The 39th Annual FloatFest congregation assembled at Akers Ferry and prayed for a safe journey downstream on the Current River.
The Sisters of the Stick gather around the high priest in preparation to serve their penance.
And the Brothers of the Cross attempt to absolve all of their sins ... and it was a mighty feeble attempt indeed.
FloatFest veteran, Scuba Linneman, proudly presents his automatic stirring coffee mug ... a new campground gadget debuted at the 30th Annual FloatFest.
Sister Kalisu, Brother Kent and Sister Mary Caroline consider lifelong repentment at the FloatFest campground.
Sister Sin and Sister Mary Nan pray they do not spend all night in the dreaded confessional chamber.
The congregation embark on the beautiful Current River and celebrate a day of Holy Floating.
Sister Mary Nan dashes to the Bible table to identify what page a line of scripture may be found, and so began the Bible Scripture Race on one of the FloatFest gravel bars!
Brother Scoobs thumbs through the Holy Bible to find the elusive scripture.
Brother Kent and Sister Sin compete against each other to discover a specific page of scripture, while their teams strategize and cheer from behind the finish line.
FloatFest veterans, Dale and Cyn, paddle downstream on their way to Cave Spring and the traditional Bapitism of the Virgins.
On a gravel bar stop, The Sisters of the Stick and The Brothers of the Cross competed in a spirited game of Bible Password ... and the password is: Moses.
Brother Kent emerges from the mouth of Cave Spring ... a crisp and cool 58 degree pool of spring water perfectly suited for full body baptisms.
Sister Mary Caroline and Brother Stephen race to devour marinated Swedish Fish hidden beneath layers of whipped cream.
And down the hatch go those Swedish Fish ...
In the end, only a few fish survived in each team's respective pie plates.
Clean up on gravel bar 29 ... while the clouds are rolling in.
Shazbad discovers a special trinket left behind by his family 3,298 years ago ... bleeep, blooop, ziiing, zleeep.
Brother Stephen and Sister Nancy enjoy a moment in kayak heaven.
Brother Billy, Sister Sin and Brother Kent are stumped by a trivia question about our beloved Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
Brother Dale and Brother Scoobs stir the sacrificial hollow-wood fire.
Where there is good, there is evil ... and the devil himself made a guest appearance in the form of the traditional FloatFest piñata.
Being a virgin, Brother Stephen gets the first whack at Satan.
Eventually, good outweighed evil when Jesus came to play.
And then the Pope arrived to announce the final game of FloatFloat: Bible Charades!
And all FloatFesters portrayed various scenes from the Holy Bible behind a giant backlighted mesh screen at the campground.
The High Priest of FloatFest blesses all campers as the tiki torches are extinguished for the night.
On Sunday morning, Brother Kent was randomly selected from all members of the winning team and earned a FREE TRIP to the 40th Annual FloatFest.
And the infamous MOP Award was bestowed upon Brother Stephen who, on his maiden voyage, walked away with the FloatFest's most dubious achievement.
Bless you all children ... may you go in peace and serve the Riverways.
The 38th Annual FloatFest
June 26, 27 & 28, 2015 Battleship Canoe
From the high seas to the low valleys of the Current River, the 2015 FloatFest set sail with an armada of ships, two teams and a mutual mission to sink each other ... Battleship Canoe!
In FloatFest tradition, we combined education and fun during 2015's most epic canoeing and camping weekend in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
Here are the highlights of the program:
The 38th Annual FloatFest kicked off with a special guest appearance by Drill Sergeant Charles Kohler who provided a motivational speech to all those about to compete in Battleship Canoe. The video of Drill Sergeant Kohler can be viewed by clicking HERE.
Captain Kent and First Mate Caroline brought a most amazing hand-carved Battleshots board ... and on Friday night, shots began to be fired from bow to stern.
The Rear Admirals of the Naval and Team Seaman analyze their fleet of ships during Friday evening's Battleshots competition.
Bombs away ...
Someone sank Kally's battleship.
... and another one's down ...
... and another one's down ...
... and another one bites the dust.
The Rear Admirals of the Naval in the midst of some strategery.
And the competion gets fast underway for the dubious MOP Award.
Somehow the morning came around and Toni sounded revelry ... ouch.
