WINONA LAKE — The Winona Lake canal was full of fans as the first ever cardboard boat regatta was held today, Sept. 2. The race coincided with Canal Days, an annual festival in the Village of Winona.
Four different boats participated in this year’s event including three corporate entries and one adult entry. KGP Logistics, Warsaw, had two participating boats named the S.S. Dragon and the S. S. Unicorn. Instrumental Machine and Development, Warsaw, raced with the Silver Bullet. The lone adult boat was Star Wars themed and aptly named the Centennial Eagle.
Before the races began, fans had a chance to review all the boats and vote for the Viewer’s Choice award. KGP’s S.S. Dragon won Viewer’s Choice, winning fans over with the fact that it could “breath” fire.
For the race, each boat had to individually start at the Administration Boulevard bridge travel down the canal to a halfway marker and make it back to the bridge without sinking. Surprisingly, all boats successfully finished the timed races without sinking.
The Silver Bullet finished the race with the fastest time of two minutes and 17 seconds.
Due to the fact that no boats sank, it was decided that a final battle royale race would be held. Each boat was given only one paddle and the boats were to race in the canal at the same time. It was made clear multiple times that this final race would have no rules.
Race participants took full advantage of having no rules and the race quickly became a comical event. Participants filled other boats with water, attempted to flip boats over and even jumped into competing boats in hopes to win the race. By the end of the final event, all racers were drenched and the boats had seen better days. The Silver Bullet was paddled into the finish line first, only slightly ahead of the Centennial Eagle which was being swam across the line.
Entry fees and donations from the event went towards Fellowship Mission’s operating costs. One of the main goals of the event was to raise awareness and funds for the local homeless shelter.