By Kristin Rover
More than 50 boats made out of primarily cardboard, tape and paint raced down the Ohio River, or sank, during the annual Cardboard Boat Regatta in New Richmond Aug. 17.
The regatta took place on the second day of Riverdays, a festival held each year in the village, and a huge crowd turned out to watch the boat races.
“It was great,” Ray Perszyk, event organizer, said about the event. “The crowds were amazing, the weather was great, that in itself pushes things over the edge.”
Perszyk said 55 boats entered the races on Saturday, and more than 85 percent of the boats made it to the finish line.
“We awarded 27 trophies for speed, youth and adult teams, creativity, Titanic sinker, snappy dresser, mechanical powered and the iron man endurance event,” Perszyk said.
He said the construction of the boats is limited to cardboard, tape and sometimes other materials that can be used for out-riggers and peddle systems.
Participants built boats that ranged from a kayak shape, to a fire engine, from a tea cup to a crocodile.
“We had some amazingly creative things,” Perszyk said. “There were some really creative and really nicely designed and constructed boats.”
Mike Hoffer, of Miami Township, said he has been participating in the Cardboard Boat Regatta since 1995.
“I used to build fast boats,” Hoffer said. “Now I build creative boats.”
This year, Hoffer created a horse draw chariot for the mechanical class in the race.
Hoffer added to the theme by dressing as Julius Caesar.
“It’s just a crazy thing to do,” Hoffer said about why he enjoys participating in the event. “I like to be out on the water.”
Carly Merk, who participated in the race for the first time, said she enjoyed the experience.
“It was really fun, but harder than it looks,” Merk said.
Awards for different categories were given out after the race including awards for fastest time, most creative boat, best sinking, and more.
Rich Jetter won the Overall Fastest Boat of the Day award completing the race in 58 second. The People’s Choice award went to the Row Man Chariots of Fire, the most creative boat was the Fire Truck, and the Titanic award went to The Beast.
Other awards were given for different divisions and places.
Perszyk said that at the Cardboard Boat Museum, located in the village, individuals and groups can get help constructing the boats. The museum raffles off a cardboard boat each year, and also builds boats for sponsors of the race.
He said the race is used as a fund-raiser for the museum.
“The museum is supported solely by sponsorships, donations, raffle boat sales, and entry fees,” Perszyk said. “That’s what we use the money for, we wouldn’t survive without this race.”
This was the 21st Cardboard Boat Regatta in the village of New Richmond. Perszyk said they are continuing to grow and improve the event.
For more information about the Cardboard Boat Regatta, visit www.newrichmond.org, or stop by the Cardboard Boat Museum at 311 Front Street in New Richmond.