Billy and Scuba gather ammunition for Saturday's bombardments.
The Rear Admirals of the Naval set out to man their battle stations.
Captain Dale and Captain Kent declare war.
Team Seaman discuss top secret maneuvers prior to launch.
And the Rear Admirals of the Naval prepare for counter-attacks.
Team Seaman design their battle plan in stealthly style.
Kent aims to launch a grenade to sink Team Seaman's boat.
Alas, the Rear Admirals of the Naval win this gravel bar competition and earn more pegs for their Battleship Canoe game board.
Captain Kent succombs to infiltration from a double-naught spy (who, by this point, was well on his way to the MOP Award).
Meanwhile, Captain Dale closes in on the final bomb to sink the enemy's entire fleet.
KA-BOOM ... we have a winner: The Rear Admirals of the Naval defeat Team Seaman who are forced to wave their white towel.
Joel attempts to kayak into Cave Spring for the ceremonial Baptism of the Virgins.
To the victor go the spoils.
But STANDBY FloatFesters, the surrender was premature as Nancy gets another whack to change the course of the war.
In the Sunday morning aftermath, Cyndi and Dale tell tales of destruction on the open river.
Caroline and Billy awaiting word of awards on Sunday morning.
And the winner (by randon drawing from all members of the winning team) is Ms. Kalisu Coleman, who will be riding FREE of charge on the 39th Annual FloatFest ... congratulations to Kally and the Rear Admirals of the Naval for a well fought victory in Battleship Canoe.
And the dreaded MOP Award goes to FloatFest virgin, Joel Dauve ... Joel you outdid yourself (and everyone else on the river throughout the course Battleship Canoe).
The 37th Annual FloatFest
June 20, 21 & 22, 2014 Cash Cab Canoe
In the same spirit as the hit TV show, Cash Cab, the 37th Annual FloatFest provided the opportunity to win some cold hard cash by taking a pleasure ride in the Cash Cab Canoe ... a specially equipped, air conditioned vessel filled with trivia questions about our beloved Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
A brief video of the Cash Cab's arrival on FloatFest plus the traditional Baptism Of The Virgins can be view by clicking HERE.
The Cash Cab driver began the festivities by appointing two Team Captains to lead their riders down the Current River.
Prior to boarding our bus to Akers Ferry, FloatFesters were randomly chosen to be on Team Kally or Team Scuba.
As FloatFest is designed to educate the group about the natural and cultural history of the Ozark Riverways, each team competed to answer a series of trivia questions whenever one of their members had a chance to ride in the Cash Cab Canoe.
If and when a rider in the Cash Cab Canoe correctly answered a trivia question, he or she would be paid cash (funny money) on the spot for his or her team. The cash collected by each team would prove to be very valuable for that cash was used to purchase individual pieces of an important jigsaw puzzle.
When completed, the jigsaw puzzle spelled out a poem that provided clues as to where a bounty of REAL cold hard cash was hidden somewhere in the campground. Each team had an identical jigsaw puzzle.
The team who correctly answered enough trivia questions throughout the day consequently had more cash to buy more pieces to their puzzle and thus be the first ones to spell out the poem (and clues to the real treasure).
Cyndi was the first rider in the air conditioned Cash Cab Canoe.
After randomly selecting a trivia question, Cyndi conferred with fellow members of Team Scuba and responded with the correct answer ... and the Cash Cab driver immediately paid out the earnings.
Kent was the next rider and was quickly in a quandary ... after much contemplation, Kent nailed a winning answer and more cash was handed over.
As always, plenty of time was made for relaxing and enjoying the splendors of nature along and between the banks of the magnificent Current River.
Just like in the actual Cash Cab show, the Cash Cab Canoe had a telephone (two-way radio) that could be used by the rider to call his or her fellow teammates if help was needed to answer a trivia question. Every canoe or kayak on the FloatFest was also equipped with a two-way radio, so when a question from the Cash Cab came over the radio network, anyone on FloatFest could respond ... including the opposing team (who could suggest a wrong answer). So it was imperative for the Cash Cab rider to remember who was on their team AND be able to recognize voices through the two-way radio so as not to get duped into an incorrect answer.
