Updated with videos, links to photos

Warm conditions, persistent rain greet U.S. Toboggan National Championship racers

Zany costumes, slippery trips down 400-foot wooden chute highlight first day's festivities
By Ken Waltz and Beth A. Birmingham | Feb 12, 2018
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Team Thunder from Down Under makes a splash landing on Hosmer Pond in their run during the two-person finals at the 28th annual U.S. National Toboggan Championships Feb. 11 at the Camden Snow Bowl. The event was held Feb. 9-11 and was part of the week-long Camden Winterfest.

Camden — Unseasonably warm conditions and persistent periods of rain throughout the weekend, which created plenty of slush and wetness, did not completely dampen the spirits of the many who descended on the Camden Snow Bowl Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 10-11 for the 28th annual U.S. Toboggan National Championships.

Those hardy souls turned out to be part of the annual toboggan celebration and pageantry, with interesting, funny and over the top costumes, and much-anticipated, albeit sometimes wet, thrill rides down the historic 400-foot wooden chute — with fast finishes on snowy, frozen Hosmer Pond — the name of the game.

The three-day event, the largest annual fundraiser for the Snow Bowl, was Friday through Sunday, Feb. 9-11.

It is one of the major attractions and the culmination of the week-long Camden Winterfest from Feb. 3-11.

The official results have been posted and, after many close races, the divisional champions were Spudrunner 4 in the four-person, Deedles Screaming Eagles in the three-person, Two Slab City Sliders in the two-person and Magic Carpet Ride in the experimental.

In fact, in the three-person, there were ties for first and third and officials had to go to the fastest individual times of the weekend to determine those positions.

Watch videos below from weekend's action and costume parade.

Click for photos from recent toboggan events.

Click to go to the official event website.

Click on links below for list of this year's winners and teams, as well as prelim times and finals qualifiers from Saturday's two- and three-person runs.

While colder temperatures obviously lead to more consistent ice on the chute and, thus, faster times, 40-degree temperatures on Saturday and mid-30-degree temperatures on Sunday, with periods of rain both days, greeted the hardy souls who challenged rapid descents.

The final official top-three in each division were:

Four-person — Spudrunner 4, 9.65 first run and 9.60 second run for 19.25 overall time; Bolt 1, 9.73 and 9.76 for 19.49; and Bolt 6, 9.76 and 9.81 for 19.57.

Three-person — Deedles Screaming Eagles, 9.70 first run and 9.73 second run for 19.43 overall time; Splittin' Adams, 9.74 and 9.69 for 19.43; Schooner Olad, 9.77 and 9.85 for 19.62; and Sokwajiweag Mastodon Mayhem, 9.86 and 9.76 for 19.62. Thus, the top two teams tied and the third and fourth teams tied. For the top spot, Deedles Screaming Eagles recorded the fastest individual time of 9.63, while Splittin' Adams had 9.66. For third and fourth, Schooner Olad finished at 9.56 and Sokwajiweag Mastodon Mayhem at 9.64.

Two-person — Two Slab City Sliders, 9.78 and 9.87 for 19.65; Spudrunner 2, 9.82 and 9.85 for 19.67; and Yahtzee, 9.91 and 9.78 for 19.69.

Experimental — Magic Carpet Ride, 9.61 and 9.67 for 19.28.

Toboggan racers, who can reach speeds of 40 mph on cold, crispy, solid ice conditions, had to deal with more slush and melting snow on the pond after their fun-filled treks.

Racers and spectators also had to deal with periods of rain during the two weekend days. That rain came down its hardest over night and later in the day Sunday.

On Sunday, there was about four inches of water/slush mix around and tons of soaked racers and spectators. Mother Nature certainly did not provide optimal conditions for toboggan racing, especially on Sunday.

But, as usual, the costume contest parade through Tobogganville at midday on Saturday proved a special treat, brightened everyone's day and provided smiles.

