Two Wingnuts, Absolute Zeros, Instigator, Section 8 best racersAwards also given for fastest, oldest teams; best costumes; best-crafted toboggan
Camden — Toboggan mania is over for another year, and, in its wake, Two Wingnuts, Absolute Zeros, an Instigator and the crazy Section 8 streaked to division championships, while other teams were deemed the fastest, oldest, most crafty and best dressed in one of Maine's most popular early-February events.
All that, and more, happened over the weekend at the Camden Snow Bowl as competitors enjoyed fast rides down the historic 400-foot, iced wooden chute — and some even celebrated being the best.
The 2014 U.S. National Toboggan Championships were Friday through Sunday, Feb. 7-9, at the Snow Bowl, with competitive, but good-natured, racing Saturday and Sunday.
Hundreds of fans and competitors enjoyed near perfect winter weather, with temperatures in the 20s and 30s both days.
On Saturday, the two-, three- and four-person teams took qualifying runs. Two- and three-person teams made both of their two qualifying runs on Saturday, with the four-person teams making one of two qualifying runs that day. Some made qualifying runs on Friday, as well.
Watch video below.
On Sunday morning, the four-person teams took their second qualifying runs and the finals were held in all divisions later in the day.
When the final toboggan had raced the chute, Two Wingnuts had finished first in the two-person division, Absolute Zeros first in the three-person division, Instigator first in the four-person division and Section 8 first in the Experimental division.
The fastest female team was Fastest Ash on Ice (8.95 seconds); fastest kids' team, Rockport Rocket (9.17 and 9.57 for a 9.17 best time); fastest high school team, Deedles 3 (8.96); and fastest college team, Bolt #1 Virginia Wesleyan College (8.88).
The oldest team was Two Pounds, with an average rider age of 71.5. The best-crafted toboggan was 4 Lo.
The best costumes, in order, were: Double Dutch, Snow Rebels IPA and PT Cruiser.
The official final results from Sunday's championships, with first and second runs, as well as overtime time, listed, were:
Two-person — 1, Two Wingnuts, 8.88 and 8.9 for 17.78; 2, Bolt Resolute, 9.0 and 8.95 for 17.95; and 3, Spudrunner 2, 8.98 and 9.05 for 18.03.
Three-person — 1, Absolute Zeros, 8.91 and 8.9 for 17.81; 2, Bolt 8, 8.92 and 8.89 for 17.81; and 3, Kennebec Ash Waxers, 8.89 and 8.93 for 17.82. The tie between Absolute Zeros and Bolt 8 was broken by the teams' best qualifying times, which was 8.81 for Zeros and 8.82 for Bolt 8.
Four-person — 1, Instigator, 8.8 and 8.84 for 17.64; 2, Bolt 5, 8.87 and 8.81 for 17.68; and 3, Not All There, 8.5 and 8.83 for 17.68. The tie between Bolt 5 and Not All There was broken by the teams' best qualifying times, which was 8.80 for Bolt 5 and 8.85 for Not All There.
Experimental — 1, Section 8, 8.77 and 8.75 for 17.52.
Holly S. Edwards, chairman of the U.S. National Toboggan Championships organizing committee, said next year's 25th annual event celebration will be special. And it will come on the heels of an amazing, just-completed, three-day event in 2014.
In fact, last weekend's gorgeous winter weather made for a record turnout of spectators, she said.
"We already knew we had 420 teams of racers coming — the wildcard was the spectator volume," Edwards said. "We guesstimate more than 9,000 people at the venue Saturday and our largest ever Friday turnout for team registration, toboggan inspections and public/team practice runs in the chute. We also offered some early racing late Friday afternoon for two-person and three-person teams, and 59 teams gave it a shot, taking their first runs Friday so they only had to make one qualifying run Saturday morning.
Edwards added, "We had many new racers this year and new spectators checking it out, with many looking forward to coming back to race next year. The newbies got a chance to see what the real competition is about, and I talked to some that were already making plans to 'build their own' toboggans to really have a shot at winning. Those new racers stuck with it all weekend and at least one team, from Newton, Mass., which rented a local team's retired sled donated to the event this year, was doing well and just missed the final cut by a small margin. They left satisfied, loaded down with 2014 t-shirt and poster souvenirs and looking forward to coming back to try again next year. It's that kind of challenge, the drive to win, which gets people hooked on the game of toboggan racing."
She said the inaugural costume contest parade was a wild success. Judged by the five members of the Camden Select Board and serenaded by the Planet Pan steel drum band from George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill, "everybody had a grand time watching the costumed racers parade in an impromptu line dance performance before the judges, with enthusiastic encouragement and cheering from the audience," Edwards said.
Edwards said the event's vendors did a great job feeding the masses all three days, and West Bay Rotary's Down the Chute Beer and Wine Tasting on Friday and chili challenge Saturday were big hits.
"The Toboggan National committee is looking forward to a short break, but then work to plan for the 25th annual U.S. National Toboggan Championships will get underway in earnest," she said. "We will also be working with the Winterfest Committee downtown to take next steps toward fostering a true Winterfest Week, furthering work toward connecting the Camden Library and Harbor Park's community winter festival with Toboggan Nationals."
As always, the competition in the popular early-February event proved intense and the atmosphere fun, with more than 400 teams vying for mahogany trophies and bragging rights for being the fastest on traditional wooden toboggans down the chute.
Now, for 24 years, racers of all ages have slid down the wooden chute onto Hosmer Pond. They have done it dressed as the Cowardly Lion and Dorothy Gale, Crash Test Dummies and bags of Wonder Bread, to name a few of the unique costumes worn by competitors. Some lube their sleds with secret ingredients, while others are there for the tailgating and mechanical bull riding.
The championship was founded 24 years ago to give locals an alternate outdoor winter activity. Since then the national championship weekend has become a major fundraiser for the municipally-owned and operated Camden Snow Bowl and attracts people from all over the Northeast and world.
Money raised benefits the Camden Snow Bowl, which will undergo a major renovation in the coming seasons to include new chairlifts and new lodge.
To view the official championship runs/results for the two-, three-, and four-person teams from Feb. 9 racing, click on the links below.
Saturday qualifying results
After Saturday's three-person qualifying runs, Absolute Zeros held the lead with a first run of 8.81 seconds and second run of 8.94. Thus, the Zeros settled for a best of 8.81, which put them at the top of the heap in their division.
In the two-person category, Two Wingnuts sit atop at 8.83 seconds, after runs of 8.83 and 8.98.
The top-10 three-person qualifying teams were: Absolute Zeros, BOLT 8, Kennebec Ash Waxers, 3 Big Kahoonas, Spudrunner 3, Flying Beer Boys Throbbin Boggins, Peter's Honey Badgers, Cold Soar and Schooner Olad.
The top-10 two-person qualifying team were: Two Wingnuts, Fat Bloated Idiots, Bolt Resolute, Spudrunner 2, Bolt#2 Trey Shupert's Love Children; Two Slab City Sliders, All Parts Securely Fastened, Bolt 6, 2 Throbbin Boggins and Throbbin Boggins.
To view the teams and qualifying runs for the two- and three-person teams from Feb. 8 racing, click on the links below. Qualifying teams are shaded in yellow.