Toilet, dragon and rooster line up for 24th Cardboard Classic race
April 3, 2004
Everything but skiers raced down the mountain Saturday, including a rooster, a sailboat, a toilet, a school bus, a teepee, a police car and a submarine.
The Steamboat Ski Area was forced to close because of wind gusts that reached more than 60 mph at Storm Peak, but the clouds parted, the sun shined, crowds came, beers were opened and the people cheered at the 24th annual Cardboard Classic, which went on as scheduled.
Few of the 42 crafts made it to the bottom, as some clearly were made for appearance rather than streamlined for speed.
The first racer to gain enough speed to make it to the pads at the bottom of the Headwall run was 85-year-old Howard Minor, who raced solo in an orange-painted pod called “Shoo Fly.”
After receiving a push from his wife, Alayne, and her twin brother, Robert Parsegan, Minor was off, somehow managing to stay in the middle of the straight, sloped course. He pumped his fists as he descended, and the crowd roared when he hit the pads.
“He’s out there like a young kid, and that’s just great,” Alayne said.
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A few other crafts made it to the bottom. “The Yellow Submarine” and “Sweet 16” hit the pads consecutively. Unexpectedly, so did “The Toilet,” which looked as though it wouldn’t hold together. Its driver, Jim Fletcher, waived a plunger from inside the bowl on his way down.
His racing partner, John Morris, said it wasn’t built for speed. “We wanted to make something that would make people laugh,” Morris said.
The two work maintenance jobs, and so while trying to pick out a design, they thought: “We do enough maintenance calls on toilets, so why not make a toilet?” Morris said.
Fletcher said they put about 30 hours into their craft. It even had a handle that jiggled.
Others spent less time on theirs’.
Two teams of 10- and 12-year-olds wearing nothing but boxer shorts said they put about an hour of work into their crafts. The 10-year-olds’ pod, “Willy T.,” took home the Ugliest award.
A team of friends from Kentucky and Washington put their racers together Friday night, after Dumpster-diving at City Market, Richard Doane said. Their craft, “The Bullet,” had people saying, “that’s going to be fast,” but it fell apart 20 yards down the slope.
Most of the crafts fell apart before finishing the race, but they were not judged on their finishes; judges looked for creativity.
“People took creativity to a whole new level this year,” judge Doug LaPlaca said.
Winning the Most Creative award was “El Grande Gallo,” or the big rooster. Best Individual Craft was “Rugby Refugee,” a tiki hut filled with rugby players. The “Dukes of Hazard”-inspired racer “General Lee” won the Potpourri award, and “The Teepee” won Best Reproduction of a Person, Place or Thing.
Other interesting crafts included “The ‘Bling-Bling’ Camera,” built by a crew of Snow Photo photographers; “Short Bus” built by the Gondola Pub and Grill Crew; “Arrrgh,” a dragon that breathed fire and which later caught fire; and “Police and Thieves,” a Dodge Durango police car replica. Its builders said they were most proud of the photo taken with Steamboat Springs police officers and their fake sponsor, Dunkin’ Donuts.
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