CEDAR LAKE | Anthony Griffith, of Cedar Lake, wanted a boat large enough to hold his children, godchildren and other family members.
Plus, his entry in the annual Great Cardboard Boat Race in Cedar Lake paid tribute to his Coast Guard service as well as popular pirate movies of late, Griffith said. Griffith’s boat, Semper Pirates, was one of 18 entries competing in Thursday’s race.
Tim Zableckis and his supporters also were back for another elaborate entry. Known for his high-profile crafts, such as last year’s Bluesmobile, Zableckis showed up this year with the UB-CPO, a ship shaped like an aircraft.
“It took us 100 hours to build,” said Zableckis. The plane paid tribute to the Indiana Jones movies, being decorated with a spider, snake and skull.
“We especially thank our wives (for their support),” said Zableckis, who was sporting an Indiana Jones hat.
Zableckis’ son, Colten, 10, competed in the junior category with a boat he called Boxcar Willie.
“Me and my friend built it,” said Colten. He also practiced rowing the night before “in the pool.”
The Miki Moku, Hawaiian for Swift Ship, was another entry in the junior category. Jerron Goodwin, 11, was joined by boat mates Chase Culver, 11, and Madison Parkinson, 12.
The outrigger craft kept to the Hawaiian theme thanks to tiki torches, a small palm tree and leis and flower wreaths.
The boats competed in timed heats, in groups as small as two and as large as five. Winners received a trophy and a $50 gift certificate to be redeemed at the Cedar Lake Parks Department.
The prize for the fastest time of the day in the senior division was taken home by perennial winner Ken Rasmussen Sr., whose craft, the Stars and Stripes, finished its heat in three minutes flat.
Rasmussen’s son, Ken Jr., won the trophy for the most on board; his large crew piloted the Carnival Cruises to a strong finish in their heat.
Jerron, Chase and Madison were honored for having the Best Theme in the Junior Division. A craft called Noah’s Ark, piloted by a large crew wearing animal masks, won Best Theme in the Senior Division.
Zablecki’s UB-CPO took home the prize for best design in the senior division. Zablecki also finished his heat to the strains of Indiana Jones’ theme song, played for him by a friend.
Semper Pirates was big enough for Griffith’s large crew, but unfortunately sank before it left the starting line. However, Griffith did get to go home with the Anchor award, which commemorates the day’s fastest sinking.
Cedar Lake Summerfest continues through the weekend. Friday's events include cup stacking, cupcake contest and teen scavenger hunt. The day will be capped off with fireworks at 9:30 p.m.