The event, spearheaded by the tireless work of co-chairmen Holly Edwards and Stuart Young (who was perched in his usual spot as the drop master at the top of the chute), among others, has been held over the years in blistering cold conditions, during and after Nor'esters and once when officials had to create a makeshift toboggan chute out of snow on one of the area's hills.

According to the event's official website, this year there were 106 two-person, 105 three-person and 136 four-person teams, along with a handful of experimental competitors. That was more than 350 total teams and more than 1,050 competitors.

There also were special awards for the top college, all-female, student (ages 12-18) and oldest teams, along with the best-crafted toboggan and top sponsor team.

Some of the more unique two-person team names this year are: Two Whiskeys on Ice, Nothing to Luge, Frozen Boogers, The O'Chute Widows, Mitten Sniffers, Chute Happens, No Viagra Needed, Man Cold and Woman Flew, Floggin' My Toboggan and Drinking Team with a Tobogganing Problem.

Some of the more unique three-person team names this year are: Pirate Panty Raiders, Snow Turds, Frost Biters, Absolute Zeros, Bruised Ash, Ice Scream, A Hooker, A Halfback and Josh, Raisin' Our Flask to Slidin' on Our Ash, Three Meats to the Wind and Snow Turning Back.

Some of the more unique four-person team names this year are: The Four Ashwipes, Lucky Mother Foxes, Trophy Husbands, There is No I in Bear, Tight Butts and Sweaty Nutts, Poop Chute, The Bag Draggers, Sled Man Walking, Freudian Slip, Beavis and Buttsled and That's What She Sled.

After Saturday's prelim runs, the top-10 two-person teams were: Flying Beer Boys, 9.66 first run and 9.59 second run for 9.59; Free Beer, 9.77 and 9.59 for 9.59; Yahtzee, 9.61 and 9.78 for 9.61; Pennsylvania State Champions, 9.86 and 9.63 for 9.63; Spudrunner 2, 9.65 and 9.76 for 9.65; Two Big Kahoonas, 10.05 and 9.66 for 9.66; Lil' Deuce Coupe, 10.56 and 9.66 for 9.66; Thundah Struck, 9.67 for 9.67; Two Whiskeys On Ice, 9.71 and 9.93 for 9.71; and Sokwjiweg Rattlesnake Jack #2, 9.71 and 9.72 for 9.71.

After Saturday's prelim runs, the top-10 three-person teams were: Three Big Kahoonas, 9.55 for 9.55; Schooner Olad, 9.56 for 9.56; Hocus Pocus, 9.67 and 9.56 for 9.56; Bolt 3, 9.57 for 9.57; Throbbin Boggins, 9.61 for 9.61; Whiskey On Ice 3, 9.62 and 9.78 for 9.62; Wax That Ash, 9.63 and 9.89 for 9.63; Deedles Screeching Eagles, 9.63 and 9.81 for 9.63; Eleanor Gone in 8 Seconds, 9.63 and 9.68 for 9.63; and Sokwjiweg Rattlesnake Jack #3, 9.64 and 9.76 for 9.64.

The event schedule included:

Friday, Feb. 9: Team registration and toboggan inspection in Tobogganville and Toboggan chute open to the public.

Saturday, Feb. 10: Two- , three-  and four-person, along with experimental, registration and toboggan inspection in Tobogganville; first runs for two- and three-person division (second runs followed immediately after first runs, optional for fast times); Snow Bowl open for skiing and snowboarding; costume contest parade in Tobogganville (with guest judges, live music by Planet Pan); first runs for four-person and experimental divisions; and Chili Challenge at Sea Dog Brewing in downtown Camden.

Sunday, Feb. 11: Second runs for four-person and experimental teams (optional for fast times); Snow Bowl open for skiing and snowboarding; final runs fir two- , three- and four-person teams, along with experimental teams (top-25 two- and three-person teams advanced, top-50 four-person teams advanced and top 25 percent of experimental teams advanced; and awards ceremony in Tobogganville.

The annual event hosted teams and spectators from from all over the world for a long weekend "dedicated to the zany sport of traditional wooden toboggan racing."

