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A Weekend of Competition and Fun: Boatnik’s 61st Year

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Photo courtesy of Boatnik

If anyone is thinking about getting out of town for Memorial Day, consider Boatnik instead––one of Southern Oregon’s most anticipated events of the year.

Boatnik’s 61st year includes a live show by hard rock band Dokken, a golf shoot out, and, of course, boats. The event begins May 23 with Davis Shows Carnival and ends May 27 with the Tom Rice Memorial Whitewater Hydroplane Race.

“We fill the park each year because of the events,” says Grants Pass Active Club, Charlie Simons On May 25 and 26 Brewfest will feature over 50 regional beers, lawn games, and live music. At the golf shoot, participants aim for a floating boat downriver. The prize is a car from Jim Sigel Chevy.

Grants Pass Active Club has been organizing Boatnik since the beginning. Simons says, “A lot of people don’t realize this, but this is the Active Club’s big fundraiser. Because of Boatnik we are able to give away about $20,000 in scholarships each year, donate thousands to academic and athletic programs in our two local school districts, be a sponsor to the Sparrow organization, or provide Christmas to more than 150 kids each year.”

Certainly the boating races is one of weekend’s biggest attractions. “The sprint boats whipping around the buoys is an incredible sight,” says Simmons. “The drag boats flying down the river at over 100MPH is insane. Then the Tom Rice Memorial Hydro race on Monday is a true race that gets the fans on their feet as they watch their favorite come in each lap until the finish. It’s really whatever tickles your fancy because each one of them offer excitement!”

May 23 to 27
Riverside Park, 304 E. Park Street, Grants Pass


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