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Tulsa's Great Raft Race returns with opening of Zink Lake

Zink Lake Water Quality.png
Posted at 4:35 PM, May 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 20:09:58-04

TULSA, Okla. — To celebrate the unveiling of Zink Lake on the Arkansas River, locals can take to the water in Tulsa's Great Raft Race.

The four-day event from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 comes from a tradition started in 1973.

At the races' peak there were 600 rafts, 4500 racers, and 150,000 spectators who lined the banks of the Arkansas River from Sand Springs to Tulsa.

WATCH coverage from the 2018 race:

Tulsa's Great Raft Race: How many participated?

It ran until 1991. After calls to bring the event back, it started again in 2015. However, work on the Arkansas River and the COVID-19 pandemic forced the race to stop—until now.

A spokesperson with Tulsa's Great Raft Race said this:

We are proud to partner with Tulsa Regional Tourism, Gathering Place, River Parks Authority, and Tulsa’s Young Professionals (TYPros) to announce the Big Dam Party, an amazing celebration featuring rowing regattas, live music, flume competitions, and the iconic return of Tulsa’s Great Raft Race.

Since its inception in 1973, the Great Raft Race has been a symbol of community spirit and outdoor adventure. With your unwavering support, we revived this beloved event in 2015, and we're thrilled to bring it back once again as part of the Big Dam Party festivities.

Called the "Big Dam Party," the event will showcase all the work done on Zink Lake,including the Whitewater Flume, the Williams Crossing Pedestrian Bridge, boat launching spaces, and Gathering Place's expanded riverfront.

Sponsors have until June 28 to sign up. Those wanting to participate in the race have until July 12 to sign up.

To learn more about the event and how to get involved, click here.

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