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"Float your Boat" or "Race your Kayak" with "Pirates of the Rio Grande"

2018 raft constructed of recyclable materials.

Las Cruces, NM – On this edition of PUENTES a la comunidad, bridges to the community, host Emily Guerra met with Kiwanis Club of Las Cruces Secretary, John Northcutt, to talk to us about the 20th Annual “Raft the Rio.” He is also this year's Event Chairman. Four years ago, the Kiwanis Club of Las Cruces took over the event from SWEC-Southwest Environmental Center. The theme this year is “Pirates of the Rio Grande.” The event focuses on being environmentally friendly with rafts constructed from recyclable materials floating 5 kilometers down the Rio Grande from La Llorona Park at the Picacho Street Bridge to the Calle del Norte Bridge in Mesilla.

“Raft the Rio” will be held on "Father’s Day" weekend, Saturday, June 15th with registration and sign-in at 8 a.m. at La Llorona Park. Something new has been added this year, a one-person kayak race. Kayaks will launch from the up-river side of Picacho Street Bridge at 9:30 a.m. and race to the Calle del Norte bridge. Rafters will launch their crafts at 10 a.m. from La Llorona Park to Calle del Norte bridge in Mesilla.

There are three categories: Children, Family and Open with prizes in each category: Best use of Recyclable Materials; Best Costume/Most Spirited Crew; Best Fit to the Theme; and a prize for the raft Least Likely to Finish. Early registration ends on June 12th, with an entry fee of $20 per boat for the first two sailors, but you can still register on the day of the event at 8 a.m. for an additional $5. Funds go to support children of our community. Sailors under the age of 13 are FREE and must be accompanied by an adult. Per state law, all racers and sailors must wear a life vest flotation device. Registration forms and rules for Raft the Rio-Pirates of the Rio Grande can be found at www.kiwanis-lascruces.org. Volunteers and food vendors are still needed, for more information call John Northcutt at 410-925-9126 or email him at northcuttjb@comcast.net.