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Trophy is at stake in cardboard boat race

Riverhead Town supervisor Sean Walter

Riverhead Town supervisor Sean Walter Credit: Sally Morrow

Riverhead's town board is getting ready for the third annual Great Peconic Cardboard Boat Race this month.

It bought a trophy.

Not just any trophy, but a Supervisor's Cup, one that will go to the winner of the first race -- the King of the River event between the defending champion, Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter, and challenger and former champion Anna Throne-Holst, the Southampton Town supervisor.

The Peconic River, site of the June 24 event, is the dividing line between the two towns.

Riverhead officials estimate that more than 3,000 people turned out for the contests last year -- every category was restricted to boats built out of unwaxed cardboard and duct tape -- and the event was marked by controversy when Riverhead, which sponsors the event, ruled that the Southampton supervisor's twin blade kayak paddle was illegal.

The names of the winners of the first two supervisor races are being engraved on the Supervisor's Cup, which has not yet arrived in town. "It comes with a history," said Riverhead Councilman George Gabrielsen. "We'll pass it back and forth every year."

Walter, at a town board meeting last week, joked with Gabrielsen that the boat the councilman constructed for him last year -- one of 76 boats entered in the various events -- had some serious technical problems. "That brick you built for me last year may not last," Walter said.

The boat race, which is supported by the Riverhead Business Improvement District, takes place on the Peconic River behind the stores on East Main Street. The first race is at noon, but a Hula-Hoop contest is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

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