Video: Making The Spirit of Survival

The Rock River Anything That Floats Race isn’t just a waterborne parade — it’s a design, engineering and team-building challenge, as well. 

In 2018, we met the crew of The Spirit of Survival – a boisterous and clever  gang of high schoolers from Beloit, WI who designed, built and rowed a Viking longboat during last year's race. Cameras in hand, we documented the team's journey from inception to build to sea test to race day last August. 

Along the way, we came to admire the industrious good nature of these young leaders of tomorrow: to appreciate their off-the-wall humor, collaborative attitudes and their keen intelligence. 

The team's mission was to make a cool raft and have fun rowing it, but the fringe benefit was making memories that will last forever during their final  summer together before Senior year. 

Take a look at this short making-of documentary by GrahamSpencer, narrated by lead designer and captain Sam Stadelman. We think you'll admire their spirit, too. 


All the competitors finally got their ships together and they’re preparing to paddle like it’s 1999 today — race day, August 12, 2018. Spectators are getting ready for a fun-filled day in the sun along the Bike Path and at the fun and festive finish line at Prairie Street Brewing Co. 

Speaking of spectators; don’t forget to VOTE FOR PEOPLE’S CHOICE. Vote for the rafts you like best using their official race numbers. There will also be pictures of each raft on the webpage. The voting page will be live at approximately noon today.  

Remember it’s not too late to purchase Chuck-a-Ducks at the start and finish lines for a chance to win cash and other valuable prizes from the Rockford IceHogs.

They say, ”God only gives you so many days, but the ones you spend at sea don’t count against you.” Argh! We think that’s true for all the proud rafters on the river today, too. Enjoy your freebie and good luck to each and every one of you. See you on the river! 

Sunday, August 12 Race Day Schedule  

  • 10:00 AM – Raft sign-in begins

  • 10:00 Live radio remote, entertainment, food, and drinks at race start line area on Illinois Street near old Coast Guard Station

  • 11:30 AM – Raft race registration ends

  • 12:00 PM – Anything That Floats Raft Race begins!

  • 12:00 - 1:30 PM - The Gilligans perform live for spectators from a raft patrolling the river

  • 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM - Dirty Fishnet Stockings perform at Prairie Street Brewing Co finish line

  • 3:30 - Chuck-a-Duck Drop off Whitman St. Bridge

  • 4:30 - Awards Ceremony at Prairie Street Brewing Co finish line