The Wolf River Raft Race will be held Saturday, July 21.
Some changes accompany the event as it enters its second year, but its goal remains the same-to raise money for cancer research.
The idea for a raft race came from one that was sponsored by a local radio station (WKAU) on the Fox River between Appleton and Kimberly until 1985.
“A few of us had been talking about the idea of starting up another raft race for a couple of years when my sister died from a rare and aggressive form of cancer,” said Renee Deimer.
On Dec. 12, 2010, Kari Deimer passed away at the age of 31 after a short and intense battle with Cholangiocarcinoma (Bile Duct Cancer). Before her symptoms began during summer and her October diagnosis, Kari led a vibrant and full life, embracing every opportunity to connect with her family and friends and serve others.
Kari graduated from St. Mary’s Grade School, Hortonville High School Class of 1997 and UW-Oshkosh in 2004.
She served in the Army National Guard for 13 years, most recently as Captain and Company Commander for Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) 132nd Brigade Support Battalion. She was also employed as a graphic designer for Community First Credit Union.
Kari’s cancer was rare and aggressive and while it weakened her body, her spirit remained positive throughout her treatment. This event is a tribute to Kari’s fun and fighting spirit to raise funds to benefit the important work of the American Cancer Society in Kari’s memory.
The Kari Deimer Answer to Cancer Corp. is a 501(c)3. Donations may be tax deductible.
“The idea of the raft race evolved into an idea to have many of Kari’s friends and family-as well as people who never got the privilege to meet her-get together, start an annual community event, and raise money for cancer research,” stated Renee Deimer. “The old raft races were always fun, challenging and could be a family event. We hope to do the same with this race and improve it every year!”
For 2012, organizers have made quite a few changes based on what worked or didn’t work in 2011, so participants should check out the 2012 rules and registration. Some of the changes at a glance include:
• A shorter (approximately 4.5 mile vs. 2011’s 11.5 mile) main raft race. We will still start the canoes, kayaks, and a “marathon” raft class from the boat landing across from Damn Yankee’s Watering Hole. The start will be earlier and will probably be staggered with rafts leaving first and canoes and kayaks leaving 30-45 minutes after. We are planning to start the shorter raft class later at a private landing about 4.5 miles from The Waters Supper Club in New London. Finish line for all classes will be at The Waters again. We’re hoping to have everyone off of the river by about 5:00 this year.
• Rookies be advised! Average speed for rafts for the 2011 race was about 1.5 miles per hour! Water levels were average to a little high for July in 2011. Lower water levels make for a longer race! If this is their first raft race, organizers strongly encourage mariners to enter the shorter race.
There will be fewer classes in 2012. There didn’t seem to be any advantage to having a larger or smaller crew last year, so in the interest of simplifying things, classes are being consolidated. This will also allow organizers to award prizes along with the trophies.
• Endurance Raft – 11.5 mile course. All rafts in one class
• Canoe – Crew of 2 or more, 11.5 mile course
• Kayak – teams of 2 boats, 11.5 mile course
• Homebuilt Raft – 4.5 mile course, homebuilt. No commercially available hulls of any kind
• Commercial Raft – 4.5 mile course, inflatable rafts, pedal boats, etc. No rowboats, fishing boats, etc.
In addition to winners of the various classes, there will be awards for the following “fun” categories:
• Crash & Burn – for the raft that seems least likely to finish
• Best raft/team name
• Kari Deimer Memorial Award – A “Judges choice” award for a raft/crew that is memorable because of its artistic uniqueness, unusual theme, clever design, exceptional sportsmanship, or in any other way displays the spirit of this event in an exceptional way.
Official race numbers will be assigned at registration. Numbered pennants or flags will be given to each raft at the starting line. The raft’s finishing position will be determined by the order that the flags are turned in to the official at the finish line. Any number can be displayed on the raft anywhere, but the official race number will be the one on the flag.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Tim or Renee at 920-757-9713.