FloatFest's own Virgil Ward reeled in several fish throughout the day, including this nice big smally. Well done, Doug!
Like any cab ride, you never know what you're going to see on the sidewalks ... or in this case on the river banks (and in the trees).
Nancy attempted to tackle Question #36 and had a secret weapon by her side ... a wonderful book called Two Rivers that details much of the natural and cultural history of the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers ... a link to purchase this book can be found under the SPECIAL THANKS page on this website.
The traditional baptism of the virgins was accompanied by New York style street (make that gravel bar) hawkers!
Should any mishaps have occurred, the FloatFest was well prepared with two of the best nurses on board.
As the mist set in on the river in the late afternoon, our take out spot at Pulltite was just around the bend and the evening fun at our group campsite was about to begin.
The campfire raged well into the evening along with singalong guitar playing and, of course, lots of surprises inside of the traditiional piñata.
The morning after saw Cyndi and Dale posing by the seductive tree where the bounty was hidden. In the evening, Team Scuba managed to put their puzzle together faster than Team Kally, and the poem led them to this most favored tree in the campsite where a pouch of cold hard cash was found inside.
On Sunday morning, the soon-to-be-announced award winner was wheeled into camp.
Bloody Mary's abounded around the camp in great anticipation of the FloatFest award ceremony.
World-class breakfasts were prepared and acoustic guitar music greeted FloatFesters on a sunny Sunday morning.
The only person who seemed surprised by the notorious MOP award was the recipient himself, Mr. Chris Koehler.
The official MOP award was handed over to Chris much to the delight and approval of all fellow FloatFesters.
As the grand finale of FloatFest, all members of the winning Team Scuba were entered into a drawing ... one name was randomly pulled and FloatFest veteran Nancy Higgins walked away with the trophy and a FREE TRIP to the 38th Annual FloatFest. Congratulations Nancy and see you soon on the beautiful Current River!
The 36th Annual FloatFest
June 21, 22 & 23, 2013
Our 2013 theme had FloatFesters paddling downstream in search of inconspicuous ducks floating along the banks of the beautiful Current River. While every journey on the Current River involves live duck sightings, the birds our FloatFesters were looking for had no feathers or meat to speak of ... they were decoys, but they were valuable decoys indeed as they all learned downstream.
Most curious, even the FloatFest theme (Duck Dynasty) was a decoy! At the beginning of the traditional morning meeting on Saturday, the Duck Commander revealed the real theme for the 2013 FloatFest (see picture below) ... much to the delight of the crowd.
Once the real theme was revealed, all FloatFesters were divided into two teams: Team Phil and Team Willie. Each team selected its own Duck Commander (team captain) and each Duck Commander was the final authority / spokesperson for that team. Prior to departing the group campsite, trivia questions about our beloved Ozark National Scenic Riverways were handed over to each Duck Commander.
Throughout the canoe trip on Saturday, teams were challenged to answer the trivia questions either through their own knowledge of the Riverways, by asking passers-by for help or by discovering the answers literally hidden in the river itself.
Placed ever-so-discreetly by the FloatFest organizing committee, a number of duck decoys were positioned along the banks of the river ... the first team to spot and grab a decoy was rewarded as each duck floated atop an answer to the trivia contest.
Teams accumulated points for every correct trivia answer ... the team with the most points at the end of FloatFest was declared the champion and one member of that team would be randomly selected as the winner of a FREE trip to the 37th Annual FloatFest.
As education of and respect for our Ozark National Scenic Riverways is the top priority and mission of FloatFest, a sample of this year's trivia contest can be seen above.
Kent begins the search for the first duck decoy.
Within the first mile of the float, veteran Scuba Linneman caught this nice rainbow trout ... all part of the FloatFest experience.
In addition to hunting for duck decoys, FloatFesters were surprised by four secret gravel bar games in classic Duck Dynasty style ... the first stop involved Hillbilly Horsehoes.
Each team rotated horseshoe throwers to compete for points that would be added to the overall trivia point scores. However, these horseshoes were custom carved toilet seat covers and the targets were toilet plungers set 25 feet apart.
A good time was had by y'all.
That's a RINGER!
Just past the Hillbilly Horseshoe gravel bar stop, a beautiful mist rose over the river ...
a quintessential Ozark Riverways experience.
