57th Annual Missouri Whitewater Championships (MWC)

Register for the Slalom and Downriver Races

Online registration is now open!

Date: March 15-17, 2024
Where: St. Francis River (Class II – III), Millstream Gardens Conservation Area, Fredericktown, MO.(see map below)
Registration: Late registration will CLOSE Friday, March 15, at the Millstream Gardens Pavilion at 4 pm — NO EXCEPTIONS. There will be NO SATURDAY REGISTRATION.

Online registration will close Friday, March 15 at 9:00AM. 

Schedule: Wires will be strung Sunday, March 10, followed by a Slalom clinic. Gate Hanging is Thursday-Friday, March 14-15, with practice AFTER all gates are strung. Friday Downriver Race will start with a Racer’s meeting at Fishermans Put-in at 4:00 pm, and racing begins at 4:30 pm. On Saturday, the MANDATORY Racer’s meeting is at 8:30. Racing begins at 9:30. On Sunday the races are scheduled to start at 8:30, following the MANDATORY Racer’s meeting at 8:00.

Flexible pricing for Adults:
One Day ($35), or Full Weekend of Racing ($45)
Under 18 ($25). Late Registration Fee ($15). The ACA event fee is $10 for non-ACA members.

You WILL be charged $10 if your ACA number is not provided for insurance.
Pricing includes a 2024 race t-shirt for all entries.


Saturday 6pm (dinner starts at 7) March 16, Location:
Fredericktown Eagles Lodge, 411 Burris, Fredericktown, MO
Cost is $15 per adult $5 per child (15yrs and under)

Volunteers Needed

The races wouldn’t be possible without our many volunteers. Interested in helping this year?

Apply to Volunteer


What to Expect

Watch the video below to experience the MWC from set up weekend to race day.

If you cannot find the information you need, contact the Race Director at racedirector@missouriwhitewater.org. For info on volunteering, contact the Volunteer Coordinator at racevolunteer@missouriwhitewater.org.

A backup weekend is currently not planned.

Refunds: Refunds will only be issued only if the race is cancelled or water levels exceed personal limits/ability. $20 will be deducted to cover service fee & t-shirt. A race t-shirt will accompany all refunds.

Rules & Awards

Races will follow traditional MWC race rules (based on ICF rules, but with some exceptions, primarily in classes, age groups and scoring. Scoring will use 0/5/50 and best of two runs).

Number of runs & classes: Individual paddlers and tandem teams are permitted a maximum of two judged runs per slalom class and a maximum of three slalom classes (6 total runs) per day. Race Committee reserves the right to limit total number of runs and classes.

Awards are presented to the first three eligible finishers in each class. There must be at least three boats to constitute a class. Awards are presented after course takedown on Sunday.

Slalom Class Definitions


The Composite class (formerly called “Olympic” class) is reserved for official-length boats of 3.5M (K1 & C1) or 4.1M (C2) of any composite construction whether or not a paddler has medaled as Novice or Expert.
All boats must be legal by International Canoe Federation rules:

All types of K1
MINIMUM length: 3.50 m/11.48′ | MINIMUM width: 0.60 m/23.62″ | MINIMUM weight: 8 kg (17.64 lbs)
All types of C1
MINIMUM length: 3.50 m/11.48′ | MINIMUM width: 0.65 m/25.59″ | MINIMUM weight: 8 kg (17.64 lbs
All types of C2
MINIMUM length: 4.10 m/13.45′ | MINIMUM width: 0.75 m/29.53″ | MINIMUM weight: 13 kg (28.66 lbs)

Novice & Expert classes are Plastic only, of any length.

“Novice” means the paddler has never placed (medaled) in a Slalom race before, regardless of skill level or years boating. Also, if the paddler has medaled in the Downriver but not Slalom, he/she may run “Novice” classes for slalom.

Newly moved to Saturday PM: K1 Plastic Long/Short classification: Long is 7’6″ and over. Short is under 7’6″. Racers may only run either one  or the other, not both. We will confirm boat lengths on site, so please measure your boats carefully to avoid reshuffling! 

Sunday Slalom: Age Group Kayak, Open Canoe & SUP. Note: OC1 Novice Men & Women, for slalom (and downriver). This class is open to  any racer who has NOT previously placed in OC1, regardless of how many times they’ve raced OC1 in the past. Racers may only enter either  Novice or Expert, not both.

Newly moved to Sunday: Racing by age-group (or collegiate class). Plastic only.

RETURNING FOR 2024 — K1 Collegiate Class: Active college students have the option of participating in the MWA Collegiate Cup race as an  alternative to K1 age group classes on Sunday afternoon. Individual awards for top 3 and a special team award to fastest college (based on top  3 individual race times). Indicate your College on registration info. 

