The third annual Crazy Cardboard Boat Regatta, which will take place from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Saturday in West Chester, will raise money for the addition of a handicapped accessible area to the Voice of America Park playground.
The Regatta’s grand marshal Scott Strickler inspired the fundraiser, dubbed “Paddle with a Purpose” by MetroParks of Butler County. Strickler, who uses a wheelchair and requires assistance with the most basic of needs, won the People’s Choice Award at last year’s Regatta with his boat, the “SS Scooter.”
The award-winning boat was designed by Strickler, who coached a team of nurses, family members and friends with its construction at his home in Liberty Township.
The activity helped a family, who has seen tragedy strike multiple times.
Tragedy struck Scott and his family in 2003 when he was a passenger in a car accident that left him with severe brain damage. He was 18 at the time and his memory was severely impaired.
On the night of the accident, his stepfather Steve and mother Ellen Strickler-Bacon received a phone call in the middle of the night. The voice on the other end was from University Hospital and it wanted to know if the parents knew where Scott was.
The line then disconnected.
Ellen wondered why the hospital called asking about their son. Steve, on the other hand, had an idea because he had been through this before.
“The first thing that entered my head was air care, because this has already happened to me once,” Steve said.
The phone rings again, Steve answers, hangs up and drives down to University Hospital to see his stepson, who he helped raise. Scott was in critical condition.
“I can’t begin to tell you what it felt like,” Steve said.
Seven years prior to the accident that left Scott permanently injured, Steve and Christy Bacon’s daughter, Stacey, was involved in a car accident when she was 18 that also left her severe brain damage. Currently, she doesn’t have any communication skills, takes 19 different medications daily and suffers uncontrollable seizure disorders.
Scott, now 26, and Stacey, now 33, are permanently dependent for all of their daily needs.
“To what avail could there be good out of this. They were both great kids,” Steve said in an interview last July. “Maybe they could help others with the knowledge we have learned or maybe they could bring more attention to the parks and help with their funding because it brings families together.”
This Saturday, the family will do just that at the Regatta.
2012 Crazy Cardboard Regatta schedule
10 a.m. to noon
- Food vendors open
- Vote for your favorite boat
- Children’s area opens
- Fly fishing demonstrations
- West Chester Color Guard starts the event
- Eliot Sloan sings the National Anthem
- Honorary grand marshal Scott Strickler and Sheriff Jones start the races
2:30 p.m. (approximately)
- Crash Derby-last boat floating wins
3 p.m. (approximately)
- Awards presentation
3:15 p.m. (approximately)
- Paddle boat races with local celebrities
3:30 p.m. (approximately)
- Rover’s Regatta-amateur dock diving for dogs (bring your own dog on a 6′ leash)
5 to 9 p.m.
- Jack Trigger Band performs on the gazebo overlooking the lake
Rain could delay schedule.
For more information about the event, visit www.yourmetroparks.net. The event is being held at Voice of America Park, 7850 VOA Park Drive.