Annual ‘Raft the Rio’ event hits bathtubs, mud puddles


Every year, Las Cruces comes together in creativity and adventure to build watercraft out of recycled materials and launch on Father’s Day weekend for a raucous float down the Rio Grande.

The event is called Raft the Rio and this year, like so many other things, it has gone virtual. Folks of all ages are invited to use their quarantine time to create smaller-scale rafts out of recycled products, float them anywhere and submit photos to the organizers as part of a competition.

“Normally we do Raft the Rio on the Saturday of Father’s Day weekend, where people build rafts out of recycled material and float from the Picacho bridge to the Del Norte bridge,” said organizer John Northcutt. “The theme this year was going to be ‘Mark Twain Discovers the Rio Grande.’”

Northcutt is the president of event-sponsor Kiwanis Club of Las Cruces and has been chairman of the event since the club took it over several years ago.

“We just said we don’t want to let this thing go,” he said. “We are not giving up. We are going to do the coronavirus version of the event. It will be the first time our local club members have the time to build a raft.”

The main stipulation for this contest is it must float, Northcutt said. Make it out of recycled materials, post it to the Kiwanis Club of Las Cruces Facebook page no later than midnight June 30 and possibly get $100 in prize money or a gift card.

“We wanted to have some fun with this,” he said. “Use your time at home to create a model raft from recyclable materials, then take a picture of it floating in your bathtub, hot tub, kitchen sink, swimming pool or mud puddle.”

When you post your raft, include its name and your name for contact. There is no cost or age restriction to enter. There will be a prize for the most original and creative raft. All entries will be posted on the Kiwanis Club of Las Cruces Facebook page. The winner will be posted on the Kiwanis Face Book page on July 14.

For more information, contact Northcutt at 410-925-9126.