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Cardboard derby

Two kids on their colorful cardboard derby

You just need cardboard, duct tape, and imagination.

The McDonald’s Cardboard Derby at Purgatory Resort is a classic winter competition you won’t want to miss! Build your derby racer out of cardboard and duct tape only, and pilot it down the slopes during one of the most fun days on the mountain!

Watch as teams compete in vessels made entirely out of cardboard and duct tape. Or, sign up yourself and participate in the fun. All it takes is some creativity, engineering skills, and courage.

Need inspiration? Check out this How To video from the 2016 Derby.

Need Supplies? McDonald’s (201 W. College Drive) has heaps of cardboard to give away FREE so you can build your best derby vessel.  Just swing by and ask for the general manager.

Competition Categories:

  • Solo Pilot — 16 and under
  • Solo Pilot — 17 and over
  • Team — 16 and under
  • Team — 17 and over
  • Team — Adult and Kid
  • Local Business Sponsored Vessel
Event Schedule10:00 am: Check-In
10:30 am: Mandatory Participant Meeting
11:00 am: Cardboard Derby
12:30 pm:  Awards Ceremony
Cost$10
By February 28
$15
By March 1st- March 10th
$20
By the day of event
PrizesWinning teams!
We will award prizes to winning teams in each race category, as well as prizes for the funniest derby vessel name, largest derby vessel, loudest competitors, slowest vessel, most colorful derby vessel, most creative vessel, and best costumes.
  • Man in cool costume with a unique designed derby
  • Male derby racer
  • A group of kids soaring down the hill in their cardboard derby
  • Kid going fast in cardboard derby
  • Two individuals in a cardboard derby wearing costumes

Cardboard Derby Rules

  • Build your vessel before derby day.  Take as much time as you want to plan, design, and build.
  • Your derby vessel must consist of the following materials only:  cardboard, duct tape, string, twine, paint. Each vessel will be inspected by our judges at check-in to ensure that it complies with the rules.
  • Vessels will navigate the course one at a time. This is a derby, not a race.
  • Your objective is to successfully pilot your vessel down the course towards the scoring zone at the bottom. Your vessel must come to a stop on its own.  You cannot use your arms or legs as brakes.
  • All participants must wear helmets.
  • Children under 6 must co-pilot with an adult. Sorry, children under 3 may not participate.
  • Each vessel may only be used by one participant or team.

Sign Up Now!

Creative plane cardboard derby

This event is limited to just
30 registrants.

So sign up before this event
fills up!

Note: Sign up ONCE per
team.
Your teammate does NOT
have to sign up separately.

Mom and kid showing off their cool derby racer

Matthew Krichman, events manager at Purgatory Resort, answers a few questions about the upcoming event:

How will each vessel be judged?

  • Proximity to the scoring zone
  • Creativity of concept and design
  • Enthusiasm

What are some tips for building your derby racer?

  • Sled-shaped vessels tend to get the best momentum — long and narrow.
  • Duct tape on the bottom of your vessel increases momentum.
  • There are different kinds of cardboard.  The kind with the plastic coating will slide better.
  • Weight distribution matters.  The heavy part of the sled (wherever you are seated) will naturally “want” to be in front.  This means that rear-weighted vessels will tend to spin 180 degrees and send you down backward.
  • Adding “runners” to the bottom of your vessel may increase your speed by reducing surface friction with the snow.
  • Weight = speed.  All other things being equal, adding bodies to your vessel will cause it to go faster.

Who is this event geared towards?

Kids over the age of 3 and adults!

How should spectators dress? Participants?

Costumes! Other than that, it’s basically whatever you’re warm and comfortable in when exercising in the snow.

What can spectators expect to see at this event?  

This is a great spectator event because all of the action takes place right in front of you on the tubing hill.  We want lots of spectators at the base of the tubing hill cheering on the competitors in vessels made entirely out of cardboard and duct tape.

How will prizes be awarded? Can you give us a sneak peek of what prizes to expect?

Prizes will be awarded to winning teams in each division, plus prizes for the funniest derby vessel name, largest derby vessel, loudest competitors, slowest vessel, most colorful derby vessel, most creative vessel, and best costumes.

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