The gun goes off and suddenly the calm water of Dierkes Lake surrenders to the chaos of paddling oars. Smoke puffs from the the mouth of a long-necked dragon as it takes the lead. A lonely alligator falls behind, but a great white shark gives chase, pulling up alongside the dragon as they round the turn and head for the finish line. The crowd cheers for the smoking dragon as it crosses the finish line and with oars raised high the crew lets out a victorious scream.

Photo © Jason LugoThe most entertaining boating event in Southern Idaho returns on August 20, 2011. An expected 40-50 cardboard boats will converge on Dierkes Lake in Twin Falls for the 2nd Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta.

Three separate classes of boats will hit the river for three 20-yard heats. Some boats will be rowed, others will have a form of muscle powered device and some will be built on site the day of the event, but all will be man powered and ready for a day of friendly competition.

The event began in 2010 with about 30 boats, all built with cardboard kits provided by Longview Fibre. A company with deep roots in Idaho going back to 1927, Longview Fibre will furnish the kits again this year. Longivew will not only help participants create boats that will be judged on creativity and design, but will also stay afloat and win races.

Photo By: JJ Stagge

Immanuel Luthern's John Hardesty and Les Anderson hit the water right on the starting line.

Kyle Tarbet of the Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce says interested participants can stop by the Chamber Office at 858 Blue Lakes Blvd. N. in Twin Falls to register and receive a cardboard kit.

Photo © Jason Lugo

Longview's, Billy Hodkins, Danny Blaeyblock, Kent Latin, Amber Dessel, Matt Ostrander

Boat building for many participants is already under way, but if you are looking for a unique way to showcase your business, non-profit organization, or just looking for a great day of family fun, it’s not too late to begin creating your own unique vessel. Having trouble with your boat design or just don’t know where to start? A workshop will be held Saturday, August 6th in the chamber parking lot. Engineers from Longview Fibre will be on hand to help answer your nautical quandaries.

Some of the designs from last year’s race were a shark, viking ship, an Egyptian riverboat, a dragon, duck, pirate ship and army tank. Some participants get into the spirit by dressing their crew to go along with the theme of their creation.

Photo © Jason Lugo
John Gibson of Farmers National Bank entered the race last year as a way of boosting employee morale.

“Banking has been picked on a lot lately, and we wanted to do something fun to get the employees’ morale picked up,” Gibson said.

The local community bank’s five branches competed with each other and got caught up in the competitive spirit of the event.

Photo By: JJ Stagge

Marnie Schmitt and Collette Hoglund took first place in the 2010 Cardboard Boat Regatta.

“It didn’t matter that there were other people in the race, we were competing with each other,”  Gibson said, adding that the event spurred many great ideas and turned out to be more fun than any of the employees could ever have imagined. He said this year’s entries are already under construction.

Even if you don’t plan to test your sailor legs that day, you won’t want to miss the race, food and beverages that will be provided. Coined by the Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce as “Marine Mayhem,” the event proceeds help the chamber with civic activities and programs throughout the year. This year’s event is sponsored by Neuhoff Communications, Longview Fibre and Farmer’s National Bank.

For more info, contact Kyle Tarbet at 733-3974 or


Boat Classes

  • Class I – rowed only
  • Youth Division – 14 and under
  • Open Division – For all ages
  • Class II – Propelled by muscle powered devices
  • Class III – Built on site the day of the race with a “Secret Kit” provided by Longview Fibre

Regatta Awards

  • Pride of the Regatta – Awarded to most creative design and construction.
  • Vogue Award – Given to the best-looking boat.
  • Titanic Award – Awarded to the “most spectacular” sinking (all remains must be completely salvaged).
  • Team Spirit Award – Granted to the best spirited and well-organized team.
  • Best Dressed Team – To the creatively-dressed sailors.
  • First, Second and Third place will be awarded for each division.

Registration Fees: Non-Profit Organizations and Individuals $75; Twin Falls Chamber Members $150; Non-Chamber Businesses $200.

Registration, judging and inspection begins at 9:30 a.m.
Races start at noon.