Heber Springs Chamber of Commerce

We've got lakes to swim in, rivers to fish in, bluffs to climb, trails to hike, and much, much more!

World Championship Cardboard Boat Races

Click here for the press release. 


Thank You 2016 Sponsors

Premier Sponsor


Contributing Sponsors





2016 Theme: Design and decorate your boat as your favorite PIXAR character or movie.

Races start at 10:00 AM

Location: Sandy Beach, Heber Springs, AR



Welcome to the Wild & Wacky and downright Crazy
World Championship Cardboard Boat Races.
From rafts to canoes to monster trucks to space ships you're gonna see it here. Your gonna try to figure out,
"How did they do that?"

Races begin at 10 a.m.  The Captain’s Award will be given to the most creative team
and boat. Yes, they can (well, many of them can) float. Some are engineering marvels,
which can compete for the coveted Pride of the Fleet Award! For those that don’t float,
we do give the Titanic Award for the best and most dramatic sinking!

Registration Form

Other activities include; Treasure Dig @ 10 a.m.,
Watermelon Eating Contest @ 11 a.m.,
Lucky Duck Races @ noon

Volleyball Tournament @ 10 a.m. (register at 8 a.m.)
Vollyerball Tournament Registration Form

Boat Building Information


History of the World Championship Cardboard Boat Races

In 1987 Peggy Reeder, then vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce and Pat Zellmer, owner of the local newspaper began to look for ideas to create an event for the Greers Ferry Lake area. The idea grew out of the need to bring more tourism to the area. Pat Zellmer had come upon the idea of a Cardboard Boat Regatta. A boat, literally, made out of cardboard and not much more. The challenge was to design and build a person powered boat made of corrugated cardboard which was capable of completing four heats around a 200-yard semicircle course. The idea went over well in Heber Springs, Arkansas that spring and the two ladies put together a Special Events Team. An event on the lake was the “Natural Choice” since Greers Ferry Lake is over 40,000 acres and nestled in the beautiful Ozark Foothills. Harold Reeder, the husband of Peggy Reeder conducted seminars on how to build a cardboard boat. The event became very competitive as local industry and the businesses of Heber Springs began to build their boats.

Even after 27 years the event has generated year round excitement with the anticipation of building the “Pride of the Fleet” or perhaps the recipient of the dreaded “Titanic Award”. Boat builders and racers come from all over the United States. The festival has always promoted having fun, creativity, and outrageous inventions. It has received national coverage through magazines, newspapers, ESPN, ESPN II, Over the Edge, the Outdoor Channel, the Discovery Channel, Fox Sports Network and German TV. The World Championship Cardboard Boat Race is the recipient of the 2001 Henry Award for community development through tourism. This award is the most prestigious to be given for tourism in the State of Arkansas by Parks and Tourism. . In 2005 the Cardboard Boat Races were filmed live by ESPN and aired over 21 times in a 36-hour period on the ESPN channel reaching as much as 88,000,000 viewers. It was the 50 events in 50 days on ESPN.
The CBS Early Show's" Great American Vacation" Winnebago tour made its final stop in Little Rock, Ark. in 2006. Dave Price, weatherman from the Early Show interviewed Jo Price, then Chamber Director and three racers with boats from Kimberly Clark. The Smithsonian Institute asked Big Fish Entertainment to film the races in 2007 for a documentary they were making regarding festivals in the United States. 2008 brought the Discovery Channel back to Heber Springs to film for a new show called Wreckreation Nation, which aired in February 2009. In June 2010 the races made the Top 10 Wackiest Summer Events by Trip Advisor! Every year many independent TV stations film the races as well. AFEA awarded the races 2015 & 2016 Event of the Year for the State of Arkansas. 

The race day begins at 10:00 AM and involves many other activities (adult and youth) besides the boat race. Tug-a-war, treasure dig, and sand sculpting contests are just a few of the activities in addition to the Beach volleyball. The Demolition Derby is also something you won't want to miss, it is a hoot. Another world Championship event happens that day, the Watermelon Eating Contest. A local boy, Chris Meyer won the event several times and was featured on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, MTV and other national television. It all happens at Sandy Beach in the quaint little town of Heber Springs, Arkansas. Heber Springs is located 60 miles north of Little Rock, Arkansas on the shores of Greers Ferry Lake and the Little Red River (home of the record brown trout).

For more information call the Heber Springs Area Chamber of Commerce at 501-362-2444.

World Championship Cardboard Boat Races
made the list on TripAdvisor's 10 wacky summer events!  

NEWTON, Mass., July 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — TripAdvisor®, the world’s
largest travel site*, today announced 10 wacky summer events
in the U.S., as chosen by TripAdvisor editors.

2013 Cardboard Boat Race Winners
2012 Cardboard Boat Race Winners
2011 Cardboard Boat Race Winners
2010 Cardboard Boat Race Winners
2009 Cardboard Boat Race Winners
2008 Cardboard Boat Race Results


2008 Cardboard Boat Races were featured on
The Discovery Channel's Wreckreation Nation


Scenes From Past Cardboard Boat Races