It may have been short of participants, but truly the best pilots came out last weekend, for the first annual Cardboard Sled contest in Kanesatake.
Panzer Wagon and Sweet Victory, two homemade cardboard vehicles, competed for the grand prize of $250 on Saturday, February 27. With a name like Sweet Victory, community member Tanner Etienne said he was 90 percent sure that he was going to win. And whether it was a premonition or just luck, the 12-year-old boy came in first against Kanehsata’kehró:non Sage and Nation Harrington.
“I think I’m ready to go pro, I’m definitely the best out there,” said Etienne during his victory speech, after he congratulated his opponents.
For Etienne, becoming a professional only took him a day of construction, some green spray paint and a Home Depot box. While they suffered some engine trouble during their hill run, the Harringtons’ green two-seater sled was a little bit more sophisticated, compared to the winning box.
“We decided to make a Jeep at first, but it turned into something else,” explained the siblings.
The Harringtons received $150 for second place, while the third prize was handed to the media outlet APTN. Journalist Jeff Dorn donated the $75 toward the Tsi Ronterihwanónhnha ne Kanien’kéha Language and Cultural Center. Co-organizer Al
Harrington said that this year, he invited different media outlets to take part in the contest, as a way to strengthen the relationship between the community and the media. He explained that while the community has had bad experiences with the media’s tendency to focus on negative stories, this was the opportunity to share something positive.
“Not all journalists and media are bad,” said Harrington.
APTN was selected as the contest’s judge by default as they were the only media who responded with their own personalized cardboard sled. APTN journalist Sylvie Ambroise arrived in Kanesatake thinking she was taking part in a team activity, only to discover that she was the test pilot.
“They told me there was a race and that we would all compete,” she said. “But then I realized I’m the one representing them all!”
The APTN mobile’s Innu name, Ka Tshepennte Mishkumit, meaning fast on ice, could have dangerously competed against Etienne’s cardboard sled. Right before the competition, Dorn, the engineer behind the APTN sled, shared its secret tool and wondered how safe it was.
“Lots and lots of tapes,” said Dorn with a laugh. “It may be fast, it might not be... We will see.”
The lack of participants didn’t keep the smiles off everyone’s face during the event. All enjoyed hot chocolates and snacks sponsored by the Medicine Box, who also donated the monetary prizes.
By the end of the afternoon, participants around the bonfire were secretly dreaming of their potential international bobsleigh careers while planning for their future vehicle creations.
Virginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door