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Caballeros de Yuma host family-friend floatdown July 2
YUMA, ARIZONA – With Yuma's riverfront having been transformed over the last decade, a local civic group has decided to relaunch another old tradition for this July 4th weekend – a mass community "float" down the gentle waters of Colorado River through the historic crossing.
But where the old Colorado River Float Down of the 1970s and '80s devolved into something of a water-borne fraternity party, the Caballeros de Yuma envision their Territorial River Regatta as a "family-friendly event that everyone can enjoy," said event chairman Jonathon Lines.
"The Colorado River is an amazing community resource," Lines added. "Floating along with your friends and family on a sunny day is the perfect way to enjoy it and celebrate the holiday."
He emphasizes that the stretch of the Colorado running through Yuma is perfect for folks of all ages, from toddlers to grandparents. "This is nice, slow, shallow water," Lines said. "The joke around here is that if you tip over, all you have to do is stand up."
Set to launch at 9 a.m. July 2 at the confluence of the Gila and Colorado rivers just east of downtown Yuma, the regatta will welcome both individual tubes and floats up to 8 feet x 8 feet in size, which can be decorated according to any theme to compete for three special prizes.
Floaters will debark at West Wetlands Park, just west of downtown, where the Caballeros will sell hot dogs, hamburgers, sodas and commemorative T-shirts. Depending on river flows and other conditions, the float usually takes about three hours, but all river and regatta services will end at 3 p.m. And if tubing doesn't float your boat, the City's Parks & Rec department will host a kids' fishing derby at West Wetlands from 7-10 a.m. that morning. Information on the derby and other City of Yuma holiday events is available at 928-373-5243 or at www.yumaaz.gov .
Yuma River Tubing is participating in the float, so if you need a tube and shuttle transportation, go to www.yumarivertubing.biz, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-750-0247.
All participants in the Territorial River Regatta must register individually ($5 cost), sign a release and wear a numbered wristband. All floaters under 18 years old must have a parent or guardian's signature on their registration form; those younger than 15 also must be accompanied on the river by a parent or guardian. ID is required, no glass allowed on the river or at West Wetlands Park, and participants are encouraged to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket, to use sunscreen and to carry and drink plenty of water. Get the registration form and rules online at www.territorialriverregatta.com or call the event hotline at 928-276-4803.
Lines is optimistic that the revived float will draw a healthy crowd, though probably fewer than the 7,000-8,000 it drew at its earlier high water mark. "When word hit the streets that the float was back, the Cab office started fielding calls daily. I think we'll make a splash."
Assisting the Caballeros in sponsoring what they hope will be an annual event are the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Yuma County Sheriff's Office, Arizona Game & Fish, Yuma Visitors Bureau, Rural Metro and City of Yuma police, fire and parks & rec departments.
The Caballeros de Yuma, Inc., is a nonprofit organization that has been welcoming visitors and sponsoring special events in the Yuma area since 1962. Its Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival (Nov. 18-20, 2011) and Midnight at the Oasis classic car show (March 2-4, 2012) are among Yuma's premiere annual events. For more information, call 928-343-1715, email email@example.com or visit www.caballeros.org.
Yuma Visitors Bureau markets the Yuma area within the travel and tourism industry and to the general public. Direct travel spending in Yuma County totaled more than $577 million in 2009 and supported nearly 6,000 jobs. Travel spending in the county also generated more than $36 million in state and local taxes. For more information, including summer specials at area hotels, call 800-293-0100 or visit www.visityuma.com .
Media contact: Ann Walker, 928-376-0100 (office), 928-210-9044 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
Visitor Information Center: 1-800-293-0071
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