Chiller Bbrays Ice Cream truckCompetition came in second to fun when Clark County families gathered to compete in the Second Annual Cardboard Classic Bobsled Races on March 5 at National Trail Parks and Recreation District’s (NTPRD) Chiller ice arena in downtown Springfield, Ohio.

As the name suggests, Cardboard Classic Bobsleds may be made from cardboard, tape, glue, wax, lacquer and/or paint. Teams also use hockey tape or packing tape lines the bottom to prevent damaging the ice. No wood, plastic, metal or staples are permitted. At least one person must ride the sled and there is no limit to the amount of people who may push it across the ice.

This year’s Cardboard Classic champion is the father/daughter team of Caitlyn and Mark Leonard. The team is from Springfield and won the race with their International Combine-inspired sled, appropriately named “The Combine.”

According to Team Combine, a personal rivalry helped spur the team onto their win.

Ms. Leonard’s mother and brother raced a John Deere-inspired sled. “I picked my dad because, well, my mom’s not that fast!” says Miss Leonard. Part of the Team Combine’s success may also have to do with their sled’s design. “You need to take your time building your sled,” advises Miss Leonard, while Mr. Leonard believes it’s even simpler than that, “International is just better than John Deere!”

This is Team Combine’s first year competing and, according to the team, they will be back to defend their title next year. The team is also considering having Mr. Leonard go into training before next year’s race. Miss Leonard wants to increase her father’s speed, while Mr. Leonard says he just wants more endurance, “There’s a lot more running than I was ready for, but it was fun!”

Participants had opportunities to win other prizes as well.

A prize for Best Design was won by “Team Jordyn’s Froze Castle” for their “Frozen”-inspired sled; “Team Bbray” won the award for Most Creative Design with their ice-cream truck bobsled; and a prize for the “Best Fall” was awarded to Drew Hellmuth for losing his glasses during one especially spectacular fall while pushing his grandson Quinlan Bosner’s “Racecar 5” bobsled.

Cardboard Classic bobsled designs included a rocket, a tank, a Boy Scout Pinewood Derby car, the Batmobile, a Philadelphia Flyers Fan Mobile, Snoopy as a WW1 Flying Ace, a Lion, and two Minions riding on a surfboard. Chiller employees even entered a bobsled designed like a Zamboni.

Participants enjoyed the event, saying they couldn’t wait until next year’s race. Like Team Combine, many competitors are already planning design improvements. One team has plans to find a lighter “driver,” while another team plans on making a taller sled so the pushers don’t have to bend over so far. One child says she doesn’t care what the sled looks like, as long as it’s purple.

The Cardboard Bobsled Classic takes place the first Saturday in March and is coordinated by Amy Van Huffel, NTPRD’s Recreation Specialist.

Van Huffel says she is thrilled at how the popularity of the event has increased so dramatically in just two years. “On Friday, students from Springfield’s Global Impact S.T.E.M. academy raced bobsleds they made in class. We had nearly 30 teams enter this year’s regular event--which is triple the number of teams we had entered last year. It’s great to see the time and creativity teams put into their bobsled designs and how excited everyone is about being in the race. The Cardboard Classic Bobsled Race is a great community event and we will definitely be having another race in 2017!”

For more information about other NTPRD facilities and family events, visit and click on the links.

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