When piracy pervaded the river, Team Phil tracked down the decoy thief and persuaded him to return the valuable treasure which held yet another answer to the Ozark Riverways trivia contest.
Our second surprise gravel bar contest was called Duck Egg Roullette ... each team was lined up separately on a gravel bar and one member from each team was asked to step forward to the firing line.
Each team member had to select one egg from a carton ... some eggs were hard boiled and some were not. Once an egg was selected, each team member ceremoniously smashed the egg against his / her own forehead.
The first team to break three raw eggs was declared the loser, and their opponents were awarded all of the points associated with Duck Egg Roullette.
A wealth of virgins were represented at The 36th Annual FloatFest ... and, as tradition has it, the official Baptism-Of-The-Virgins took place in the icy waters of Cave Spring.
Kent and the rest of FloatFest paddle downstream in anticipation of the next surprise gravel bar contest.
At the next gravel bar, the FloatFest Commander points out our next competitors for another Redneck Game called Hillbilly Bobbing.
The Hillbilly Bobbing event featured one contestant from each team. The contestants had to kneel in front of a tub of river water in preparation to "bob" for apples.
However, no apples were involved. Instead, each tub contained 6 raw pig's feet.
The contestant who was the first to remove all six pig's feet with his teeth was declared the winner, and his team earned all of the points associated with Hillbilly Bobbing.
When the starting whistle sounded, Kent and Troy plunged in with innate Cro-Magnon determination.
In the end, Kent The Carnivore prevailed with a terrifying display of beastly behavior.
Our fourth and final surprise gravel bar contest was called Duck-And-Cover ... a nod to the 1950's government sponsored paranoia program with a unique FloatFest twist.
This Duck-And-Cover event began with a giant bedsheet given to each team ... each bedsheet featured an identical layout of EVERY official Annual FloatFest Cover throughout history.
Four members from each team (one for each corner of the bedsheet) were charged with the mission to land an air-powered missile on their bedsheet. The air-powered missile was coated with a special red-painted tip to leave a distinct mark on wherever it landed on the bedsheet.
If the missile landed on the 14th Annual FloatFest Cover, that team would earn 14 points ... if the rocket landed on the 32nd Annual FloatFest Cover, that team would earn 32 points, etc.
Team Willie prepares their bedsheet for Duck-And-Cover.
5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...
Look closely ... the missile is in mid-launch (just the left of John's head).
Angela and Doug upon final approach to Pulltite ... the night's about to begin.
Nightfall around the campfire ... great friends old and new, surrounded by guitars and stars above.
For the traditional piñata contest, the FloatFest Commander had yet another surprise inside ... more decoys much to the chagrin of FloatFest veterans who were banking on victory from the piñata prizes.
Bedecked with a lei of rubber ducks, the FloatFest Commander tallies all of the scores on Sunday morning in preparation for the award presentation.
After the final points were totaled, Team Phil was announced as the runaway winner!
All of the names from winning Team Phil were then put into a drawing for the FREE trip to the 37th Annual FloatFest, and Mary randomly picked one fortunate FloatFester.
Kent, a FloatFest Virgin, was the lucky (but well-deserved) recipient of the FREE trip to the 37th Annual FloatFest ... as a result, Kent received the coveted plaque of Champions - CONGRATULATIONS!
Then it was time for the announcement of the infamous MOP (Most Obnoxious Person) AWARD. After very little debate, the Commander bestowed the MOP on Kent who took home ALL of the FloatFest hardware in his virgin year.
THANKS to one and all for making the 2013 FloatFest "Duck Dynasty" such a wonderful experience ... see you in 2014 for the 37th Annual FloatFest!
The 35th Annual FloatFest
June 22, 23 & 24, 2012
The 35th Annual FloatFest began with all FloatFesters being randomly divided into two teams ... one team was called Metallica and the other team was called Iron Maiden. Each team elected a leader of their band who was responsible for all final team decisions.
At selected gravel bars along the banks of the Current River, our flotilla pulled over and the games began. On these gravel bars, one metal detector was distributed to team Metallica and one to team Iron Maiden.
