Sink or Swim

Steve Legg propels the Nave Seabee team cardboard boat across the main pool at the cardboard boat race Saturday. The Seabees duct-taped paddles they built from spare boat-making materials to his hands, eschewing the standard canoe paddle given to all the teams. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Litteken).

Steve Legg propels the Nave Seabee team cardboard boat across the main pool at the cardboard boat race Saturday. The Seabees duct-taped paddles they built from spare boat-making materials to his hands, eschewing the standard canoe paddle given to all the teams. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Litteken).

A participant in the cardboard boat race Saturday attempts to maneuver a quickly sinking entry to the end of the pool and back. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Litteken).

A participant in the cardboard boat race Saturday attempts to maneuver a quickly sinking entry to the end of the pool and back. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Litteken).

Members of the 360th Training Squadron, team number two, at the boat race Saturday work together to consturct their entry for the event. Teams had only duct tape and five sheets of cardboard to build their teams vessels. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Litteken).

Members of the 360th Training Squadron, team number two, at the boat race Saturday work together to consturct their entry for the event. Teams had only duct tape and five sheets of cardboard to build their teams vessels. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Litteken).

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Spectators watched as an aircraft carrier made its way across the water, cheering it along as a group of mobsters watched beside them. Minutes later the crowd grew louder as an Army helicopter quickly sunk beneath the surface. 

This wasn't some war game gone awry, but the annual Sheppard cardboard boat race.
Services held the race Saturday at the main pool. Teams began the day at 7:30 a.m. with the teams building their cardboard vessels out of 5 sheets of 4' by 8' cardboard and 180 yards of duct tape to hold it together. 

"It's a great team building exercise," said Ray Talbott, community activities director. "We give the teams cardboard and duct tape and tell them to make a boat out of it." 

Ship designs ranged from kayaks and skiffs to aircraft carriers and paddy wagons.
"It's fun to see which ones float," Talbott said. 

The boat race is one of eight core community events for Sheppard, and is one of the more popular ones, said Talbott. 

In addition to the boat race, there were temporary tatoos available for those attending and breakfast for the participants. 

The winners of the four categories were as follows:

Most spirited:
1st place - 362nd Training Squadron Crew Dawgs, 2nd place - Navy, 3rd place - Army, 169th Delta Company

Most spectacular sinking:
1st place- 365th TRS, 2nd place- 362nd TRS, 3rd place- Army, 169th Delta Company

Fastest time:
1st place- 381st TRS (51 seconds), 2nd place- 82nd Medical Support Squadron (52 seconds), 3rd place 982nd Maintenance Squadron (one minute and 58 seconds)

Overall winner:
1st place- 82nd MDSS, 2nd place- Navy Seabees, 3rd place- 363rd TRS