Thirty years ago Peggy Reeder, then vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce, and Pat Zellmer, owner of the local newspaper, were looking for a way to bring more tourism to the Greers Ferry Lake area. Zellmer thought up an idea for a Cardboard Boat Regatta. The idea was to build boats out of cardboard, and very little else. Harold Reeder, husband of Peggy, conducted seminars on how to build a cardboard boat, and the rest, as they say, is history.

As one would expect the challenge was to build a boat out of corrugated cardboard that was powered by people, not a motor. The boat had to able to compete in four heats, around a 200 yard semi-circle course and stay afloat. Only tape, waterproofing and oars can be used, along with the cardboard. Competitors must really put their creativity and imaginations to work to build their craft. Some are a celebration of feats of engineering and some celebrate what doesn’t work, or float. But that’s why they have a prize called the “Titanic Award.”  The qualifications to win that award are the most dramatic sinking. The boat must float and clear 50 feet beyond the starting line.

Their are four timed races, divisions include Adult (13+) one or two person team; Adult (13+), three to eight person team; Children (12 and under), one or two person team; and Children (12 and under) three to eight person team. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place finishers.

Awards will also be given for the Pride of the Fleet Award, this award is based on Engineering details, for use of science or physics involved in designing the boat, floatability and movement in the water and Innovative and unique design for how creative, unusual and elaborate the design is..

The Captain’s Award is given for team dress (costumes), such as t-shirts or hats, team involvement with spectators and crowd response and decoration of site on land and team spirit during competition and at the finish line. Team spirit will be judged from the time the captains register until the end of the race.

The contestants will race at Sandy Beech on Greers Ferry Lake in Heber Springs on July 29. For more information contact Rick Florczak, at 870-834-1437 or events@heber-springs.com.