According to the event's official program. the original toboggan chute dates back to 1937 and, in 1991, it officially was dedicated as the Jack R. Williams Toboggan Chute and the first U.S. National Toboggan Championships were held.

The Toboggan Nationals were created by Williams and then-Camden Parks and Recreation Director Ken Bailey. In fact, the timing shack for the event is named after Bailey.

Still going strong, the toboggan event annually boasts a field of a maximum of 425 teams, nearly 1,300 racers and more than 6,000 spectators over three days of spirited competition.

2018 Toboggan Championship committee members: Edwards (co-chairman), Young (co-chairman), Bob Annis, Sandy Cox, Tom Cox, Tom Dowd, Jim Jefferson, Steve Pixley, and Beth Ward (Camden Snow Bowl General Manager).

2018 Winterfest committee members: Ken Gross, Cayla Miller, Young, Dave Jackson, Hank Lunn, Matt Brown, Tim Pierce, Amy Hand and Polly Jones.

U.S. Toboggan National Championship races
U.S. Toboggan National Championship races. (Video by: Beth A Birmingham and Zack Miller)
U.S. Toboggan National Championship costume parade
U.S. Toboggan National Championship costume parade. (Video by: Beth A. Birmingham and Zack Miller)
Team Cape Racers make their way out of the chute during finals Feb. 11. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
A fiddler entertains by the fire as participants and supporters warm up Feb. 11. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Team Skeeters II makes its way toward the hill from the slushy mess on Hosmer Pond Feb. 11. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Team Schooner Olad gets ready for its run in the finals Feb. 11. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Team Better Off Sled make certain the selfie stick is in place before a run Feb. 11. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
A crew works at disassembling their hut on Hosmer Pond Feb. 11 amidst rain and slush. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Rainy conditions caused much havoc during competition Feb. 11. Above, crews work on the timing device at the top of the chute. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Three-year-old Ella Wincklhofer of Camden finds the best way around the slushy conditions on Hosmer Pond to be pulled in a tube. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
One of several toboggan teams that find the entrance onto Hosmer Pond a bit of a challenge Feb. 10. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Kerri Tashea of team The Blue Sisters of Connecticut is ready to lead they way down the chute Feb. 10. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Team Fast as Lightning prepares for its run down the 400-foot chute during the 28th U.S. National Toboggan Championships Feb. 10 at the Camden Snow Bowl. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Entertaining the crowd following the costume parade at the Toboggan Championships Feb. 10. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Heading down the chute. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
The leader of team Yarmouth takes a moment to smile for the camera before heading down the chute Feb. 10. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Team Fire & Ice get ready for the Costume Parade at the U.S. National Toboggan Championships Feb. 10. From left, Jamie Ames, Amy Gallagher, Karen McCormick, and Laura Ludwig, who dedicate their runs to Jack McCormick. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Tobogganers wait in line to take their turn down the 400-foot chute Feb. 10. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Shane of team Pirate Panty Raiders is ready to make his team's run down the chute Feb. 10. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
One of hundreds of teams makes its way out of the chute. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Event co-chairman Holly Edwards leads the colorful sea of characters involved in the costume parade at the U.S. National Toboggan Championship Feb. 10 at the Camden Snow Bowl. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Tobogganers get set to make their way down the chute Feb. 10. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Event co-chairman Stuart Young takes his place at the head of the chute. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Leading team Shear Madness 3 down the chute Feb. 10, Michelle is ready to take on the mission. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Legos make their way through Tobogganville during the costume parade Feb. 10. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Events at Camden Snow Bowl Feb. 10 presented numerous opportunities for photographs. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Event co-chairman Stuart Young, left, is heckled by one of the hundreds of teams daring to compete in the 2018 U.S. National Toboggan Championships Feb. 10. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Team Chute First Ask Questions Later has difficulties making it to the finish line on Feb. 10. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
A change in the weather looms over the final runs Feb. 10. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Feb 12, 2018 14:53

Great pictures, thanks!



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