Hidden beneath the surface of selected gravel bars were rods of metal rebar, and plastic containers were buried under each rebar pole. As teams set out to scour these gravel bars for one (or more) of these buried treasures, the first team to find and uncover any container rightfully owned that buried treasure and earned ONE POINT for their discovery.
Inside each container was a "Heavy Metal of Honor" challenge ... the challenge was actually a replica of a "Minute To Win It" television show task.
After hearing a description about the challenge contained in the bucket, the team who owned that treasure had the choice to either accept the challenge OR force the other team to attempt the task. Whichever team attempted the task and completed the challenge in 60 seconds earned ONE POINT; however, whichever team attempted and FAILED the challenge was docked ONE POINT.
But there was more ... just prior to attempting the challenge, that team was provided a chance to add 30 seconds on their clock by correctly answering a trivia question about our beloved Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Besides putting an extra 30 seconds on the clock, a correct answer to the trivia question earned an extra ONE POINT for the team attempting the challenge.
Team Metallica and Team Iron Maiden battled it out on numerous gravel bars to see who could complete the most Minute To Win It challenges and earn the most points in the FloatFest's Heavy Metal competition.
As tradition has it, unsuspecting FloatFest rookies inevitably get cold feet about the Bapitism of the Virgins ... a ceremonious rite of passage for every newcomer.
And every year, the FloatFest provides ample time to figuratively chill out on every stretch of the river and commune with each other and Mother Nature in one of the world's most be beautiful cathedrals.
On the final morning of the weekend, the FloatFest manager collected the score sheets, tallied the total points earned by team Metallica and team Iron Maiden and emerged from backstage to announce the winner. Names of all members of the winning team were entered into a drawing and Mike Hurley's name was randomly chosen ... as such, Mike won a FREE TRIP to the 36th Annual FloatFest.
The last order of business (and pleasure) on the FloatFest is presenting the infamous MOP Award ... this dubious distinction is annually bestowed upon one FloatFester who has been deemed to be the Most Obnoxious Person ... in 2012, Gavin Poppen had a fast break out of the gate and became the run-away horse who clearly earned the MOP Award trophy.
The 34th Annual FloatFest 2011 Famous Foursomes
The traditional GROUP photo at our put-in point, Akers Ferry ... the Mop Tops and the Rat Pack are preparing for battle.
FloatFest veteran, Scuba Linneman, pulls out a relic from FloatFest past ... an all-important "clue" from a year gone by when the FloatFest theme was The Pulltite Code. Amazing that you have kept this piece of memorabilia over all these years, Scoobs!
Jim "BroHead" Higgins and Jay Kelleher are CAPTAINS of the competing teams called The Mop Tops and The Rat Pack, respectively. Let the FAMOUS FOURSOME games begin.
Good grief --- this is only the first gravel bar at Gladden Creek and the competition is already in full gear!
Eli, Nanbo and Kally ponder the navigation ahead.
Coby and Kristin --- thumbs up from the stern.
Capatin Jay of the Rat Pack suddenly discovers an answer to our of the FAMOUS FOURSOME quizes.
Is this heaven? Uhhh no, but it's pretty damn close --- it's the Current River.
COBY: "Oh crap, I should not have eaten that raw crawfish."
"Shazbad" and his earthly mate, Caroline, enjoy a memorable moment on this planet as The Grays float downstream.
It's another FAMOUS FOURSOME quiz ... anyone have a clue what this foursome may be?
"BroHead" and the Mop Tops correctly identify the Mutant Ninja Turtles ... great job Mop Tops!
Kally, BroHead and Kristin attempt to unravel the mystery behind yet another FAMOUS FOURSOME quiz ... with the most important BONUS question regarding our beloved Ozark Riverways lurking on the back of the quiz sheet.
Scoobs angling for either a sucker fish or a blow fish.
Perhaps his little minnow may attract one of the fish.
Scoob's little minnow failed, so he pulled out his big worm.
It doesn't get much better than this.
Jay and the Rat Pack receive another FAMOUS FOURSOME quiz.
The Mop Tops make an entry on a quiz sheet and heat up the competition.
The Rat Pack reciprocate, and it's neck-and-neck on the river.
A Famous Threesome on the FAMOUS FOURSOME FloatFest.
Loving a little "LIMB"-bo action.
