Cardboard Regatta hopes to bring a boatload for charity

Cardboard Regatta organizer Greg Hanson stands on the 4th St. boat ramp at Sand Creek. Mike Mendez/Newton Now

By Mike Mendez

Newton Now


Greg Hanson is a person who wants to have and spread as much fun as he can. On Saturday, Aug. 19, people will have a chance to catch some of that fun while helping out Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harvey County at the Cardboard Regatta on Sand Creek.

The concept is simple: contestants will have an hour and a half to build a boat that will float the team, using two pool noodles and cardboard.

“I think Sand Creek is under-utilized, and we need to use it more in town for events,” Hanson said. “I thought it would be really cool to do this on Sand Creek, and while we are doing it, I wanted to partner with Newton Now and B&B Lumber, because we can easily afford the supplies and find a good benefactor for the funds.”

While the concept is simple enough, the possibilities from there are endless. Prizes will be given away for not only the boat that finishes in the fastest time but for the best design, best team concept and the most spectacular sinking.

“With four different awards, it is going to be a good time,” Hanson said. “If you are going to be a disaster, you want to be the most spectacular sinking disaster ever.”

The event will work beside the Duck Derby that Big Brothers Big Sisters is putting on at Sand Creek. People can adopt a rubber duck to be placed in the creek. Prizes will be awarded to the people whose ducks cross the finish line first.

The joining of forces by the two events was a twist of fate. Both groups found out they were planning events on the creek. They also discovered they were planning on the same day. It made perfect sense to bring the two together for an even bigger spectacle to help Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“It was quite ironic,” Paula Smith from Big Brothers Big Sisters said. “Each of us were working on our own little event. I heard that Greg was going to do this regatta so I gave him a call. It turned out that we were both planning the same day. We though how fun would that be to work together on this and have it really be a fun, family, community event on the water.”

The two groups have worked together not only on making a big event, but they have helped each other in cross promotion as well.

With people in the water, there will also be a fire and EMS presence to keep everyone safe. Paula is anticipating a good first year of fun that will only grow in the years to come.

“As we are building, they are launching the ducks and doing their part,” Hanson said. “And when that is done, we will be having a parade and launching the boats. So it is just one smooth, interactive event.”

Bringing fun events to Newton is something Hanson loves doing. After diabetes led to a kidney and a pancreas transplant two years ago, Hanson started to see life through a completely different lens. He wanted to enjoy it as much as he could and share that enjoyment with friends and friends he hasn’t met yet.

“I like seeing people smile, seeing people laugh and have a good time because of what I have been through medical history-wise with double transplants,” Hanson said. “You have got to love life; you have got to smile and have fun with friends.”

Hanson saw a cardboard regatta event at the Riverfest in Wichita and thought it would be a good way to use an under-utilized Sand Creek. It was fun for participants and spectators alike.

One of the things that was appealing about having a cardboard regatta in Newton was the way the event created an even playing field. The team full of Wichita State engineering students went straight to the bottom of the river. It humbles people who might be overconfident while eliminating excuses for people who might not think they have the skill set to be successful.

It also makes a spectacle fun for spectators, making it something everyone can enjoy. Hanson wants it to be yet another event in Newton that has strengthened the community and boosted town pride.

“I think there is some good stuff coming to town and some younger people getting involved that just like that community aspect of everything,” Hanson said. “I just like the creek going through town. That is a beautiful place we have in town that needs to be utilized more.”

The cost to enter the Cardboard Regatta is $50 per team. Teams can have an unlimited amount of participants. The team registration will be at 11 a.m. at the boat ramp, and the launch will be at 2 p.m. Teams interested can pick up a team packet at B&B Lumber or Newton Now.