Cardboard canoes set sail at inaugural event | News, Sports, Jobs

Photos by James Jackson/DND Codey Irwin, McKinnley Kragh and Athena Buseth sailed to victory in the first Cardboard Canoe Race at Roosevelt Park Pool on Monday.

True to a long-standing expectation of captains at the helm of their ships in distress, many participants in the Cardboard Canoe Race sank with their ships Monday evening at the pool in Roosevelt Park.

Using duct tape, cardboard and an ocean of shipbuilding creativity, budding sailors took to the high seas from the Roosevelt Park Pool in hopes of winning one of many prizes for such feats as be the first to the finish line, the most spectacular shipwreck and other fun achievements.

Before hitting the water for the 7 p.m. start, each team had to check in and submit their boat to the judges for an inspection to ensure it met the guidelines specified for the event. As part of the rules, teams of two to four members were allowed, with only a maximum of two team members aged 12 and over allowed in the boat during the race.

Spearheading the event was Gerald Brown, the new Special Events Coordinator for Minot Parks. Crediting Minot Park District Director of Marketing and Development Elly DesLauriers with the inspiration for Monday’s inaugural contest, Brown said the goal of the gathering was to hopefully generate enough excitement to make it a annual event.

“You look on YouTube and see this same event happening all over the country and it’s huge. It can be an event that really brings the community together and a really fun thing that everyone is looking forward to and they can work towards the construction of a boat all year round”, developed Brown.

When asked what would end up being a final 10-canoe turnout on Monday night, Brown said: “That’s good, considering that with these free events you might have a lot of registrations that don’t show up, as well as people that don’t register that show up. There’s a good diversity of age and boat building here, so we’re happy to see it.

In just over an hour, the cheering crowd, many of whom hung their legs in the hot water or sat in the many lounge chairs framing the pool’s outline, were treated to a show filled with laughter, splashes, and cardboard cutters and capsized boats as they try to complete the course as quickly as possible without sinking. One of only two ships to complete the course even proudly took on the role of “Redneck Yacht Club.”

After the rough seas calmed down, the canoe of Minot natives Codey Irwin, McKinnley Kragh and Athena Buseth sailed to victory as they lifted the Grand Champions Trophy. Dressed in costumes inspired by characters from the film “Despicable Me”Irwin shared that their inspiration to enter the contest came from his mother sharing a post with her on the official Minot Park Facebook page.

Taking just two hours to build, Irwin said when asked how well they expected to do. “covered the cardboard with duct tape and hoped for the best.”

More than anything, Irwin emphasized to anyone considering being part of the event in the future, “Just go out and try stuff. You should have no expectations for yourself. The whole experience was fun, including dressing up and looking stupid.

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Joseph K. Bennett