SEAS Castaway Challenge gave spectators a great show on the 4th of July.  There was a small resurgence of participation this year with eager participants to battle it out on the Sheboygan River.

American Excelsior Foam Warriors take the lead from the Panda Express.

American Excelsior Foam Warriors take the lead from the Panda Express.

The Open Division had six teams with one team as a great last minute entry. A gentleman came down with a cardboard canoe he built and raced in 1994 taking first place, to see if someone would like to use it, still being in perfect racing condition complete with a shark painted on it. As luck would have it, Cheyenne Stirdivant and McKayla Pirrung approached the registration table to buy a Drifter Kit to build on site just moments after the last kit was sold. These young ladies were asked if they would like to use the boat that was brought down and eagerly agreed as they wanted to participate. They raced the first heat of the day, naming the boat BFFs, and took first place just edging out their competition.

Other teams racing this year were American Excelsior, Jessica Ambelang and Family, Burrows Aviation, and two teams from the Sea Scouts Ship 50. With teams using recycled materials to build their boats, they were creative with designs to fill this year’s them of Sail the 7 SEAS with decorating for your favorite vacation spot. Several boats were used in the past years with either new paint or a few modifications. Others were made with recycled cardboard or extruded foam. The competition was fierce but the Sea Scouts Ship 50 “Wilson” team of Hannah Post and Emily Fisher took the championship.

This year the US Coast Guard came out with three teams to race kayaks against anyone that signed up. With the last second decision, the teams agreed to use the Sea Scouts’ cardboard canoes to keep in the spirit with the rest of the races. USCG teams of two raced against each other to determine who would challenge the young Sea Scout team. It was Jason Dwyer and Dashawn Johnson from the USCG against Patrick Fisher and Cenzo Ranieri from the Sea Scouts battling it out for the title. It was a close race with the Sea Scouts taking the win by blocking the USCG at the finish.


The Drifters certainly did not disappoint this year. With 1.5 hours to build a boat from a kit including cardboard, swimming noodles, duct tape, small piece of foam, yard stick, utility knife, pencils and the bag it comes in, 14 teams were ready to race. As we’ve seen each year, design is crucial to ensure your boat will float as several teams sank at the start line. Others took on water but still made it to the finish.  With boats still sea worthy, the championship included the winners of each of the previous five heats. Whatever Floats Your Boat, Andrew Suscha and Katie Reinemann, took the Drifter Division. Teams still able to race rounded out the day with a consolation race.

The Castaway Challenge wouldn’t be complete without our special awards which go to:

·         Most creatively recycled went to Jessica Ambelang’s Panda Expressed for modifying a boat from previous year.

·         Team Spirit went to American Excelsior’s Foam Warriors for their costumes and enthusiasm.

·         Best sinking in the Drifter Division went to Anchor, Matt and John Begotka for their animated rollover sinking.


Thank you to our sponsors that helped make this event possible: Allstate Insurance-Jerry Bodart, Sly’s Midtown Saloon & Grill, Zufelt Law Offices, LLC and Bethany Reformed Church for having the brat fry on the hill.

A special Thank You to the North High Drumline for entertaining us between races. These students have a ton of energy and are so much fun to watch.