Here are some of the most frequently asked questions. The are organized into three sections: General Event Questions, Team Questions, and Sponsorship Questions

General Event Questions

Q: When does the race start and how long will the boats be racing?

A: The training and time trials start at approximately 8:30 am on Saturday.  The time trial end time is dependent upon how many teams enter.  All teams will then be organized into a bracket depending on their time during the time trials. The actual racing will then start after the time trials are complete and will run until all brackets are finished.

Q: On race day, will you have educational information for the
Chinese culture?

A: Yes, we are very fortunate to have the Confucius Institute/MSU as an active partner in this new event. Be sure to come down on Sunday, not only to see the race, but also to experience their displays of Chinese culture.

Team Questions

Q: I would like to join a team for the race, how can I sign-up?

A:  You can form your own team (see the Team Registration page) or if you would like to join an already organized team you can email us at and we will try to connect you with a team.

Q: Is there just one race, or is it set up like a bracket?

A: The event is set up as a bracketed tournament. We’ll start with time trials to create 4-6 divisions, then you’ll race within your division to keep the competition balanced. Each ‘race’ will consist of two heats, one in each lane, and it will take multiple races to work through the division brackets. Sounds like a lot of paddling? Keep in mind that the race course is approximately 300 meters (think 3 football fields), so Start to Flag will take just a few minutes. Your team will be in a boat multiple times throughout the day, which is why you can have up to 25 team members, to include substitutions if you’d like. This is also why you’ll be provided a ‘campsite’ for the day and when your team isn’t competing.

Q: It sounds like our team is going to be there most of the day – can we bring in a grill and some beer? What about water bottles – any place to refill them?

A: No grills and no alcohol will be allowed in the Athlete’s Village. We will definitely have a place for you to refill your water bottles and would love for everyone to bring reusable water bottles to keep the race green. You are welcome to bring drinks, snacks, and other food for your team, we just ask that you be responsible and clean up after yourselves! Thank you for the good questions!

Q: Do we need team t-shirts?

A: All you need is matching shirts. You can instruct all members of your team to wear a certain color (like green, red, yellow) or you can have team t-shirts made with your team-names on them. We do reward creativity, the team with the best theme will win the Team Theme award!

Q: If I get the team of 20-25 people, will you provide the boat? How do we practice?

A: Yes we provide the boats, paddles and life jackets. As for practicing, you’ll have scheduled training time on the Saturday before the race. Before the race, you can work with your team on synchronization (with a drummer!) and do lots of stretching and solo paddling practice. The summer is a great time for canoeing, kayaking and rowing on the rivers so you’ll have all summer to practice those skills.

Q: You mentioned above that we can have substitutions throughout the day, since we can have up to 25 team members. But in the rules that are linked to online, it says this:

“3.5 Crews may not substitute paddlers between heats. Crews shall paddle short when paddlers are missing.”

Which is it? I would hope that for the sake of each team and getting members to participate,we could switch so everyone would get a chance.

A: Your team will be in several Races throughout the day as we work thru the brackets. Each Race consists of two Heats, one in the East lane and one in the West lane, to ensure that there is no lane advantage. The boats will not come back to the dock between Heats, but will indeed come back between Races, so you will have opportunity to swap out your team to ensure everyone enjoys the fun!

Q: With 20 people on the boat, how do we decide who sits where?

A: We provide the trained helms who will not only steer the boat, but also help you balance your team in the boat. Check out our Tips for Paddlers page to see how to most effectively assign positions in the boat. And remember, a synchronized team can easily beat a stronger team – practice the paddling stroke on land, in unison, with someone beating out the cadence.

Sponsorship Questions

Q: Will we be able to put our team logo on the boat?

A: Well, no and yes. We are selling ‘Boat Sponsorships’ to put a company flag on the stern of a boat, so to get your name on the boat, you would need to buy a Boat Sponsorship. (These flags will remain on each boat throughout the event.) You can certainly have your company logo on your team t-shirts, just keep in mind that while racing you will be required to wear our PFD’s. Between races, your team members will be free to roam the event area at Hawk Island Park.

Q: Does sponsoring a team include the price of team T-shirts?

A: The Team t-shirts to be worn during the race are your uniform to identify your team and are to be provided by you. We will give each team member a commemorative event t-shirt as part of the registration fee (teams can be 20-25 members.) This is why we ask for t-shirt size on your registration form, but this info will help you get your Team t-shirts as well.

Q: Are there places to set up a team booth?

A: We are giving each team a ‘campsite’ for the day, and are encouraging teams to pick a team theme, incorporating their name, t-shirt, campsite into that theme. While you can certainly use your company as your theme, this is to be a fun and creative contest and we will encourage attendees to vote w/ cash on the team that best carries out their Team Theme.

Q: We read through the Sponsorship packages and there wasn’t anything that really fit our budget.  Can we still help support the race?

A: Absolutely!  Please contact Cindie Alwood at 517.372.9163.  She’d be delighted to tailor a sponsorship to fit your company, including in-kind opportunities.

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