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Snowflake Rally sled race at Dry Hill Ski Area attracts creative competition


Adam J. DiBlaise said he was going to ride head first down the tubing hill in his barn-themed box sled and hope for the best. He wore a pink pig nose and ears made from duct tape when he guided the sled down the Dry Hill Ski Area tubing hill and took first place in the ninth annual Snowflake Rally on Saturday morning.

Mr. DiBlaise’s team, Barn, Pig and Two Farmers, from the Credo Community Center’s rehabilitation center in Evans Mills, was one of three teams that participated in the competition in which participants built their own sleds from cardboard and rode them down the tubing lanes. Proceeds from the competition benefitted the Jefferson County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Along with the first-, second- and third-place awards, the three participating teams were awarded eight more offbeat awards: Team Barn, Pig and Two Farmers won best business themed and most colorful; team Pirates won most creative and best team spirit; and team Smiley’s Kitty won best theme, most humorous and most bizarre.

The second-place winner, team Pirates, rode aboard their pirate ship-themed sled. The sled shifted at the top of the tubing hill’s snow-carved lane and the co-captains, Amber S. Fay, 17, of Sackets Harbor, and Greg D. Covell, 17, of Watertown, rode their sled down the hill backward.

The sled’s duct tape and cardboard “motor” attached to the back of the sled, which had been approved before the start of the race, proved ineffective at propelling the ship to the bottom of the hill the fastest.

The third-place winners, team Smiley’s Kitty, was driven by husband and wife team Shawn C. and Chereen W. Smiley. The Smileys, wearing bride and groom themed-helmets with a veil on Mrs. Smiley’s helmet and a miniature top-hat on Mr. Smiley’s, had trouble navigating the rounded half-pipe tubing lane with their square sled. The sled, a kitty-litter box, made it several yards down the track.

Mrs. Smiley said she made the sled, starting at 3 p.m. on Friday and finishing at 4 a.m. on Saturday, using nine rolls of duct tape, newspaper, panty hose to simulate cat-litter “buried treasure” and a banner reading “Just Pooped.”

Even though their sled didn’t win, she said it was all for fun. She chose the litter box theme to fit the SPCA fundraiser.

Mr. DiBlaise said after the race he was surprised their barn sled had come in first place. His teammates, Tom P. Unser, 19, and Josh L. Predmore, 18, said they were surprised their duct tape, plastic shopping bag and cardboard creation didn’t fall apart on the slope.

Mr. Predmore said he liked the designs of the other competitors’ sleds and before the race thought the pirate ship was more likely to win.

Ms. Fay said their sled was originally supposed to be a space ship, but as they built the sled in their workshop at Jefferson-Lewis Boards of Cooperative Educational Services they thought it looked more like a pirate ship. Mr. Covell said they added images of wooden planks on pieces of poster board to the sides of their sled and made a mast, sail and outboard motor from cardboard and newspaper. Ms. Fay said their sled took them a week to make, working about two hours a day in the classroom.

“We built it for durability,” Mr. Covell said.

Mr. Covell and Ms. Fay said they participated in the contest as part of their Skills USA program in leu of community service. They said the event was much more fun than typical community service.

Jefferson County SPCA Executive Director Douglas J. Marlow said this was the first year the SPCA took charge of the annual sledding event.

Although fewer participated than anticipated, the event brought out a lot of local creativity and everyone had fun, he said.

“I think everyone did a great job putting this together,” Mr. Marlow said.

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