Steamboat 5th-graders win Cardboard Classic at Old Town Hot Springs |

Steamboat 5th-graders win Cardboard Classic at Old Town Hot Springs

Luke Graham

Soda Creek Elementary School fifth-graders Addison Sandvik, from right, Charles Leech, Madeline Brusky and Eric Casey aboard their winning craft, the Cinatit.

— If for some reason the design didn't work for Charles Leech, Addison Sandvik, Eric Casey and Madeline Brusky, surely the name would give them an advantage.

The four Soda Creek Elementary School fifth-graders were confident their cardboard and duct tape craft would cruise smoothly across the 25-yard lap pool during Old Town Hot Springs' third annual spring Cardboard Classic.

If it didn't, the boat called Cinatit had some historical advantages.

"We named it after the Titanic," Casey said. "Except it's Titanic backward."

Say what?

"The Titanic sank and was slow," Sandvik said. "So we figured if we spelled it backward, ours wouldn't sink and it would be fast. It worked."

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The group outlasted competing teams from its own grade and was the fastest and most durable boat in the finals Friday.

The event, of which a high school-only version takes place in the fall, featured groups of students in grades five through eight, plus a lone high school team, constructing boats out of cardboard and duct tape. Teams would start at one end of the lap pool, put two members in the boat and use whatever means necessary to get to the other side.

With every side of the lap pool lined with students, competitors and parents, the four Soda Creek fifth-graders proved to have the best design.

They said the long, sleek boat was built in about six hours. Most of their heavy duty cardboard was found in a local Dumpster. After a brief online search, the team settled on its design.

"We got the foundation off the computer, but we made our own measurements," Brusky said.

The group used mathematics to figure out the weight of the boat. They didn't want it to be too heavy and sink, nor did they want it to be too flimsy to hold.

"We figured even with our heaviest people in it, we could still get it to float," Leech said.

The third year of the event saw it accomplish exactly what it was created for.

Old Town Hot Springs Aquatics Director Jill Ruppel said they came up with the event to connect with students.

"It was meant to be a way to connect us to the community from an educational standpoint," she said. "The teachers have picked it up and made it a tremendous event."

So what happens next with the Cinatit? The original plan was to burn it. But unlike the original Titanic, the Cinatit will see more than just its maiden voyage.

"We might put it in the (winter) Cardboard Classic," Brusky said.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday