“We had over 200 sleds — about 100 more than normal,” said event organizer Melissa Heyer, an associate broker with sponsor Coldwell Banker Woodland Schmidt.
Heyer said it appeared to be a record crowd as well.
The line of sleds waiting to be inspected curved back to the Imagination Station, but Heyer said all of the volunteers worked hard and everyone in line was able to get to the hill on time.
Heyer attributed some of the extra entries to a sled building workshop held the previous night at Mary A. White Elementary School.
There were about 40 participants, but Heyer said she was not sure if every one of those showed up for the race
Photo Gallery: Cardboard Sled Race
Warmer than normal temperatures helped the spectators and extra attention was created with the attendance of Japanese reality television host Daisuke Miyagawa, who also raced in one of the fastest sleds on the hill, Heyer said.
Miyagawa hosts Itte Q, a show that explores festivals around the world.
Sleds attracting attention Saturday included a pink Barbie Jeep, which won the Vogue Award (most elaborate decoration); the Austin Powers sled, which captured Top of the Hill (most fun); and the Starburst/Skittles sled, which earned the Spirit Award.
Another crowd favorite was a pair of ruby slippers – “There’s no place like home,” – which took second place for Top of the Hill.
Duane Schroeder (Scarecrow) said his wife Shelly (Dorothy) talked him into helping with her sled.
Schroeder is a regular on the hill and this made his 19th year participating in the event, he said. His previous sleds included a lighthouse, a John “Beere” tractor, a green dragon and a pink Cadillac.
Youngsters Holden Ross, 11 and Jack Warner, 12, waited eagerly for the start of the race.
Ross has participated with his father a couple of times, but this was Warner’s first try.
The boys planned to ride in a tank trimmed in neon green duct tape.
“We wanted to make something extra. The turrets move,” they said.
Portland, Oregon resident Tracy Hinson flew back to Grand Haven for her second year in the race.
Dressed as penguins, Hinson, Sasha Wheeler and Hailey Garza later flew down the hill in their penguin sled built by veteran Brooks Wheeler.
“I have four sleds this year,” Brooks said. “They are ‘Star,’ ‘The Mighty Quinn,’ ‘Black Swan,’ and a Snurfer replica.