Marble Hill, Mo., races provide icy fun

Sunday, June 29, 2008
KIT DOYLE ~ Jack Watt, left, raced Landon Thomsen, 9, down a hill on ice blocks Saturday at Pellegrino Park in Marble Hill, Mo. It was the second annual ice block races.

MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- The air at Pellegrino Park filled with shrieks and squeals of delight Saturday afternoon. The Marble Hill park drew dozens of children and adults for the second annual ice block races.

Carolyn Sawyers of Glenallen, Mo., brought her sons, Jon, 11 and Chris, 6.

"I hate the getting cold, but I love the sliding," Jon said after completing one of many downhill runs. He was drenched, his wet clothes and bare arms covered in bits of grass.

Jack Watt dreamed up the event last year as a way to provide G-rated fun close to home for families and raise money for civic causes. He, wife Carla and other organizers Joanna Thomsen, Carl and Diane Ake and Sharon Lutes sold 11-pound blocks of ice for $2 and hot dogs, chips and soft drinks. Meals cost $1.50. The low price was intentionally aimed at being affordable for families, Thomsen said.

After having trouble keeping the grass wet enough for sliding at last year's event, organizers covered the hill this year with a thick 16-by-100-foot plastic tarp.

Courtney Holmes, 6, at times needed help from friends to slide all the way down the hill or carry her block of ice back to the top, but she enjoyed every moment. She said her favorite part was sliding off the plastic onto the grass.

"This is wonderful. It's inexpensive and good for the kids. I wish we had more things like this," Teri Vila said while watching the fun from a lawn chair, alongside her husband, John.

Toward the end of the day, teams of five competed to win a decorated glass block trophy. Kid Rocks, a group of 10-to-12-year-olds from Marble Hill won the first-place trophy; a Scopus, Mo., team, Cammo 5, won second place; and Bolco, an adult team from the Bollinger County Courthouse, finished third. Wasted Wages, from Bollinger County Abstract, and Rune Scape Team, made up of Bollinger County librarians, earned honorable mentions.

"It's different. And that's what it's all about. Anyone can get a trophy," Jack Watt said. "We're trying to build tourism in the town. We're trying to beautify the town with a family fun event."

The 2007 races funded a new fire station sign and a Christmas tree in Magnolia Park in downtown Marble Hill. The $300 raised Saturday will go toward the $7,000 tab for building a community stage on the high ground of Magnolia Park.

The next stage fundraiser is 1 to 6 p.m. July 19 at Magnolia Park. Bands scheduled to appear are The Gibsons, Arlington, Acoustic Crossroads, The Ezells, Saved by Grace and The Tuckers. Money will be raised through donations and corn sales.

For more information, call 573-238-3053.

335-6611, extension 127

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