The Great Raft Race starts at 7 a.m. Monday at Sand Springs River City Park.

You can get more information about the race online.