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April 25, 2012 Volume 33, No. 29

Radio station wins cardboard trophy in first-annual Float Your Boat race

Float Your Boat

VESSEL LAUNCH MU students Josh Garton (left) and Levi Knipmeyer (near water) help carry the USS Enterprise submarine into A. Perry Philips Lake Park in Columbia. The USS Enterprise was one of 20 cardboard boats in the event. Randy Mertens photo


Twenty boats took part in the fun

One was shaped like a picnic basket. Another looked like a gray Stealth bomber. Another resembled a submarine.

Then there was the one with a giant dog head, complete with wagging tail and flapping tongue. 

They were all made of cardboard and duct tape and raced in the inaugural Float Your Boat for The Food Bank boat race April 21 in the A. Perry Philips Lake Park in Columbia.

The event, which attracted 20 boats built by mid-Missouri businesses, student groups and radio stations, was a joint fundraiser by the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) and The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. The event raised $2,460 and some 1,800 pounds of healthy food for needy mid-Missourians.

The winning boat was the Patty Mae, sponsored by KOPN Community Radio in Columbia and captained by David Owens. He and his crew rowed from a boat ramp, past a buoy and to the dock that served as the finish line in 40.72 seconds. 

Second place was the submarine, the USS Enterprise, built by a group called The BBDs and captained by Levi Knipmeyer. Third place was a yellow craft constructed by Boone County staff and commanded by Dan Atwill, Boone County presiding commissioner.

The Titanic Best Sinking Award, which goes to the first sinking craft, was presented to a boat called the Ruddy Duck. The Most Creative Use of Cardboard Award was given to the Stealth bomber crew, who stood up in their boat and saluted before finishing the race. The Best Decorated Boat Award went to the Picnic Basket, which sunk also, built by staff of Lenoir Woods retirement community in Columbia.

The project is part of a yearlong commitment by CAFNR to boost food donations to The Food Bank. The project, Collaborating for a Healthy Future, utilizes the college’s expertise, partnerships and knowledge in areas of agriculture, economics and nutrition. Tom Payne, vice chancellor for agriculture and CAFNR dean, envisioned the race and project. He and Marc Linit, CAFNR associate dean for research, navigated the Collaborating for the Greater Good vessel in the race.

For the project, CAFNR has planted two acres of sweet corn at its Bradford Research Center to provide 14,000–28,000 ears for The Food Bank. CAFNR students volunteered in The Food Bank’s Buddy Pack Program, from which more than 8,600 children each week receive food to supplement their weekend meals.

CAFNR is also conducting research to find practical ways that Missouri food banks can improve the diets of people who use the banks. 

“Recent statistics show that one in six people in mid-Missouri are food insecure, which means that they do not always know where they will get their next meal,” said Peggy Kirkpatrick, executive director of The Food Bank. “The same statistic is worse for children. One in four children in our community experience food insecurity.”

The Food Bank helps to feed nearly 100,000 people each month in 32 counties in central and northeast Missouri. It distributes free food to 138 elementary schools through the Buddy Pack Program, a weekend food service for children, and to 135 hunger-relief agencies, such as food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters.

— Randy Mertens