Springfield’s unique Cardboard Classic draws teams from throughout Ohio

Several people were happy for ice on the first day of spring. They were even eager to travel on it.

The ice indoors at Springfield’s NTPRD Chiller was the setting for the annual Cardboard Classic on Saturday afternoon, where eight teams raced up the rink’s slippery surface in themed bobsleds they constructed of cardboard and tape. Some of the entourage resembled pit crews, carrying extra tape for the boxes.

The day saw two separate races – five teams in the first and three in the second. Northwestern Elementary student Timothy Gordon and his mother, Nikki, were inspired by their three dogs for a dog-themed bobsled and named for his dad, Christopher, who is serving in the military.

“We love doing adventure stuff and this seemed like it would be fun to do,” Nikki said.

The project took about three hours. She joked her big goal was not to be loaded into an emergency vehicle by the end.

The most colorful bobsled in the first race belonged to 8-year-old Kensley Yoakem of Columbus, inspired by her two interests: horses, which she rides, and unicorns. She was all unicorn, decked out in a mask, hoodie, shirt socks and even her helmet.

She and grandmother Michelle Chaney of Springfield pointed out the bobsled, named Rainbow, was in the correct rainbow colors and Kensley made several suggestions as to make it more unicorn-like.

Team Dark Side, featuring dark colors and a Darth Vader logo, was created by Geoff Lawson and “Star Wars” fan son, Trenton. Geoff spent the previous afternoon constructing the bobsled version of the TIE Fighter.

Jason Huff and son Atticus were back to compete in their sixth cardboard classic and brought along a new generation – wife Chris and Finnegan, age 3. Originally from Springfield, they traveled up from Springboro.

Sticking with the themes, Attitcus chose the planet Uranus for his bobsled, while Finnegan opted for cartoon favorite Peppa Pig, adding a new generation to the tradition.

Experience won out as Team Uranus claimed the race portion, Team Unicorn got a creative design victory while Team Dark Side took runner-up for design.

Race two had similar themes – Team Rainbow Rascals, another colorful rainbow-inspired design; Team Galaxy with a space and planet design; and Team McMason, an homage to animated classic “Cars” character Lightning McQueen.

Delaware, Ohio family Jeff Driscoll, wife Mollie and daughters Jack and Sylvie took first for Team Rainbow Rascals in the competition in their first appearance.

The Driscolls all dressed for the occasion, including Jeff in rainbow cape and pushing Jack in her gold outfit in the bobsled, while Mollie in her rainbow leg warmers and Sylvie in rainbow onesie cheered. Jack added the original drawings of cows and lollipops.

McMason, also known as 4-year-old Mason Maddalena, was in his first competition, also had a large family cheering section, earning best design, complete with a license plate with his name and other red features like the Pixar character led by dad Michael.

His family saw the ad for the competition while signing up for soccer and they spent seven to eight hours on their bobsled.

Alex McCrae and dad Brian are also five-time Classic veterans, earning runner-up for design with the galaxy theme. Alex loves racing bikes and this is another variation.

Miste Adams, recreation superintendent for National Trail Parks and Recreation, which sponsored the event, was glad the competition happened and is a sign activities are picking up as the pandemic slows.

“We’re still learning as we go. We just wanted people to have fun doing it,” she said.

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