MONTICELLO — A layer or two of cardboard will be the only thing to keep rowers dry and afloat at a boat race hosted by the Rotary Club of Monticello on the Tippecanoe River Saturday.
“If they can survive, the boats can race in about four or five races,” said Lee Kreul, president of the rotary club.
“If they survive,” he repeated with a chuckle.
This is the first year the Rotary Club of Monticello is holding its Cardboard Boat Regatta, an event where area businesses, organizations, friends and families will bring homemade cardboard boats to the Tippecanoe River to race and raise money for Monticello parks.
Kreul said there will be about 12 to 15 participants in the event who will race in divisions based on age. The race will be 100 yards long, with competitors rowing 50 yards to a point before turning around and heading back.
“We tossed around several ideas when designing the course and decided to create a course based on chaos rather than speed,” Kreul said. “I don’t know whether some boats will leak and go down or tip over.”
This chaos Kreul desires shouldn’t get too out of hand, he continued, as the Monticello Police Department water rescue team will be standing by at the race. Participants are also required to wear life jackets and shoes.
The boats also have to maintain a standard of ecological friendliness, Kreul said, adding that only water soluble glues, paints and caulks can be used in the construction of the crafts.
Kreul seemed hopeful the crafts of the winners would be able to make it through multiple races.
“We’ll see more of the same boats hopefully,” he said.
Contestants may find some relief in knowing that at least their paddles don’t have to be made out of cardboard.