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'Hancock' barges on to win competition

June 20, 2004|By TARA REILLY

HANCOCK

There was a barge pulled by a horse, and there was a barge pulled by bicycles.

But in the end, it was a barge pulled by 16 human legs that made it to the finish line in the least amount of time on Saturday.

The crew of "The Hancock," a flat-bottomed 14-foot boat converted to a barge, had the fastest time in the second annual Barge Bash on the C&O Canal in Hancock.

The goal of the Barge Bash was to pull homemade barges down a stretch of the canal with tow lines in the least amount of time.

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Ten teams competed in the event.

"The Hancock" crew decided to run across the canal in a relay, meaning fresh legs would be waiting midway down the stretch to assist team members who began the haul.

They finished in 1 minute and 32 seconds.

The captain of "The Hancock," Carl Pelton, said things almost didn't work out for the team.

"Our crew didn't show up, and we had to recruit at the last minute," Pelton said.

He said that he was able to recruit eight people, some of whom pulled barges in last year's event.

"They knew that you get tired," so they decided to use the relay method, Pelton said.

"We were very successful," he said.

The team was sponsored by the Hancock Lions Club.

Besides the fastest time, seven other awards were handed out, including for such categories as "The Ugly Barge Award," won by "The San Mar Power Puff Girls."

The team clapped and cheered loudly after it was announced which award they had won. Its barge, sponsored by San Mar Children's Home, was covered with "Powerpuff Girls" decorations.

All winners received barge replica trophies made of wood.

Several hundred people turned out for the event, with many sitting or standing along the canal.

"You're going to make it. You're going to make it. You're going to win," shouted a woman as the Williamsport C&O Canal Bike Patrol went by pulling its barge.

The team didn't win, but it came close. It got across the canal in 1 minute and 44 seconds.

"It's great. It's fun," Bike Patrol team member Doug Zveare said. "It's very worthwhile."

Zveare helped pull the barge on a bike, but he said he wasn't too tired afterward.

"I work out every day ... so it doesn't bother me," Zveare said.

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