The banks of the Ohio River in New Richmond were lined with spectators Aug. 18 all watching competitors attempt to stay afloat during the annual Cardboard Boat Regatta.
“It was great,” Ray Perszyk, one of the event organizers, said about the regatta. “The best weather we’ve ever had and more boats than we have ever had.”
Perszyk said there were 57 boats and 70 separate entries in the regatta this year in categories that included multi-crew, single-crew, endurance, youth and adult categories and more.
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There were a variety of different boat designs this year, including a boat that looked like a cow, one shaped like a tea cup, one that resembled a hot air balloon and more. All were made from cardboard.
There were also several “sinkers” this year, that left competitors swimming to shore dragging the soggy remains of their boats along with them.
Matthew O’Brien, with the Fast Trac youth program, was one of the “sinkers” during the regatta and his boat won the “Titanic Award for the best sinking.
“I knew right away we were going to sink,” O’Brien said.
He raced the boat with his brother Robert O’Brien and said even though their boat sank, he enjoyed competing because it was fun.
Debi Hess along with her daughter Virginia and friend Debbie Townley, also got a little wet during their race.
Hess said she had seen the race before and decided to build a boat and register. Even though her boat sank, she said it was fun to participate.
Steve Kerlin, who built a cardboard boat to represent Northern Kentucky University’s Center for Environmental Education, said this was the first year he has participated and several members of the staff at the center helped build the boat.
“It was harder than we thought,” Kerlin said. “You needed at least 3-4 people.”
Kerlin said their goal during the race is just to finish without sinking and they were one of a number of boats that cruised to the finish line.
Denise Gilbert, Janice Gilpin and Krystle Ireton of River Hills Bank also made it to the finish line and said they had fun participating in the race.
“We’re just glad we didn’t flip or go down,” Gilbert said.
Spectators lined the shore all the way up to the streets of New Richmond to enjoy the Cardboard Boat Regatta.
“We live up town and this is the first time we have gotten to come watch,” Grace Richardson said about the regatta. “It’s fun to watch. It’s hard to imagine cardboard floating but they do.”
Awards were given out for participants who won their category, for most creative boats, for the best sinking and more.
Proceeds from the races help support the Cardboard Boat Museum in New Richmond.