Cardboard boats set to sail again

Jack Elliott

It’s that time of year again.
Yes, followers of the “Great Beaver” will attempt to lure him out of seclusion by offering sacrifices of cardboard, duct tape, and tender (or tough) humans onto the Rainy River at Rainy River.
This is the eighth year in a row this sacrifice has been offered. Maybe this year the mythical “Great Beaver” will take the bait.
Event organizers have been scurrying around like (what else) busy beavers rounding up supplies and encouraging brave souls to enter teams.
“I just received a new shipment of super strong duct tape from 3M, and I’ve been baiting along the shores of the Rainy River to lure out Castor rainyensis,” stated scientific-minded volunteer Bob McGreevy.
“No, it’s the cardboard he’s after,” countered Gordon Prost, who explained he had just hauled in a load of fresh birch-flavoured cardboard specially manufactured by Norampac just for this event.
“You’re both wrong. It’s the black ash gun-whale supports I’ve milled,” stressed Ken Trenchard, who also will be a contestant again this year along with his daughter, Tamara.
“I had the logs submerged in a beaver pond, fermenting,” he noted. “That monster will find them irresistible.”
No matter who wins, there will be a trophy for each class as well as a “Most Spectacular Sinking” award sponsored by Fort Frances General Supply.
Dennis “Topper” Topp, a biologist with the Minnesota DNR who assists with the lifeguarding responsibilities, has been encouraging teams from the U.S. to join.
“It’s only fair. We share this great river,” he noted.
But the suspicion persists that his real motive is to latch onto the “Great Beaver” and spirit it off to the American shore.
Hopefully, there will be a boat and crew on hand from Canada Customs and Immigration to subvert any breaches of border protocols.
Team Tiboni, who took an unsuccessful run for the title last year, came close to winning the most spectacular sinking nod.
“Mom sat too close to the stern and took us under. We’ll do better this year,” affirmed a stoic Capt. Christian Tiboni as he mulled strategic design criteria.
The eighth-annual Great Beaver Cardboard and Duct Tape Boat Races will follow the same protocols as in past years.
Purist classes (adult, youth, and family) will register at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 18 at Hannam Park in Rainy River.
The $10/team registration will include a supply of all materials picked up at the same time to build your boat.
Contestants then have until 3:30 p.m.–race time—to complete construction.
Meanwhile, entries in the open classes can be constructed prior to race day using cardboard, duct tape, and additional adhesive components of the contestants’ choosing.
Suitably themed and costumed participants are encouraged to enter their creations in the “Railroad Daze” parade being held on Saturday (July 17).
The deadline for entries is race day at 2:30 p.m. The fee once again is $10/team, but all supplies and materials are furnished by the team.
For more information, contact McGreevy at 852-4404 or Jack Elliott at 852-3790, or visit and click on the “Railroad Daze” link.

So be sure to track on down to “Railroad Daze” on July 16-18 and enjoy a splashing good time in Rainy River.