2024 Down River Race


Friday May 3rd, 2024

Start Time: 5:30PM

Start location is at Laurel Highlands/Cheat Fest South put in (public parking) in Albright, West Virginia.

Race t-shirts are available for $20. Please use the Race Registration form to order.

Race Overview

The Cheat River Festival weekend kicks off with the largest, mass start downriver races in the country known as the Cheat River “Massacre-ence”.  The registration and start is about one mile downriver of the town of Albright, West Virginia, at the Cheat Fest South entrance (Public parking area), above the bridge pilings. The race course travels about 10.6 miles through the Cheat Canyon, with an average gradient of 25 fpm. All the famous (and infamous) rapids are paddled, including Decision, Big Nasty, High Falls and Coliseum. Depending on water levels, the front of the pack usually reaches the finish line at Jenkinsburg Bridge in about 1 hour while the back of the pack, the slower boats, usually finish up around 1 hour 45 mins.

This section of the Cheat River is Class III – IV, and as a free-flowing river the character of the river, difficulty and risk vary depending on the water level, which can change quickly. Only boaters who are extremely comfortable with this type of paddling should register for the race!   Please be safe! 

American Whitewater section description


Online registration is now open! 

Please use the link below to register and pay the registration fee using Paypal

2024 DRR Registration form


Race Day Registration will be open from 1pm – 4:30pm at the FOC meeting booth at the Cheat Fest South Entrance – same turn as you made in year’s past for the Cheat River festival public parking (marked by a banner across Rt. 26 and a large “Cheat Fest South Entrance” sign).  The booth will be straight ahead as you proceed down the hill.  At registration, you will receive a race bib and Friday night festival wristbands will be provided upon return of the race bib. Racers also receive a $5 off coupon for Saturday festival entrance.

All race proceeds benefit Friends of the Cheat, who works to restore, promote and protect the Cheat River Watershed, and its recreation access.


The race registration fee includes the ACA event fee indicated on the waiver.

Please include your ACA membership number if you have one!


Unfortunately, shuttle is NOT provided for racers.  Racers are encouraged to carpool because parking is limited.  Race organizers will help direct parking in the afternoon at Jenkinsburg.  Please use caution while driving on Bull Run Road.

After Race Awards Party

Festival entrance for Friday night will be provided to each racer.  The awards ceremony will be held at Laurel Highlands Rafting check-in booth, left side of the road @ the race start, promptly at 8:00pm.  Even if you are a non racer we would encourage you to attend this party. Prizes and beer will be available at the post-race party at the Cheat Fest Site.   We will NOT be providing disposable cups.  Please bring your own cup or purchase a Cheat Fest steel pint cup.


  • Festival wristbands will be provided to racers for Friday only; racers will receive a $5 off coupon for Saturday.
  • T-shirts will be available for $20 preorder only.
  • Registration and race start will be held at the Cheat Fest South entrance Box Office.
  • Festival wristbands will be provided upon return of race bibs.
  • As before, shuttle will not be provided.  Please plan ahead and carpool.
  • Prizes and beer will be available at the post-race party in the Cheat Fest Public Parking area on Laurel Highlands building porch.  We will NOT be providing disposable cups.  Please bring your own cup or purchase a Cheat Fest steel pint cup.

Past race results

2023 Massacre-ence results

2022 Massacre-ence results  | 2021 Massacre-ence results

2017 Cheat Race Results  | 2016 Cheat Race Results

 2015 Cheat Race Results   |  2014 Race Recap  |

 2013 Race Recap  |  2012 Race Recap

Check out the 2023 Downriver Race footage!

Film by wolpertinger
Music by Wizard Clipp

Thank You to our 2024 Down River Race Sponsors!