Registration costs $75 for each racer (including tandems). It will be $80 for day-of-event signups on July 8.
The registration fee covers insurance and other costs. Your registration is tax-deductible as a contribution to a recognized non-profit organization. In the past we have supported these groups:
The Izaak Walton League of America
Missouri River Relief
Yankton County Search and Rescue
Friends of the Missouri National Recreational River
After we cover our race costs, all remaining funds go to support another great cause, one that supports our efforts in making the Missouri National Recreational River and the Missouri River a better place for all. We will announce partner in this effort at the 2017 event.
Make checks payable to South Dakota’s Best River Races LLC.
Pay day-of or mail to: Jarett Bies, 31229 Greenfield Road, Vermillion SD 57069.
We’ll see you in person on Friday, July 7 at in the Day Use Area at Randall Creek State Recreation Area, Pickstown, SD. We will have our HQ at the large picnic shelter closest to the water. That’s where we’ll have registration (waivers, t-shirts, boat number confirmation) starting at 3 p.m. and continues until the safety briefing at approx. 7 p.m.
Every racer must have a unique four-digit number affixed to his or her boat to enter the event. Racer numbers will be used to more easily ID each racer from start to checkpoints to finish. Review the list of registered racers here. We will provide numbers to you if you do not already have them.
UPDATED! 2017 Shuttle
Self-supporting racers can use our shuttle service and move their car to the finish on Friday night. Racers would go to start first, drop off craft and gear, then drive to Springfield. We host our mandatory safety briefing and meal at approx. 7:30 p.m. at Randall Creek.
The shuttle will leave Springfield Marina at 5:30 p.m. It does include a small fee, payable in cash, to the shuttle honcho, Rick LaBrie. Email him today to save your spot on the MRCAT bus!
We will make arrangements for late registrations. Email with any questions, please.
Racers can tent camp for free in the Day Use Area at Randall Creek State Recreation Area on July 7.
Fort Randall Casino & Hotel has a block of rooms set aside for us; ask for the event by name or just “kayak race” block.
Other hotels are available in Pickstown and Wagner. Camper camping is available at three nearby state parks, including our host park. Find more information below.
Pre-race staging begins at 5:30 a.m. on the banks of the river near the tail races of Fort Randall Dam. The line itself will be formed behind our safety boats and all racers must be staged by 6:45 a.m.
The race begins at 7 a.m. SHARP. Racers who are not under way by 7:20 a.m. will be disqualified. This is a safety-first rule so that our safety and support crews have eyes on all racers. You might not be competitive and less worried about your spot in the “pack” but do not delay your start or you’ll be DQ!
Adventure (for racers who have completed 0-4 races of this type.)
Competitive (for racers who have completed 4 or more races of this type.)
These guidelines are flexible; racers with experience who would prefer adventure may sign up in that class. Newcomers are encouraged to enter as adventure class, but may sign up as competitive if they desire.
- Men, singles and tandems
- Women, singles and tandems
- Mixed tandems
- Open – we will accept other craft (more than two paddlers, pedaled, wind assisted, etc.) if the join the event
Craft and classes
The Fort to Field 50 will host all paddle-powered craft, wind-assisted craft and “Hobie” style craft. Logic will dictate classifications based on registration.
Race insurance is required for all participants and is included in your registration. All participants also must sign a waiver before taking part in the Battle.
The Fort to Field 50 has a strong team dedicated to our priority: Safety.
We’re connected to all local, state, county, tribal and federal agencies along the entire route, and our event-specific safety boat will take a trail position behind our participants, so on-water resources are available from start to finish. In addition, the Prairie Dog Amateur Radio Club will provide us with enhanced radio communication throughout the event.
Emergency phone numbers will be given to all participants. Racers should use common sense and logic when considering calling for help. In any life-or-death situation, call 911.
In any other situation, call or text one of the numbers on the waterproof card issued to you in your race packet.
Required Gear for all participants
- A USCG-approved type I, II, III or V Personal Flotation Device (PFD) to be worn throughout the event.