Who's ready for the 58 degree water of Cave Spring? Can you say nippy?
Lovely piece of rootwad and a river maiden near the mouth of Cave Spring.
Standby --- someone wants a photo.
Jay and Joan enjoying the mist rolling in near Fire Hydrant Spring.
While Scuba may prefer the sucker or blow fish, BroHead is aiming for a small mouth.
Newt on patrol.
Ahhh, who said I'm cut off after only one more cocktail? I don't think so.
A picture of beauty - and the misty river ain't bad either.
Newt keeps watch as the mist thickens.
Scoobs prepares some hollow wood for his always-incredible fire art.
Jay and Joan: AMERICAN GOTHIC
Kent, Caroline, Nan and Huck "peace out" at the dinner table.
Santa Scuba receives a wish list from Nan by the fireside.
Scoobs and Gavin crack out the tunes by the campfire.
Breakfast with our good friend and Pulltite Campground host, Carrie --- will miss you Carrie and hope to see you and John downstream.
The 33rd Annual FloatFest
One of FloatFest's most treasured veterans, Scuba Linneman, kicks off the 2010 weekend with a most appropriate koolie-cup and a toast to the crowd gathered around the campfire.
The Classic Vinyl theme activities are announced as the FloatFest participants are divided into two teams: The Needles versus the Groves. One of the competitions involved properly guessing classic rock-and-roll album art ... game on.
The teams begin reviewing their quiz papers and scratch their heads trying to recall all of those dim and distant memories of album art from the 70s and 80s.
The 33rd Annual FloatFest puts in at Akers Ferry, grabs the traditional group photo and embarks on their journey downsteam.
Kent "Shazbad" Gray pours a delicious and refreshing summer beverage from a plastic container. Kudos to Kent for obeying the National Park Service's strict rule of NO GLASS in your canoe.
Lunch on the riverside provided more time for Classic Vinyl games ... at various gravel bars, teams heard short excepts from classic rock n roll songs and were challenged to name the title and the artist associated with each cut of music.
FloatFest virgin, Elaine Wilkerson, gets "baptized" in the 58 degree waters of Cave Spring.
Jim "BroHead" Higgins and Kent "Shazbad" Gray consult with Mike Hurley to confirm an answer on their team's Classic Vinyl trivia test.
Katherine "Huck" Poppen expresses her dismay over her team's attempt to answer one of the brain-teasing questions on the Classic Vinyl quiz sheet.
Nan Allen takes a break with a cushion float and "chills out" in the spring-fed waters of the Current River.
One of FloatFest's favorite couple's, Joan and Jay, enjoy one of many romantic moments on a sunny gravel bar.
Scuba is groovin' on the river in his well-equiped kayak.
The Grooves confer on a trivia question while The Needles are skipping over themselves in the background.
BroHead Higgins contemplates the relevance and accuracy of his team's Classic Vinyl trivia answer.
Nanbo and Caroline take a POP STOP on the river and pay homage to their contribution to the riverways.
Expert angler, Scuba Linneman, preps his pole in search of a small mouth (insert laughter here).
The Needles and Grooves cruise down the river on the way to our Pulltite Campground destination where a full-filled night remained ahead.
Eli Wilkerson (a FloatFest virgin in 2010) prepares to take the first whacks at the traditional FloatFest pinata.
One more swing of the pinata pole and the Classic Vinyl competition is about to heat up ...
The traditional FloatFest pinata had many secrets inside and a mad rush to pick up those treasures (quiz sheet answers) resulted in a wrestle-royal on the ground of our Pulltite campsite.
The trio of Katherine, Nanbo and Caroline swoon the crowd with their American Idol-like singing talent ...
With the Classic Vinyl quiz sheets completed, teams gather round for the final tally to determine who will be the winners ... the Needles or the Groves.
As a result of being on the winning team, Elaine Wilkerson is randomly selected as the winner of the FREE trip to the 34th Annual FloatFest.
Eli proudly displays her FloatFest "Classic Vinyl" Champion's plaque.
And last but never ever least, the infamous FloatFest MOP Award for 2010 is bestowed upon Nanbo ... and this competition wasn't even close. Congrats to you Nance and thanks for earning this one in "classic" style.