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State Employees' Paddle Battle

Paddle Battle XVII

About the Paddle Battle

Have you dreamed of racing down White River Canal in a paddle boat to bring glory to your state agency? Have you dreamed of being crowned the winner and support a charity at the same time? Both are possible at the 17th Annual State Employees’ Community Campaign Paddle Battle competition.

At 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, teams from 25 state agencies competed on the White River Canal for the coveted oar and bragging rights for the year. And just like in previous years, we did it for charity. The entry fee is $40 per team and the proceeds are donated to the 501 (c) (3) charity of the winning teams choosing.

The defending champions from the Indiana Department of Transportation will returned to defend possession of the coveted Paddle Battle Oar! In the final showdown, The Number Ninjas from State Board of Accounts were victorious! The winners chose to donate the funds collected from Paddle Battle to The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Rules of the Battle

Race guidelines

  1. The Indiana State Personnel Department accepts one team per agency, up to 25 teams until the field is full. You must have four riders selected before you submit your team. A spot is reserved for last year’s winner.
  2. If multiple teams from an agency register, preference is given to the first team to register via email with their completed information. Remaining teams are placed on an alternate list and notified if a spot opens up.
  3. Once the field is full, teams are assigned into five heats with a random draw. The winners of the five heats qualify for the championship race.
  4. No water balloons allowed.
  5. No debris/trash can be left in the water or on the canal bank.
  6. No dumping of water off the West Street bridge.
  7. Wheel Fun Rentals can’t guarantee they will have oars on hand the day of the race. If you want to use oars, please bring your own.

The boats

Wheel Fun Rentals will provide the four-seater boats with pedals on the front two seats, so the back seat contestants are along for the ride. All boats must have four riders.

Paddle Battle CourseRacing teams meet at the Invest In Your Health tent near the boat launch at Ohio/West Streets on the canal at 11 a.m. Your team must have four individuals in the boat to race. We don't have many rules other than no intentional contact between boats. No blocking or use of hands to push another boat. A race official will instruct teams prior to the start of each race and will monitor conduct. All rulings, including disqualifications, are the final decision of the rules official.

Oars are allowed. There are no limitations on the number of oars that can be used. If you want to use oars, please bring your own. We ask that there be no intentional contact with the other boats with your oar or your hands, especially at the start of the race.


25 teams will race a quarter-mile course in five heats of five boats in a single elimination battle. The winners of the five preliminary races will advance to the championship race, held 10 minutes after the last heat.


The race begins under the West Street bridge so we can get a clean start. Boats race down the canal toward IGC-N and circle the fountain on the left. Once you navigate a 180-degree turn around the fountain, it's a dash for the finish line located near the artwork that's in the fountain.

Past Champions

2023 - State Board of Accounts
2022 - Indiana Dept. of Transportation
2021 - Indiana Dept. of Transportation
2020 - No race was held due to COVID-19
2019 - Indiana Dept. of Transportation
2018 - State of Indiana Public Defender
2017 - Family and Social Services Administration
2016 - State Personnel Department
2015 - No race was held. Rained out.
2014 - Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
2013 - Office of the Indiana Attorney General
2012 - Indiana State Dept. of Health
2011 - Indiana State Dept. of Health
2010 - Indiana State Dept. of Health
2009 - Office of the Indiana Attorney General
2008 - Indiana State Library
2007 - PERF
2006 - Indiana Office of Technology
2005 - Indiana Dept. of Homeland Security