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Sled derby gets wild and wacky

February 28, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Seth Martin of Greencastle, Pa., and Ben Henneberger of Waynesboro, Pa., are "Dive Team 97," Sunday during the Wild & Wacky Cardboard Sled Derby hosted by Cedar Ridge Ministries of Williamsport at Whitetail Resort in Mercersburg, Pa.
By Colleen McGrath

MERCERSBURG, Pa. — Among the creations was a sled with a simulated toilet mounted on it.

Kenn Speaks had it rigged so he could sit on the toilet and read a version of “The White Tales” newspaper as he slid down the slope.

Speaks slid off the mountain in his contraption, at one point going backward as he read his paper on the throne.

The sled, among others like one carrying Hagerstown firefighters in a simulated firetruck, got a round of laughs Sunday afternoon from hundreds of spectators at Whitetail Resort.

It was time for the annual Cedar Ridge Wild & Wacky Cardboard Sled Derby, a sledding competition in which just about anything goes.

The event is a fundraiser for Cedar Ridge Ministries, a Williamsport-based organization that provides residential care for abused, abandoned, neglected and emotionally disturbed boys ages 6 to 14. The organization also operates Cedar Ridge School for boys and a 50-element ropes course that teaches boys skills like confidence and teamwork.

An estimated 400 to 500 people came out for the eighth annual sled derby at Whitetail Resort, which donated space on its tubing slopes for the event.

A total of 93 sleds were signed up for the competition and entry fees raised money for Cedar Ridge Ministries, organizers said. Registration cost $25 in advance and $30 at the event, organizers said.

Sled designers could only use cardboard for their creations, and teams were limited to two riders and one pusher. Teams competed in categories like Best of Show, Most Creative and Crowd Pleaser, and spectators paid $1 each to place their votes.

Because Speaks enjoys puns and parodies, he came up with a sled design based on the YouTube video about a man who becomes overly excited over a double rainbow.

“Pot of Gold” was written along the base of the sled bearing Speaks’ gold-colored toilet. The shiny toilet came complete with a roll of toilet paper on the side and the back of the sled was fitted with double rainbows.

“It’s glued really well to the base,” Speaks, a ski instructor at Whitetail, said of the toilet.

David Rhine, of Linglestown, Pa., said his sled was designed for another competition in which the sleds had to have a “flying food” theme.

Rhine showed up at Sunday’s event with a Skittles sled, a sleek creation that sported a set of mean-looking eyes and sharp teeth on the front, and silver tailpipes on the back.

Rhine was wondering how his sled would do on the slopes since it felt more like spring than winter on Sunday.

“It’s kind of a mess. It’s almost 60 degrees. We’re just hoping to get a good slide, not a good sink,” Rhine said.

The sled operated by Hagerstown Fire Department members went down the slope and overturned, drawing laughs from the crowd.

One of the firefighters, Jeb Eckstine, said the tumble wasn’t bad, but the landing was a little rough.

“I’ll let you know when I remember it,” Eckstine said after his heat.

Dave Swacina, chief executive officer for Cedar Ridge Ministries, said the sled derby has grown each year.

“It’s different, unique. Everybody loves to be around it,” Swacina said.

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