World Championship Wanigan Race Set for June


The historical and wacky World Championship Wanigan Race returns to Cheboygan, Michigan, again this year on June 24-25. This year is the first time in the past few that the race will be its own stand-alone event (rather than part of the Cheboygan Area Chamber of Commerce’s Waterways Festival).

The World Championship Wanigan Race began in 1971, to celebrate the area’s long logging history. During the 19th century, loggers would build wanigans — rudimentary rafts carrying meals — that would follow the lumberman down the waterways as they worked.

To qualify for the race today, wanigans must be simply-constructed rafts that are 8 feet on each side (no caulking, Styrofoam or packaging between logs!). Wanigans must be propelled by hand, but are permitted to use three long-johns as “sails.” Each raft must also have a 4-foot tall cook shack, in which they stew a pot of homemade chili over a wood burning stove.

To participate in this year’s race, or to find the best place to watch along the route, check out