Sunshine smiles on Cardboard Box Derby
Limos, canoes, speed boats brave steep, slick course during 12th annual closing-day festivity.
By Miller N. Resor, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
April 25, 2012
Jake Summers, a senior at Madison High School in Rexburg, Idaho, and five friends were all set to go to their school’s Spring Fling. There was just one hitch: It was “ladies choice.”
“But we didn’t get asked,” Summers said.
That didn’t stop them from celebrating. They put on their tuxedos, bought a bottle of sparkling cider and built themselves a limo.
Skipping one Spring Fling for another, they entered the 12th annual Grand Targhee Cardboard Box Derby.
Of course their limo relied on a slippery slope and gravity, and they needed an enclosed snowmobile trailer just to get the 20-foot-long stretch to the base of the hill.
But once they were there, it was on. One friend drove, four sat in the back and played cards, and one hung out of the trunk, waving his shirt over his head.
If only the girls could have seen them as they won the under-18 class for best construction.
Derby competitors are judged on the construction quality of their entry, team name, design and spirit. All vehicles must be constructed using only cardboard, tape, string, glue and paper.
The Indians — six little girls in a cardboard canoe, all decked out in feathers, face paint and buckskin skirts — won the under-18 class for team spirit.
At the top of the course, which descends at the angle of a hockey stick and looks like a flattened half-pipe or a cylindrical drain, there is a sense of apprehension in the roll over from the starting gate. But if these six little girls were scared, they didn’t show it.
A big guy dressed as Fred Flintstone grabbed the canoe by the nose while Barney Rubble pushed from behind and sent The Indians hurtling down the hill with little more than a diabolical “Have fun!” shouted after them.
Surprisingly, the narrow craft made it all the way to the bottom without incident.
The four little boys in a cardboard Ticonderoga pencil were not so lucky. The Geeks, as they called themselves, dressed in suspenders, bow-ties and horn-rimmed glasses, jackknifed 50 feet down the hill and proceeded to tumble one over the other while being pelted with snowballs by hordes of hyena-like spectators.
Barrie’s Ski & Sport took the overall prize in the under-18 with a sleek, four-person speed boat, perhaps because it lived up to its design. The boat went so fast it took out two layers of safety netting at the finish line.
The adult category was dominated by a group of repeat offenders. Back for their sixth year in a row with another piece of heavy machinery, the Flintstone Flyers showed up with a high track dozer (tank-like treads and a big front shovel). At the top, the team hinted at a big surprise, but no one saw it coming when the Flyers popped the top off their box, left it behind, and descended on four separate sleds.
The Flyers took best construction and best overall.
The adult team spirit award was shared by the Silver Star Boombox Box and the Moustache Ride. Both were exactly as their names suggested.
This, however, is just a smattering of the contraptions people dreamed up. There were 29 entries in the derby and an estimated 116 participants. And with 70-degree weather and blue skies, it’s safe to say that nobody lost.