Downriver Race

Downriver classes have changed, by popular demand. Kayak classes will be by length, Under 10′, and 10′ & over. Kayak Novice is any length. No age groups in Downriver this year. Paddle fast!!

The downriver racers’ mandatory meeting is at Fisherman’s Put-in Friday at 4:00 PM. The race will be an interval start. Be ready to go in bib order or you risk missing your run!

Downriver classes are K1 Novice, K1 under 10′, K1 10′ and over, plus C1, OC1 Expert & Novice, OC2 and SUP
Classes are for Men & Women (& Mixed for OC-2). Rudders are prohibited in this race.

For the downriver race, “Novice” means the paddler has never placed in a Downriver race before. Paddlers who have medaled in Slalom but not Downriver may run the “Novice” class. Note that someone who meets the definition of Downriver “Novice” may enter K1 under 10′ or K1 10′ and over instead, if he/she chooses.


Course Description & Rules: This race is designed to be fun for racers, spectators and even slalom race Judges. At 12:30 PM Saturday  afternoon up to 20 advanced whitewater kayakers with solid rolling skills will gather in the pool near the slalom race start position. Judges and  spectators will be given dodgeballs that they will toss from secure locations along the rivers edge in an attempt to tag out kayakers. The winner  of the race will be the first one to cleanly run through the gate below big drop without getting tagged out. This is the only gate that needs to be  negotiated. 

Rules: Racers are allowed to knock the ball away with their paddle only, but knocked away balls remain live. Floating balls are live while on the  course between the starting pool and big drop. Any contact with a live ball will result in that racer being considered tagged out even if it was the  racer who knocked that ball away. Racers will be disqualified for any of the same reasons listed in the Boatercross Safety section below, etc.



Boatercross will be first-thing Sunday morning to improve race scheduling. Be on time!  

NEW FOR 2024: Boatercross final round held at 2:30pm

Boatercross Boats & Classes: Competitors race in kayaks (K1) or canoes, in men and women classes. Note: since this is a head-to-head style race, timing the racers is NOT required.  

Course Description & Rules: Emphasis of Boatercross is FUN, not competition! There will be multiple heats of 3–5 boats for each round. The  top two finishers from each heat will advance to the next round using the same course, until just 4-5 racers remain (depending on the number  of people who enter, and subsequently, the number of heats). These 4 or 5 finalists will race to decide the overall winner. Actual course length,  starting line, schedule of heats and final round will be determined at the time of the race since these are dependent on water level and racer  participation. The course will start at the designated Boatercross start line.  

Competitors will be assigned to heats of 3–5 boats. The Boatercross director will explain the course (negotiation of gates, buoys, obstacles, etc.)  before the start of the first heat. When announced by the Starting Judge, each heat of racers will line up side-by-side, bows facing downstream.  The start will be a “rolling start” so that when the Starting Judge determines that all racers in a heat are lined up EVENLY, he/she will immediately  announce “GO!” as the start of the race. 

When lining up competitors, the Starting Judge may ask racers to “Back-up,” “Move Forward” to ensure that the boats are lined up and no one  has an unfair advantage. Racers should pay close attention to the Starting Judge, as he/she may announce “GO!” at any moment after deciding  that the boats are lined up evenly. Any racers who fail to respond to the commands of the Starting Judge’s orders may be disqualified from the  event. 

When the Starting Judge says “GO!” racers will paddle into the main flow of the river, negotiate the course, and cross the main finish line at the  end. Each heat will be completed before the next one begins. When the top two finishers of a given heat are identified by the Finishing Judge,  they will be required to follow the instructions regarding who they will be paired up with for the next round. 

Boatercross Safety: There will be strict disqualification for ANY intentional harm to another paddler or “skirting” the gates. No slashing with  paddles, punching, grabbing or pulling on another PERSON, their helmet or PFD. Boat loops may NOT be taped down. Competitors should keep  their hands on their paddles as much as possible. Paddlers can reach across the deck of a competitor in order to plant a stroke in the water. No  pulling on grab loops, skirt loops, cockpit rims, etc


safetyPaddlers: PFDs and protective whitewater headgear are required. Wet suits or dry suits are STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. Be prepared for cold water.

Boats: Decked boats must have endloops and be unsinkable. Full flotation and/or bulkheads will suffice. Open canoes must have endloops and no less than 10- and no more than 15-cubic feet of secured flotation which must be below the water line & not impede water flow.

Boat inspection: All race boats must be inspected and pass length, material and safety (flotation) requirements. NOTICE: Boats not meeting flotation requirements will not be allowed on the course!

Race Safety Support: Each racer completing the course must remain afloat at the finish to help with safety until relieved by the next 2 boats.


