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Michigan Tech’s Cardboard Boat Races: Sink or swim?

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Michigan Tech’s Cardboard Boat Races: Sink or swim?

The announcer tells the audience who is racing against who and the competitors line up on the shoreline to begin their trek through the icy waves.

The announcer tells the audience who is racing against who and the competitors line up on the shoreline to begin their trek through the icy waves.

The announcer tells the audience who is racing against who and the competitors line up on the shoreline to begin their trek through the icy waves.

The announcer tells the audience who is racing against who and the competitors line up on the shoreline to begin their trek through the icy waves.


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Friday afternoon cold and rainy, the weather looked grim leading up to this year’s much anticipated cardboard boat race, but just as the clock struck four and the races began, the sun came through and illuminated the crowd of bright and loud spectators committed to watching recycled boats sink into that beautiful icy water, rain or shine.

Each year, students from the dorms, fraternities, sororities, student organizations and community here at Tech gather up their cardboard and duct tape and spend hours (sometimes overnight) putting together their incredible cardboard steeds with the high hopes of glorious aquatic success achieved amid the cold Portage water.

Every group has their own tactic, design and team — often leading to that sweet, icy failure that the spectators live for. While some boats seemed to barely make it off the shoreline, others capsized on the way back and a very select few made their way out, around the buoy and back with all cardboard, duct tape and teammates intact.

This Homecoming favorite attracts student spectators as well as family and community members to attend, who trek out no matter the weather to watch brave souls slowly sink into the waves with their oars barely wet. The shouts and groans of support could be heard from downtown Houghton all the way to Hancock. The event is sponsored by Student Activities and many other supporters who work not only on the cardboard boat races, but also on all of Homecoming. The winner of this year’s cardboard boat race was Delta Upsilon.

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Michigan Tech’s Cardboard Boat Races: Sink or swim?