SKOWHEGAN — Sadie Ellis came screaming down the slope in her unicorn box sled, the crowd cheering her on as the sled turned around and around in circles and landed at the base of the hill, ejecting her onto the snow.

A Boy Scout ran down the hill after her, handing her the unicorn’s tail, which had flown off during the race.

Sadie, 8, of Skowhegan, was taking part Saturday in the 26th Annual Box Sled Derby at Lake George Regional Park, held as part of the park’s annual winter carnival.

“I had snow in my face,” she exclaimed as she righted herself. “I thought I was going to flip over for a second, because I went backward.”

Sadie, who tied for second place in the Best Crash category, was one of many children from the Skowhegan area to take part in the derby, sponsored by Boy Scout Troop 403, of Canaan and Cornville. Twenty-six sleds competed, and winners got trophies in categories including most creative sled, best-looking sled, best crash and longest sliding sled.

It was Ellis’ fourth year of entering the derby. She had crafted her unicorn box sled carefully, using a miniature air hockey table box as its base and a larger box her cousin Natalie sent her as the housing. On top of that box, Sadie attached a white plastic trash bag stuffed with cotton for the unicorn’s head and attached a gold horn she had created from a paper towel roll. Because she likes kittens, she affixed pictures of kittens on the pink-and-green sled and stuck on a little cupcake picture.


Why a unicorn sled?

“I’m starting to like unicorns,” Sadie said, her pink cheeks framing a freckled nose, blond hair and hazel eyes. “I go to other stuff — owls, bunnies. I love the derby — especially last year, because last year I got a trophy for best crash because I crashed into the judges.”

A third-grader at Bloomfield Elementary School, Sadie is no stranger to the park. Her father, Derek Ellis, is the park ranger. He and Sadie’s mother, Amy Ellis, and grandmother Connie Higgs were there to support her.

“It’s good, old-fashioned fun without any technology,” Amy Ellis said of the derby. “You just kind of have to make stuff on your own.”

The temperature dipped into the single digits Saturday, though a bright sun and a park office with a crackling wood stove served as warmth for carnivalgoers. About 150 people of all ages turned out for the event, held on the west side of the park.

In the office, Troop 403 Scoutmaster Larry Goldsmith and others served up hot dogs, cookies and other treats. Outside in the cold, Heather Kerner, a member of the park’s board of directors, made homemade doughnuts in a big pot of hot oil.


People were ice fishing on the lake, and Derek Ellis said that after the derby, a bobsled race would be held with people using plastic jet sleds.

“The winner gets a trophy — the Lake George Cup — and you keep it for the year,” he said. “You have to come back and defend it.”

David Daigneault, assistant scoutmaster for Troop 403 and derby coordinator, said most of the derby participants were students at from schools. Daigneault also is a Skowhegan police officer.

“Welcome, everybody,” he said through a loudspeaker just before the race began. “We’re going to have some fast racing today, I hope, and great crashes.”

Box sleds lined up to race down the 125-foot incline included a red Snoopy doghouse, a blue-and-green boat, a brown shark with red eyes and a Fred Flintstone buggy with a black top and silver wheels covered in duct tape.

The winners in the Most Creative category were: first place, Beckett Hjort, for Bonnie Bunny 5 nights @ Freddie’s sled; second place, Michelle Williams for her Dodge sled; third place, Daniel Davis and Dawson Davis for their Flintstones sled; and fourth place, Levi Bailey for his Dirt Bike Sled.


Best Looking category: first place, Brianna Davis and Kyla Davis for a Snoopy sled; second place, Andrew Robinson for The Big Truck sled; third place, John Johnson, Lucas Mayo, Ben Poulin and Zack Poulin for a Flash sled; and fourth place, Luke Bellner for a Shark sled.

In Best Crash: first place, Ashton Robertson for a Larry the Enticer sled and Caleb White for a Grave Digger sled; second place, Madeline Buzzell for an Emoji sled, and Sade Ellis for The Unicorn sled; third place, Torryn Buzzell for a Pink Fluff Unicorn sled and Keagan Quimby for a Blaze sled; and fourth place, Karissa Graf for The Patriot sled and Jaiden Hebert for a MewTwo sled.

In the Longest Slide category: first place, Lydia Johnson for Lydia’s sled and Cowen Robertson for The Racer sled.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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