Race Information


Registration is $80. It costs $100 to sign up and take part July 9.

The registration fee covers insurance and other costs. Your registration is tax-deductible as a contribution to a recognized non-profit organization. Once we pay our bills, we donate the remainder to good causes that support the outdoors.

If you wish, feel free to pay online.

You also can pay at registration or mail payment to: 

Jarett Bies

31229 Greenfield Road

Vermillion, SD 57069

Please make checks payable to South Dakota’s Best River Races.

On-Site Registration/Friday

We’ll see you in person on Friday prior to the event, and we gather in the Day-Use Area at Randall Creek State Recreation Area, Pickstown, SD. Our headquarters is located in the large picnic shelter close to the water. That’s where we’ll have registration (t-shirts, boat number confirmation, questions and answers) starting between 2-3 p.m. and continues until the safety briefing at approx. 7 p.m.

Boat Numbers

Every participant must have a unique four-digit number affixed to his or her boat to enter the event. This number will be used to more easily identify each participant from start to checkpoints to finish. Review the list of registered participants. We will provide numbers to you (they are stickers) if you do not already have them.

NEW! RaceOwl in Use for 2022

We'll incorporate the participant tracking service RaceOwl in this year's event. Visit the site to learn more, and go to your Android or iPhone app store to get the app. You'll need to get the app. Email Jarett if you do not have either one. Here are the steps:

1. Download and install the app for your device/phone.

2. Go to the app's "register" page and enter your info as requested; make sure to include your boat number for the 50.

3. Go to this page to test it. You'll need to "turn tracking on" on the app itself.

4. With tracking on, seek out and find your boat number on the RaceOwl website page map.

5. Since the map is centered on our race route, you might have to zoom out a lot to reach "yourself."

6. Once you've done these steps, you can return to the app and turn tracking off. You should not need to use it again until July 9.


Self-supporting participants can use our shuttle service and move their car to the finish on Friday night. You'll come to the start first, drop off your boat and gear, then drive to Springfield. We host our mandatory safety briefing and meal at 7 p.m. at Randall Creek/the start.

The shuttle will leave Springfield Marina at 5:30 p.m. It costs $10 per person. Please bring cash to pay Rick, the bus owner/operator.

We will make arrangements for late registrations. Email to book a spot on the bus, or with any questions, please.


Participants can tent camp for free in the Day-Use Area at Randall Creek State Recreation Area Friday night. We can take your camping gear to the finish, but please: pack lightly! We have finite storage and hauling capacity, and want to provide this service to everyone who needs it.

Fort Randall Casino & Hotel is an event sponsor and has a block of rooms set aside for our event.

The Circle H Motel in Lake Andes is an event sponsor and has plenty of room, as well as morning-of-event transportation for participants. Reach out to Mary and she'll help you.

Other hotels are available in Pickstown and Lake Andes. Camper camping is available at three nearby state parks, including our host park.

On-Water Start

Staging begins at 5:45 a.m. at the Fort Randall Dam boat ramp. Our safety boat will establish the actual starting line as craft assemble.

We encourage all to stage before the start.

The race begins at 7 a.m. when participants hear the gun.

Participants who are not under way by 7:20 a.m. will be disqualified. You have until 9 p.m. to reach the finish.

Here's a look at the 2018 results; it can help you get an idea of how long it takes to reach each checkpoint.


Adventure (for participating paddlers who have completed 0-4 races of this type.)

Competitive (for participants who have completed 5 or more races of this type.)

These guidelines are flexible; paddlers with experience who would prefer adventure may sign up in that class. Newcomers are encouraged to enter as adventure class.


Men's singles and tandems

Women's singles and tandems

Mixed tandems

Open – we will accept other craft (more than two paddlers, pedaled, wind assisted, SUP and others) if they join us.

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. Feel free to complete a paperless waiver when you're ready.


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 boats 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 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 the phone number we provide.

Required Gear

● A USCG-approved type I, II, III or V Personal Flotation Device (PFD) to be worn throughout the event

● Drinking water

● Cellular telephone in waterproof case/dry-bag equipped with RaceOwl app and registered

Good Idea Gear (not required)

● GPS, map or other navigation resources

● Spare paddle

● Additional water or food

● Whistle or horn

● Sponge and pump for bilge

● Bug spray and lights (in case you’re still under way in the dark)


Participants must identify themselves with their boat number at each of three checkpoints, but they do not have to stop or exit their boats. You can rest, recover or connect with support teams at the checkpoints where ice and water is available.

NEW: Your support team can get driving directions from the start to all checkpoints and finish.

Safety, our priority, requires this action to take place. We will do our best to help paddlers of all ability levels complete the entire course, but our safety resources are finite. Please reach out to Jarett to ask any questions about this aspect of our event.

Cell service is limited in many areas; please be aware of these restrictions. It is your responsibility to ensure checkpoint staff have confirmed your arrival. See our page on the route for more information on checkpoint locations.

Please note: Participants who are 40 minutes (or more) behind the main group of paddlers will be strongly encouraged to consider stopping their attempt at the entire course when they reach each checkpoint.

Support Teams

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 

Participants may self-support using any checkpoint. On-water support is allowed only by paddled craft and any on-water support must not assist you in moving down the race course. Each participant starts with a specific number and must finish with the same number.

Age Restrictions

Children ages 16 and younger are encouraged to 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.

Boat Registration

All participating craft must be registered according to the laws of the state in which you, as participant, reside. South Dakota does require temporary registration for paddlers who are from states that do not have non-powered watercraft licenses. Reach out to Jarett for more information on this topic.

Pre-Race Meeting and Camping

On Friday prior to the event, 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 all. 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 approximately 40-minute program. We'll host a nice meal in the park, too, right after the meeting.

If you cannot make it to mandatory meeting, you MUST email officials in advance.

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 Recreation Area camping reservations for finishers are encouraged as well.

Finish Line Awards and Celebration

Beautiful Springfield will host our finish celebration. Finishers will get hardware, top finishers will earn awards and we’ll have plenty of food and drinks – it’s going to be great! Here's information on local camping and lodging. There also is some tent camping at the finish line.

Did Not Finish (DNF) on the Course

You may choose to exit the event at any point on the river, but are required to contact our officials to alert them to your decision. Text or call 605-941-4940 if you exit the event.

Participants taking any break longer than 40 minutes should text race officials, too.

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 event – you can do it however you wish, fast or slow. But to maintain accountability for all who take part, here’s the simple rule: Text when in doubt.

Paddlers who fail to notify event authorities upon exit from the event may be banned. 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 paddle 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 the day of event. The finish line is the southern most bank of the Springfield Marina. Finisher 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 50. We’ll honor the top finishers during an all-inclusive shindig!

Supporting communities

Many South Dakota and Nebraska communities contributed to make this event possible. The South Dakota communities of Pickstown, Lake Andes, Tyndall, Avon, Marty and Springfield, as well as the Nebraska towns and cities of O’Neill, Spencer, Lynch, Monowi, Verdel, Niobrara and Santee all welcome you to the area. Each has contributed time and effort to make the Fort to Field 50 a success for everyone.

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 participants 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.