Address: P. O. Box 1166, Bettendorf, IA 52722
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Supporting STEM professionals, societies, educators, parents and students

2021 Cardboard Boat “Superheroes” Regatta Race

The 12th Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta Race will be held on Friday, May 14th, 2021 at the  Bettendorf Middle Park Lagoon.  This is the 3rd competition in the QC High School Tech Challenge, a STEM challenge series with the top high school winning the traveling trophy & an individual winning top prize.  The current standings are available with this link for individuals and with this link for the team standings.  

Link to detailed, generic team schedule 

This year’s theme for the event is Superheroes with teams encouraged to design and decorate their boat accordingly.  The boat with the best decorative design supporting the theme will receive a judged award.  

High school teams & special adult race entries can register here (see details below).
Please note we plan to have a special, separate race for adults including (school STEM Teachers, Administers and local STEM professionals) near Noon. Feel free to share and encourage people you know to enter and participate in the special race!  

List of Adult Race Entries (7 total):

  • Grant Houseman, Pleasant Valley High School, STEM Teacher
  • Matt Stutenberg, Pleasant Valley High School, STEM Teacher
  • Adam Pagett, Pleasant Valley High School, Assistant Principal
  • Dan Drexler, Bettendorf High School, STEM Teacher 
  • Mike Christensen, Bettendorf High School, STEM Teacher
  • Kristy Cleppe, Bettendorf High School, Associate Principal
  • Michelle Morse, Bettendorf Community Schools, Superintendent 

List of Teams that have registered (30 total expected):

Volunteers can register here (Registration for volunteer is now closed):
No previous experience required & click on the registration link for further details.

2021 Event Volunteers Below:

Event Date:
Friday, May 14, 2021

High Level Schedule: 
8:30 – 8:40 a.m. – Volunteers arrive & setup
9:00 a.m. – 11:41 a.m.  High School Team Races 
12:00 – 12:45 p.m – Special Teacher/School Admin/STEM Professional Race Challenge 
12:45 – 146 p.m – Remaining  teams compete followed by award ceremony
2:10 p.m. – End of event
Link to detailed, generic team schedule 

Bettendorf Middle Park Lagoon
2014-2016 Parkway Drive
Bettendorf, Iowa

Event will be outside and follow CDC COVID-19 Guidelines:

  • Stay home if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are waiting on test results, are showing COVID-19 symptoms, or have had a close contact  with a person who has tested positive for or who has symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Bring your own equipment, and if possible, limit shared equipment.
  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others when possible.
  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect yourself and others.
  • Clean or sanitize your hands before and after sharing equipment.
  • Tell your teacher or staff member if you don’t feel well.

Bad Weather Plan:  We plan to hold the event even if it rains unless we encounter extreme conditions  such as lighting.  If we decide to postpone for the entire day, we will send out an e-mail early on Friday morning and post on this event page.  If we need to reschedule, which is very unlikely, we will reschedule to Monday, May 17, 2021.

Event Challenge:  Teams from area high schools will design and construct a one or two-person vessel made from cardboard.  It must be maneuverable and stay afloat for approximately 600 yards.  The boats will compete at the Bettendorf Middle Park Lagoon.  The boats will be timed from the moment they leave the lagoon dock to the time they return, with the fastest time winning the race competition with two other judged awards given out. 


  • Top 3 teams based on fastest time will receive one picture trophy per team and individual medals for each team member.
  • A panel of QCESC judges will select two awards supporting the best design & innovation:
    • Most Innovative Design with a trophy provided
    • Best Decorative Design with TUTname Trophy 

Teams:  Teams will consist of one or more students and one adviser. A student is someone who has not yet graduated from high school. An advisor may be a teacher, principal, parent, or guardian or anyone designated by the school that is an adult and willing to take on the challenge and responsibility.

Requirements for teams and/or volunteers to participate:

  • Certificate of Insurance:  Each school or organization with teams participating must provide a copy of certificate of insurance naming the City of Bettendorf as an additional insured on your policy. You can either bring a copy to the event at check-in with y our first team or e-mail to the  This is required for your teams to participate.
  • Consent Forms:   All participating students & volunteers must provide signed consent forms at check-in to participate.  Students under 18 years of age must have the form signed by one of their parents or guardians.  Link to QCESC consent form
  • Life Vest:  Anyone that participates in the race must be wearing a coast guard approved life vest.  We will have 5-6 life vests of various sizes available to use.  If are welcome to bring your own if they are coast guard approved and you want to insure a “dry” vest and the best fit.

Link to Cardboard Boat Race Competition Guidelines & Rules

Link to Cardboard Boat Design Steps

Team Schedule and Sequence:

  • Teams need to show up a minimum of 20 minutes early and be ready to go when their team is called which may be slightly different than the schedule.  Make sure and factor in travel time.
  • Team Sequence at the event:
    • Check in & get team picture
    • Boat will be inspected to insure meets event rules/requirements 
      Note:  judges reserve the right to re-check boats after the race to insure all materials are in compliance with the published rules.
    • Brief review with judges to explain their design and the design process they used and answer questions.  The judges will provide verbal feedback on their boat design & design process.
    • With life vests on, when instructed the team will put their boat in the water by the dock after the previous team leaves the dock.  For this year, once the team ahead of them reaches the island, they will then be given the OK to start. 
      Students may want to consider wearing old shoes rather than going barefoot when competing in case their boat sinks or overturns and they have to walk to shore (shallow water).  
    • When complete, the team will remove their boat and all associated debris from the water and put their boat in the location for pickup by the City of Bettendorf

Event All Time Course Records:

  • Student Course Record
    2:03 – Brayden Weinschenk & Levi Moser, Pleasant Valley High School – 28May12
  • Teacher/Adult Course Record
    2:24 – Dan Drexler, Bettendorf High School – 20May13
  • Number of Participates
    57 teams, 139 students from 7 high schools (Alleman, Bettendorf, Durant, Maquoketa, Moline, Pleasant Valley, and Rivermont Collegiate) – 13May16

For further information or questions, please email 

Link to past event photos: