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If there was an early crowd favorite at Anything Floats, it was the spunky performance in the opening inner tube race from a competitor known as “Buzz Off.”

Buzz Off, also known as Julie Kostecky of Wormleysburg, kicked and paddled her bee-themed inner tube to a distant last-place finish in that race with the crowd cheering her in.

It’s that kind of determination crowds seem to like at Anything Floats, which has been a staple of the Summerfair schedule since its beginning. This year’s competition was held Thursday morning in its traditional location at Children’s Lake in Boiling Springs.

Plastic barrels seemed to be the material of choice for boat builders whether those barrels were hollowed out for the rowers to sit in or connected with wood or PVC pipe to a frame to create a pontoon-like effect. Other popular options were inflatable mattresses and kiddie pools as well as Styrofoam.

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Everything floated — at least for awhile.

Kostecky came up with name “Buzz Off” first for the entry forms, and then went around her house looking for what she could pull together to create a single-person watercraft. The result was a couple of what she called “low-brow” inner tubes decorated with yellow tape and a shovel with some sponges at the top to create a makeshift honey wand.

“Every year I see it on the news, and every year I’m upset I didn’t enter ... so this year I put it in my calendar to make sure I entered,” she said.

She admits she thinks the crowd cheered so loudly because they felt bad for her, but she didn’t let it dampen her enthusiasm for the event.

“It wasn’t about winning. It was just so much fun out there,” she said.

Remember

It wasn’t about winning for Roy Glossner of Newville and Jason Kinsler of Carlisle, either. The competitors in the two-person race carried a message on their boat titled “POW/MIA” to remember the nation’s veterans on Independence Day.

For the past three years, Glossner competed on a team named “Old Glory” but changed it this year to remember prisoners of war and those missing in action as well as to help educate the community about the fact that 22 veterans a day commit suicide, he said. The phrase “22 a day” on the back of the boat prompted a number of people to ask him what it meant.

“That’s why I wanted to put it on there,” he said.

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An Army veteran, Glossner works with veterans organizations including one that gives disabled veterans an opportunity to get into the woods to go hunting and fishing and to be with people who know what they are going through.

Glossner said it’s hard for veterans to ask for help so those around them should reach out to them and see what they need.

Though people came to have fun or to send a message, there are winners in every race.

Winners

If there was a dominant “boat” on the lake, it was Sheep Thrills from the Dickinson College Farm, which took first place in the four-person, six-person, eight-person and 10-person races. The team finished second in the two-person race to bring home five trophies — one more than last year’s four-trophy effort.

Their sister ship, the Deja Moo, logged second place in the 8-person and 10-person races.

Both boats were framed in bamboo. The bamboo frame of the Deja Moo was covered in greenhouse plastic while Sheep Thrills used rubber roofing from Carlisle Syntec.

Maia Binhammer, captain of Sheep Thrills and an apprentice on the farm, said the worst part of her craft was the smell coming from the real wool that the farm crew used to create the massive sheep that formed the centerpiece of the boat. The sheep made the boat top heavy, but the crew stuck to its strategy of having people steering in the back and staying to the right to avoid the crowd of boats as they made the turn for the finish line.

Vanessa Ryan, captain of Deja Moo and an apprentice on the farm, said they did end up pushing against a lot of other people sometimes, but the event overall was “so much fun.”

Newcomers from the Carlisle Tool Library had hoped to stop Dickinson College’s string of victories in the annual competition. They ended up picking up a third-place finish in the six-person and eight-person races.

Early plans for their watercraft, “Rich Girl,” called for two rows of blue, plastic barrels connected with pieces of wood and surrounded by a frame of PVC pipe onto which they intended to add a bamboo flooring to create a craft reminiscent of the boat the Professor made to finally get Gilligan and company off the island.

The bamboo was jettisoned to cut down on the weight on race day, said Jeff Adams, president of the Carlisle Tool Library.

The tool librarians plan to return to next year’s event, but will bring something other than a pontoon design, he said.

Special prizes were also given out to Sea Thompy for the most enthusiastic entry, Sheep Thrills for the most unique entry and to Sea Panda for the most patriotic entry.

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Email Tammie at tgitt@cumberlink.com. Follow her on Twitter @TammieGitt.

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Carlisle Reporter

Carlisle Reporter for The Sentinel.