- One liter water per person
- Cellular telephone in waterproof case/dry-bag
- The waterproof card we give you with phone numbers for event officials
Good-idea stuff (not required)
- GPS, map or other navigation resources
- Spare paddle
- Additional water or food
- Whistle or horn
- Sponge and pump for water in boat
- Bug spray and lights (in case you’re still under way in the dark)
Racers must identify themselves with their boat number at each of three checkpoints en route to the finish, but they need not exit their boats. Racers are welcome to rest, recover or connect with support teams at the checkpoints where ice and water will be available to everyone. Cell service is limited in many areas; please be aware of these restrictions.
It is the racer’s responsibility to ensure checkpoint has confirmed their arrival. See the tab marked course for more information on checkpoint locations.
Each participant is allowed unlimited race support and he or she can receive it at any checkpoint, on the water, or at other points along the route.
Replacement paddlers or boats
Racers may self-support using any checkpoint. On-water support is allowed only by paddled craft and any on-water support must not assist the racer in moving down the race course. Each racer starts with a specific number and the same racer must finish with that number.
Children ages 16 and younger must paddle in tandem kayaks or in a team of two or more boats with a parent or legal guardian. There are no other age restrictions.
Pre-race meeting and camping
On Friday, July 7 at approx. 7 p.m. we’ll gather at the large picnic shelter in the Randall Creek State Recreation Area day-use area. The site is adjacent to the Fort to Field 50 starting line. It’s mandatory for racers. A short overview on rules and safety with questions and an educational program presented by a number of agencies in the region will make up the approx. 40-minute program.
If you cannot make it to mandatory meeting, you MUST email officials in advance. Thank you.
Reservations at the park and the nearby North Point State Recreation Area are available here
. Lodging options in Pickstown, Wagner, Lake Andes and other nearby communities are available. Springfield State Recreation Area camping reservations for finishers are encouraged as well.
Racers without support can take part in our shuttle service. They would drive first to Randall Creek, drop off their craft and gear, then drive to Springfield, where our shuttle will bring them back to the park for the pre-race briefing.
Awards and post-race
Beautiful Springfield, South Dakota will host our finishes and celebration, sponsored by Cogan House
and Discover Bon Homme County
. Finishers will get hardware, first-place finishers will earn awards, and we’ll have plenty of food and drinks – it’s going to be great!
DNF on the Course
Racers may choose to exit the event at any point on the river, but are required to contact race officials to alert them to their decision. Text or call 605-941-4940 – that is your best bet!
Racers taking any break longer than 40 minutes should try to text race officials to alert them.
Remember, you MUST start with the group at 7 a.m. and if you’re not under way by 7:20 a.m., you’ll be disqualified.
It’s your Paddle Battle, but to maintain accountability for all who race, here’s the simple rule: Text when in doubt. You’ll get a waterproof card with the numbers to text or call at registration.
Paddlers who fail to notify race authorities upon exit from the event may be banned from future events. Just start on time, take short breaks, text us with issues and we’ll see you in Springfield.
Sportsmanship and stewardship
Leave No Trace rules apply in this event. Honor the National Park in which we race and the public and private property we’re sharing. Teamwork and collaboration are encouraged; cut-throat nonsense will not be tolerated and can lead to penalties including DQ.
The Battle begins at 7 a.m. exactly on July 8. The finish line is the southern most bank of the Springfield Marina. Racer times will be figured to the minute as individuals land on the beach.
We’ll include complete results on this website as soon as possible after the race. We’ll honor the top finishers during an all-inclusive shindig! You can get an idea of the pace of this event by looking over last year’s results
Paddle Battle Oath
The organizers of the Fort to Field 50 Paddle Battle reserve the right and permission to change, in whole or in part, any of the information on this website, on publications or information offered to racers via the site, email or postal mail, or on the water. Faced with any unforeseen issues, conflicts or conditions the oath applies. All efforts will be made to make this event user-friendly and fair.
Many South Dakota and Nebraska communities contributed to make this event possible. The South Dakota communities of Pickstown, Lake Andes, Wagner, Tyndall, Avon, Marty, Tabor, Springfield, Yankton and Vermillion as well as the Nebraska towns and cities of O’Neill, Spencer, Lynch, Monowi, Verdel, Niobrara and Santee all welcome you to the area and have contributed their time and effort to make the Fort to Field 50 a success for all racers and teams.