Eat More Kale

Where does a superstar antioxidant vegetable intersect with a wacky winter costume party in northern Maine?  Why at the National Toboggan Championship in Camden, Maine of course. My team, The Blind Squirrels, competed in the event for the first time a few weeks ago and it was a blast. I would point out that this is the only national championship in which a competitor needs absolutely no skills or prior experiences in the sport. We were able to compete ….well… because really the only thing we had to do to be competitive was to not fall off the toboggan, which we accomplished beautifully.

This winter’s big blizzard occurred on Saturday of the weekend schedule and probably resulted in a smaller than normal field of entrants. Nevertheless, there were approximately 400 teams entered in the two, three and four person team events.

Eat More Kale

Eat More Kale

Eat More Kale is a web site for a guy in central Vermont who started a small business printing a few T-shirts promoting the local farming movement. His shirts became popular in the local farmer’s markets and he decided to apply for a trademark for the phrase. That’s when the trouble started. He received a Cease and Desist letter from Chick Fil A who has a slogan called “Eat mor Chikin”. This dispute has now blossomed into a national story as it has been written up by the NY Times, Huffington Post and virtually every other major press outlet in the country resulting in a significant increase in notoriety and business for the fledgling company.

The Blind Squirrels

The Blind Squirrels

The Blind Squirrels are (left to right) Frank Binder, Tom Cox, Sue Guletsky and our team Captain Dave Sessions. We finished about in the middle of the pack for the three person team event and finished 56 out of 210 competitors in the four person team event.  And….we finished first in the senior category!

The Chute

The Chute

The original chute was built in 1936 in this location. Over the years there have been several rebuilds of the chute with the current chute having been built in 1990. It is 400 ft. long and rises 70 ft. The fastest sleds reach peak speeds of 40mph.

King and his Court

King and his Jesters

For a lot of contestants the event is just an excuse to use their Halloween costumes for an extra day during the year. There were some very clever costumes and these guys were among them.

The Pineapple Express

The Pineapple Express

The Pineapple Express not only looked good, but they raced well. They finished 21st in the four person team competition (one of them is missing in the photo)

Dutch National Toboggan Team with the Mayans

Dutch National Toboggan Team with the Mayans

The Dutch National Team (in blue) and the Mayans had the two most extravagant outfits in the competition. One of the DNT members lives in Maine and his three friends fly to the event from the Netherlands each year.

Fun in the Chute

Fun in the Chute

Some competitors regard the event as a serious competition and arrive at the site with a trailer load of equipment, wax, tools, and extra toboggans. Others come with little more than an old toboggan, a dream and a six-pack. Some dress up in costume, bring deck chairs and numerous six-packs and hope the competition doesn’t interrupt their fun.

The Mayans

The Mayans

This team was my pick for best get-up. Look at the make up, elaborate headgear, and jewelry!

A Young Contestant

A Young Contestant

This was a great family event and provided opportunities to photograph kids at play which is one of my favorite subjects.

Two Cuties

Two Cuties

These two young ones were working hard to build their own mini-chute.

Polar Bears going home

Polar Bears going home

Because of the big blizzard on Saturday, that day’s activities were cancelled and the event organizers had to deal with numerous scheduling issues involving teams coming from far away and the timing of the runs. They dealt with it well and even more impressive it didn’t seem to bother any of the contestants who, it seems were all able to go with the flow and have a great time. We’ll be back for the 2014 competition.

Thank you for reading my latest blog entry. If you thought it was worthy of your time and you hadn’t already done so, please take the opportunity to subscribe by clicking the “Follow” button on the right side of the page. You will receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Also, you can share this blog entry on your Facebook page by clicking the share button below or you can email it to folks by clicking on the “Email” button.

Aside | This entry was posted in National Toboggan Championship and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Eat More Kale

  1. John Landry says:

    I’m in total agreement. The older you get the more kale you should eat! Nice pics. You are having too much fun.

    Like

  2. abi sessions says:

    Frank, you really know how to have fun!

    Like

  3. Maureen says:

    This really looks fun!!! Nice post!

    Sent from my iPhone

    Like

  4. fwbinder says:

    This was great fun…nice people, a fun activity and a few brewskis. What more could you ask for?

    Like

Leave a comment if you wish...all opinions welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s