Max Saalmann and Eric Claire, also known as “The Unicorns,” paddle across the lake at Training Area 250 Saturday during Fort Leonard Wood’s annual Cardboard Boat Race event, hosted by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. This year, 18 two-person teams entered boats in the competition, and the teams each competed in one of two divisions – adult and family – for four award categories.
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Max Saalmann and Eric Claire, also known as “The Unicorns,” paddle across the lake at Training Area 250 Saturday during Fort Leonard Wood’s annual Cardboard Boat Race event, hosted by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. This year, 18 two-person teams entered boats in the competition, and the teams each competed in one of two divisions – adult and family – for four award categories. (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Hill, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL
Tiffany Umphenour (left) and Abagail Reinke, who made up the team, “Crash Cart,” fall off their boat on their way back to shore.
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Tiffany Umphenour (left) and Abagail Reinke, who made up the team, “Crash Cart,” fall off their boat on their way back to shore. (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Hill, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL
The Directorate of Emergency Services provided a rescue boat to assist the less-than-seaworthy teams.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Directorate of Emergency Services provided a rescue boat to assist the less-than-seaworthy teams. (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Hill, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosted Fort Leonard Wood’s annual Cardboard Boat Race Saturday at Training Area 250.

According to Eli Wilson, FMWR Community Activities manager, 18 two-person teams entered boats in this year’s competition, and the teams each competed in one of two divisions — adult and family — for four award categories:

  • The High Seas Award, for the most spirited team;
  • The Admiral’s Pride Award, for the best creativity and design;
  • The Torpedo Award, for the fastest finish; and
  • The Titanic Award, for the most epic sinking.

The adult division winners this year included:

  • “The Mighty Dragons,” consisting of team members Brandon Hendrix and Juanita Cisneros, who took home the High Seas Award;
  • “The Redneck Yacht Club,” consisting of team members William Lingle and Zach Galecki, who took home the Admiral’s Pride Award and the Titanic Award; and
  • “Spartanic,” consisting of team members Taylor Fernandez and Colin Kerr, who — with a time of 3 minutes, 13 seconds — took home the Torpedo Award.

The family division winners this year included:

  • “Holy Ship,” consisting of team members Joseph Hinojosa and his son, Luca, who took home the High Seas Award and the Titanic Award;
  • “One Fish, Two Fish,” consisting of team members Anthony Byers and his daughter, Ava, who took home the Admiral’s Pride Award; and
  • “The Partridge Family,” consisting of team members Shaun Partridge and his son, Jaxon, who — with a time of 2 minutes, 3 seconds — took home the Torpedo Award.

The Partridges have experience building wooden boats, Shaun Partridge said, which gave him the inspiration for the design of their cardboard kayak.

“It was a great bonding experience for us, with him in the front doing a lot of the paddling and us learning how to build a cardboard kayak together,” he said. “It only took a week, but I think next year it will be fun to do something different with our design.”

One of the teams that didn’t leave with an award, but still seemed to turn a lot of heads as they launched their boat was “The Unicorns,” consisting of team members Max Saalmann and Eric Claire.

Dressed in oversized unicorn costumes, the team made the journey without sinking. Saalmann said it took about three weeks to build their craft, and they enlisted the help of some neighborhood children with the paint scheme.

“We wanted to do something different but spirited and include the kids in the neighborhood with the design by painting their handprints (on the hull),” Saalmann said.

The FMWR staff said they were thrilled with the turnout and appreciate the community support.

Jeffrey Barrett, chief of Business and Recreation, celebrated his seventh year of involvement with the event. Barrett judged this year’s competition and said he looked for creativity and spirit when picking the winning boats.

“Every year turns out better than the last,” he said. “We appreciate the turnout and support at every event.”

More photos from this year’s race are available on the FMWR Flickr page. For more information on upcoming FMWR events, visit the FMWR website or their Facebook page.

(Editor’s note: 1st Lt. Isabela Vargas, 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, contributed to this article.)