Dressed as a merry band of pirates, Sgt. 1st Class Kyle Davis, his wife Danielle, and their family were ready for the 2021 Cardboard Regatta.
They joined Soldiers, families, base employees and guests to see whose floats were shipshape and seaworthy during the Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation event at Fort Bliss, Texas, Aug. 14, 2021.
The annual fun race, held at the Community Pool on west Bliss, returned this year after a one-year hiatus for COVID-19 mitigation considerations. The “corrugated cardboard only” race had three divisions: youth races, adult races, and parent-child teams.
Groups had about a month to design their floats and decorate them. Vessels ranged from an homage to classic video game icons Mario and Luigi, to dad-propelled unicorn boats, to hard-hatted Army Community Service employees with “We Have the Tools” emblazoned on the side of their float.
Michele Wiernicki, the Bliss FMWR marketing director and the emcee for the day’s races, said the 2021 Cardboard Regatta was a success and it’s especially close to the hearts of FMWR personnel.
“This really encompasses ‘family, morale, welfare and recreation,’” she said, “because, we know that for at least a month prior, for some of these people, they were working on their boats as a family. They put together a plan, they were gathering materials, and they were working as a team to try and figure out how to make their boat float.
“That for us is the best part,” she said. “The race was just the culmination.”
Wiernicki said although the number of boats were capped at 30 this year, in 2022 she imagines that the field for racers will be even larger.
Stationed at Bliss for more than two years and dressed like Capt. Jack Sparrow from “Pirates of the Caribbean” fame, Davis, a 5th Armored Brigade Task Force Kodiak Soldier, said events like the Cardboard Regatta are important.
“It’s about morale, keeping the morale up,” said Davis, a senior noncommissioned officer. “It’s a time to hang out with family.”
When it came time to sail, Davis and his oldest son stepped to the edge of the pool and climbed into their boat, only to have it sink to the bottom at the starting gate. There may have not been a finish line for the Davis family this year, but what they took home from the Cardboard Regatta Aug. 14 was more important–memories.
“It was fun working with my sons to get everything set up,” said an eye-patched Davis as his sons looked on. “The boat didn’t last, but we had a blast putting it together.”