Cardboard boat races rev up local children, families
The Lindstrom family of Lockport spent one day working together on a Pokemon-themed boat. By trial and error, they worked their way through several designs using cardboard and tape before they settled on one.
The children took to the water with 9-year-old Andrew and 6-year-old Matthew steering the boat. They made it safely and took home a cardboard trophy.
“It felt very good,” Andrew said. “We did not give up.”
On Aug. 5, a total of six boats took to the waters of Chaney Pool for the annual Cardboard Boat Races put on by the Lockport Township Park District.
“It’s actually a lot of fun,” said Toni Moran, the Lockport Township Park District’s fitness and aquatics supervisor. “The [lifeguards] love it.”
The event has brought in up to 12 boats in the past, Moran said.
“No matter what, it’s a blast,” she said. “The [lifeguards] get in with them. They kind of help them. It’s a lot of fun.”
The only rules to the race: the boats and paddles must only be constructed using duct tape and cardboard, it must hold two people and paint and decorations are allowed.
Participants pulled their boats to the pool’s shallow end and waited their turn to see if they could conquer the challenge of paddling toward the deep end and returning to the starting point. Awards were given to the two winning teams, with one for children ages 6-7 and another for those age 8 and older.
Boats ranged from a two-person canoe-type vessel with a bumblebee design to another equipped for two passengers with a nod to the game of chess.
As the competition got underway, the boats lined up at the pool’s shallow end. Most could tell within the first minute if the boat could withstand a voyage across the water and back as some sunk right as the builders prepared to get in and take a seat.
Jack Capron, 8, of Lockport, said sitting in his boat as he tried to paddle was uncomfortable, but he enjoyed every minute of the race.
“It was tight,” he said. “It was hard to not hit the crown with the paddle. It was fun.”
Devon Capron, of Lockport, stood poolside as her son competed in the race.
“It was really cool,” she said. “I loved seeing him do that.”
Jack’s father, Jay Capron, said building the boat provided a nice bonding experience for him and his son.
“We spent about a month on it,” he said. “We worked on it together each night. It took a lot of tape. It was our first year doing it, but it was a lot of fun.”
Jay said Jack is excited to compete again next year.
“He got third place, but he said he wants a trophy next year, so we’re going to work hard,” he said. “We learned some ideas of how to make it better.”
“[We’re] going to work hard on a trophy for next year,” Devon said.
The secret to the event’s success is its ability to engage children and their families, Moran said.
“It’s something you can do together,” she said. “It’s very inexpensive. We only charge $15 per boat, so that’s for two people… I think it really does make it more of a family event. I think that’s what makes it more fun, and it’s like everyone can do it. It doesn’t matter how old you are.”
To cap off the races, the winners received a trophy made up of cardboard and duct tape, as well as a towel and a pool pass for summer 2018. Top performers in the ages 6-7 division were Andrew Lindstrom and Matthew Lindstrom. In the ages 8 and older division, the winners were Anthony Schenk and Aiden Slattery.
Other competitors took home a pair of goggles and a 2018 pool pass, as well.