Let’s taco ‘bout sledding

Cardboard toboggan race is a beefy, cheesy success

Big Rapids High School students, freshman John Yost and junior Luke Sonsel, took first prize with their “Toboco” at Circle K’s annual cardboard and duct tape toboggan race.
Big Rapids High School students, freshman John Yost and junior Luke Sonsel, took first prize with their “Taboco” at Circle K’s annual cardboard and duct tape toboggan race. Photo by: Chris Martin | Photographer

The phrase “a little duct tape goes a long way” probably wasn’t intended for winter sports. For the participants of Circle K International’s (CKI) third annual Cardboard and Duct Tape Toboggan Race it couldn’t be more accurate.

Five teams from three different schools showed up to compete in the Saturday, Feb. 13 event hosted by Circle K to raise money for Women’s information Services, Inc. (WISE), Big Rapids’ women’s shelter. The race, held on a cleared track sloping State Street near Puterbaugh and Henderson halls, was open to students and the public alike.

“The whole point of it is to have fun,” said Kylie White, a Ferris junior in marketing and member of Circle K—a resident community service organization.

Each two- to three-person team had to complete three downhill time trials with their average time as the determining factor. This year’s winning team is the Tacos with an average finish time of 7.41 seconds.

“I hope to go fast to win this competition so we can have tacos afterwards,” said Big Rapids High School (BRHS) junior Luke Sonsel before the race.

“Victory Taco Bell celebration,” added Tacos teammate and BRHS freshman John Yost.

Aptly named for their Mexican cuisine-inspired toboggan (‘The Taboco’), Yost and Sonsel took home the prize for most creative toboggan design on top of their first place finish.

The Tacos’ third teammate, Hollywood actor Taylor Lautner, was unable to appear for the race, but was present in effigy and in spirit; to honor him, a likeness of his face was a key design element in the sled.

With only cardboard and duct tape as the allowable primary building ingredients, keeping their vessels intact was just as much the goal as speed. Several of the teams discovered this the hard way, having to either substitute or repair their demolished sleds between runs.

“We hope to not lose the Taco,” said Yost. “It would be very unfortunate.”

Second place finish was awarded to the Silver Saucer, representing Ferris State’s Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity, with an average finishing time of 9.71 seconds.

“I think our first run went a little rough,” said Caitlyn Filzek, a Ferris freshman in pre-pharmacy. “Once we got a feel for the course we went out there and killed it.”

“We held together,” added teammate Logan Beckett, also a freshman in pre-pharmacy.

Honorable mention goes out to Ferris State’s other participating team, representing Delta Nu Alpha and the biotechnology program.

“Our sled is too wide I think,” said senior in botany John Mark Stockman after a disparaging finish. “You want it long, narrow and low to the ground.”

Two visiting teams representing Central Michigan University’s Circle K arrived slightly unclear of the requirements.

“We discovered we had to come WITH the toboggan,” said Andrew Holland, a CMU senior in computer science. “We had to put as much together in five minutes.”

Holland and teammate Amanda Dembski, a senior in biochemistry at CMU, resorted to assembling their last-minute pizza box sled on-site.

“We’re Team Hodgepodge I guess,” said Holland.

Ten dollars was the asking donation per team. With five teams participating, CKI was able to raise 50 dollars towards the women’s shelter.

“I’m really happy about the turnout,” said co-organizer Megan Meerman, a sophomore in advertising and integrated marketing communications.

“And we didn’t have to move a lot of snow,” she added, referring to the heavy snowfall of previous years.