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Cardboard Classic 2013 draws crafts of all kinds

  • CHARLEMONT, MA ( March 24, 2013) - The Berkshire East 2013 Cardboard Classic featured more than 70 sleds made of only cardboard, duct tape and imagination. The Ski Patrol acted as the backstop for speeding sleds! Photo by Beth Reynolds

    CHARLEMONT, MA ( March 24, 2013) - The Berkshire East 2013 Cardboard Classic featured more than 70 sleds made of only cardboard, duct tape and imagination. The Ski Patrol acted as the backstop for speeding sleds! Photo by Beth Reynolds

  • CHARLEMONT, MA ( March 24, 2013) - The Berkshire East 2013 Cardboard Classic featured more than 70 sleds made of only cardboard, duct tape and imagination. Photo by Beth Reynolds

    CHARLEMONT, MA ( March 24, 2013) - The Berkshire East 2013 Cardboard Classic featured more than 70 sleds made of only cardboard, duct tape and imagination. Photo by Beth Reynolds

  • CHARLEMONT, MA ( March 24, 2013) - The Berkshire East 2013 Cardboard Classic featured more than 70 sleds made of only cardboard, duct tape and imagination. Photo by Beth Reynolds

    CHARLEMONT, MA ( March 24, 2013) - The Berkshire East 2013 Cardboard Classic featured more than 70 sleds made of only cardboard, duct tape and imagination. Photo by Beth Reynolds

  • CHARLEMONT, MA ( March 24, 2013) - The Berkshire East 2013 Cardboard Classic featured more than 70 sleds made of only cardboard, duct tape and imagination. The Ski Patrol acted as the backstop for speeding sleds! Photo by Beth Reynolds
  • CHARLEMONT, MA ( March 24, 2013) - The Berkshire East 2013 Cardboard Classic featured more than 70 sleds made of only cardboard, duct tape and imagination. Photo by Beth Reynolds
  • CHARLEMONT, MA ( March 24, 2013) - The Berkshire East 2013 Cardboard Classic featured more than 70 sleds made of only cardboard, duct tape and imagination. Photo by Beth Reynolds

CHARLEMONT — A stretch of snow became ocean, atmosphere, space and speedway on Sunday as airplanes, space vessels, a Greek warship, narwhal, race cars and others took the slopes at Berkshire East for the annual Cardboard Classic.

Close to 200 spectators crowded around a fenced-off corner of the main slope to watch the cardboard and duct-tape creations whiz, roll and crumple by.

Speeds ranged from 5.9 seconds — “The Box,” piloted by Kayla Niles, Skyler Boyd and Baylee Crawford of Whitington, Vt. — to 30.9 seconds.

The slowest time went to the Millennium Falcon, intrepidly piloted by a Lego man.

Joe Ferrer of Greenfield and his son Manny, 10, put the finishing touches of tape on the miniature Millennium Falcon as they waited their turn on the hill.

The elder Ferrer said he had little warning for the race but it was a good chance for his son to see a friend he hadn’t seen in a while.

“It’s something my buddy told me about a couple days ago so we ran around and scrambled and the paint finally dried,” Ferrer said.

Ferrer is used to cardboard crafts, making Manny’s Halloween costume each year for the Rag Shag Parade, and a leftover Lego-man head served as helmet.

Exceeding Ferrer’s expectations, the spaceship held together for the downhill trip, although Manny was briefly ejected from the cockpit and later towed the craft across the finish line to applause.

Oskar Weber, 15, and his father Carl Weber of South Hadley had more time to prepare.

Oskar said this was his second year and his first entry, a race car, didn’t win anything. This year, the Webers got what they were looking for with the top design award, essentially a foregone conclusion.

“Two weekends, several nights and about a year’s worth of dreams,” said Carl Weber of the what it took to produce the family entry: a highly-detailed, roughly half-scale Cessna airplane complete with appropriately bevelled wings and the tale-number of an airplane flown by Oskar’s grandparents.

With Oskar and neighbor Will Hazen, 8, in the cockpit, the sled made a suspenseful flight downhill. The slow run drew camera flashes and groans as one pontoon runner climbed a snowbank, tipping the sled, then cheers as the sled righted itself and continued to an upright finish.

With a 16-foot wingspan and more than 100 pounds of cardboard and duct-tape, 10 to 12 rolls, the model took three minivans to transport, Carl said, and will probably now hang above the family pool.

Not all entries finished the race in one piece, but with recycled cardboard and tape on the line no one seemed to mind.

“It was fun,” said Alex Sciaruto, 13, of Amherst, dismembering his sled for the trip back home. Sciaruto’s eye-catching “Silver Rocket” quickly flipped over and he used his experience of six races to drag the damaged sled across the finish line by one crumpled wing.

Ski patrol members were standing by but everyone emerged standing from the several spectacular crashes, including one ski patrol member bowled over by four boys in a box.

This marks the event’s 39th year, according to Berkshire East organizers.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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