Volunteers: If in doubt, see the Volunteer Coordinator on Saturday morning for volunteer needs. Thanks!

Work Assignments: Paddler work assignments are required each day the paddler races. Racer is responsible for getting & fulfilling work assignments. Worker substitution is allowed (family member, etc.)! Not working may result in disqualification!

Among the volunteer jobs to be filled are:

  • Safety Boaters: Must be proficient in on-water rescue. Selection determined by Safety Chair. Racers are required to assist other boaters as needed. Each boat completing the course must remain afloat at the finish until relieved by the next 2 boats!
  • Sales Table: Selling shirts, raffle tickets, banquet tickets. Must be MWA member in good standing & over 18 years old.
  • Public Address: Announce races, and other events over PA system.

The following require pre-event training. We’re happy to train!

  • Start Line: Organize racers in correct order, relay start times to scoring tent.
  • Finish Line: Record and relay finish times to scoring tent
  • Communications: Send times, gate scores, other data between start/finish, judging stations and scoring tents with via radio.
  • Timing: Operate one of the following: start or finish timing, boat scheduling at start.
  • Scoring: Operate computer scoring, organize times, gate scores or post scores.
  • Judging:  Observe racers passing through gates & mark penalties, communicate scores via radio.  What do volunteer slalom race judges do?  See PDF slide show.

If you are interested in volunteering, please Apply

Donations Request Form

This event is organized solely by a large volunteer staff of about one hundred people. We would like to offer companies a chance to shine by donating a gear item or gift certificate that we can use to reward our volunteers after the event is over.   If you or someone you know may be interested, please download our donations request letter.

Additional Information

Setup: Initial wire setup will be on Saturday, March 9, beginning at 10 AM. This involves stringing wires for the gates across the river, so bring your gloves, wire cutters, pliers, and water. No experience necessary–we will teach on-the-fly!

A Slalom Clinic is planned after the wires are strung (free to volunteers, $20 to others). Free camping and party follows on Saturday night for setup volunteers at the Silver Mines Group Campsite (see map). Final course setup (stringing the gates) is the following Thursday & Friday, March 14-15, followed by gate practice, race training or recreational paddling. Come help out and have fun!

Friday Night Live Music

Friday night, after the Downriver race, we will have live music at the takeout.  The music will be at the D-bridge Pavilion, near the Riverside campground. Food for purchase will be TBD. Plan on BYO food. Come down early, help finish set-up, race and enjoy the fun!  Downriver awards will be presented at the Pavilion.  

Race Banquet

Saturday evening beginning at 6 PM (dinner at 7), at the Fredericktown Eagles Lodge, 411 Burris, Fredericktown, MO.

You will be able to reserve your ticket in online registration or by sending in money with your registration form. Tickets are $15 and will also be available at the t-shirt sales table until 3 PM the same day and also at the door that evening (if any tickets remain).

Paddler/Volunteers’ Raffle: A drawing will be held Sunday after course takedown for racers and volunteers (remember: helping to take down the course is MANDATORY for all racers). Paddling gear and accessories may be among the surprises given away!

Important: Because of the variable water levels of the St. Francis River, participants are strongly advised to verify if the race will be held before traveling long distances. Check the message board for the latest info. The following outdoors stores will also have definite information after NOON on THURSDAY, March 14:

Alpine Shop
(314) 962-7715
440 North Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood, MO 63122

Brentwood REI
(314) 918-1004
1703 S. Brentwood

Millstream Gardens & Silver Mines Recreation Area are located west of Fredericktown, & east of Ironton/Arcadia off State Highway 72 (see map). Fredericktown is about 90 miles southwest of St. Louis off State Highway 67. Lodging, food, gasoline, etc., are all available in the Fredericktown/Ironton/Arcadia area. Camping is available at Silver Mines Recreation Area (see map). Concessions will be available at the race site both Saturday and Sunday.

Parking: Due to limited parking at the put-in, only racers and volunteers will be allowed access. All others need to park at the visitor parking lot. Failure to comply may result in being ticketed by Missouri Dept. of Conservation officers. An overflow parking lot may be available. Warning: parking may be muddy.

Other Rules: Please don’t litter. Spectators and racers should pick up after themselves and others-use waste bins. Dogs must be leashed at all times! No outside solicitation is allowed. Alcohol will not be sold but you may bring your own—please drink responsibly.

The Missouri Whitewater Championships are organized and administered by the Missouri Whitewater Association, with lots of invaluable help from the Sierra Club Eastern Missouri Group, the Missouri Department of Conservation and lots of other volunteers and organizations. These races are sanctioned by the American Canoe Association (ACA).

Downloadable copy of Rules, Safety, Volunteer, Full Schedule and Additional Information [ Download PDF ]

Last updated Feb 17, 2024

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