by Sally Lane
After two wintry days with daytime temperatures in the fifties, high winds, and rain —- unbelievably, just as the meteorologists predicted, the sun came out, the winds died down, and Choctaw Lake had perfect weather for a boat race!
Heat 1: 12 and under
Eleven boats showed up to compete (others may have been discouraged by the pre-race weather). Mantis 3, paddled by Sophia Neely, placed first (1:51) in the 12 and Under race; and Displaced, the boat judged “Most Likely to Sink,” actually came in second (2:39) with a crew of three: Nathan, Lilly, and Annabelle Lohrer. Displaced was constructed of milk jugs held together with good old trusty duct tape. Tori Martinez placed third (3:35) in Flash, a canoe shaped boat made of cardboard, styrofoam, and duct tape and dubbed “Wackiest Boat” by the judges. Valiantly pulling up the rear were Charlie Neely and Benji Lutz in Magic Rino, earning them the highly prized “Anchor Dragger” award (4:50).
Heat 2: Ages 12-17
A new boat showed up in the 12-17 age heat to challenge the Neely fleet: a soap barrel boat for two named Taxi and appropriately painted bright yellow, paddled by Amber and Ashton Wolford. They placed first (1:30) and also won the “Best Looking” and “Team Spirit” awards. Maggie Long, a member of the Neely clan, placed second (1:56) in the original Mantis. Two more Neely entries, Ned Neely in Cyclopes and Jared Long in Ye Olde Fish placed 3rd (2:14) and 4th (2:27) respectively. All of the Neely boats collectively received the prize for “Best Use of Materials”.
Heat 3: Adults (ages 18+)
The adult race was fraught with troubles. Becky Calis, in 4 Months Till Winter, tipped over before the race began. The sinking vessel was a broken sled duct taped to styrofoam noodles. As she was struggling to get back aboard, Sally Lane’s outrigger kayak, Single-Handed (so-named because one hand was recovering from an encounter with a power saw), began taking on water. By the time the starting horn sounded, Sally’s boat was almost full, and barely afloat. When the makeshift sail she had attached in hopes for a little help from a crosswind, fell into the water and blocked her paddle, Sally’s husband John pulled ahead in his boat, Beat My Wife. It did, placing him first in the overall race with a time of 1:09. Single-Handed managed second place (1:22), and 4 Months Till Winter came limping over the finish line at 4:37, missing the “Anchor Dragger” award by 13 seconds. But Becky did win “Best Costume” award with her Salmon Hat which was a hit! Single-Handed and Beat My Wife won the “Most Ingenious” and “Most Creative Boat” awards, respectively.
In appreciation of our volunteers
Back by popular demand, Emcee, Andy Mauck, returned from cage-swimming with great whites in Mexico just in time to entertain the crowd with his off-the cuff humor and great announcing. We appreciate Phil Chin, who donated his photographic talent to take outstanding pictures again this year. Sener Calis also took pictures, which can be on Facebook. Thanks to judges, Brian Welch, Mike Donaldson, Denise Worthington, and Tia Sexton, who selected the special award winners, timed the race, and made sure rules were followed. John Lane and Dennis Mitchell performed a multitude of tasks including operating the sound and setting up and taking down the canopy, generously lent to us by Barb and Jeff Niemeyer. Ron Roach worked diligently throughout with registration, recording, and filling out certificates. He was assisted by Pam Donaldson. Last but not least, big thanks to all the unnamed spontaneous volunteers who jumped into the water to help the boaters get launched at the starting line and then helped them disembark at the finish line!!!
Please thank and support our generous sponsors
The Booster Club gave $50 cash for each first place winner and $25 cash for second place in each heat. A huge special thank you to Lakeside Market for providing gift certificates for every participant, win or lose! Al and Angie Wilderman at ReMax Leading Edge donated award certificates to each crew member of a winning boat, including all special categories. Thanks, also, to the following for special award prizes: Dock Pizza for gift cards, Ernie’s Medicine Shoppe for a Schleich Knight and horse, Fine Designs Coffee and Gifts for a box of their famous fudge, and John and Sally Lane for a Yahtzee game and the Anchor Dragger plaque. The local business sponsors who support Lake activities deserve our support in turn!
That wraps up the 15th annual Junkyard Boat Derby. It’s never too early to start collecting trash and dreaming up designs for next year!