Race offers old-fashioned fun

WELLSBURG – Phil McMann admitted he was relieved Saturday that the PVC pipe, pool noodles and Dow board he Duct-taped together and called a raft held together long enough for his wife, Amy, and Lora DeWolf to paddle from the 12th Street boat ramp to the wharf.

McMann, a contractor by profession, said he also used a bit of marine glue to keep the craft, dubbed “The McFloaters,” together, and he and Emily Bell DeWolf swam behind the raft, helping keep it on course and providing a little extra burst of power.

“I knew it would float but my wife didn’t think it would, so this is a win no matter what,” he said.

His wife, Amy, said she had her doubts. “I put it all over Facebook, ‘I’m going down!'” she said.

“The McFloaters” raft was one of six entries in Wellsburg’s Fourth of July “Anything that Floats” race, which was won by a 10-man paddleboat on wheels crafted by Merco Marine.

Gerald McLain and Cody Rice of the Franklin Community Volunteer Fire Department floated down river in two plastic 55-gallon barrels strapped together with duct tape and a few other odds and ends.

“It seemed like a good idea,” said Rice, 19. “It didn’t work out too bad.”

The pair cut a hole in the top of the drums and climbed inside. “We put one side up higher than the other to balance” the stockier McLain, said Rice, who concedes that next year they’ll put a little more thought into their raft.

“We were just throwing ideas around, and we had a couple barrels laying there at the station and we said ‘let’s do it,'” he said. “We’re already thinking about doing something bigger and better next year. We put this together in a week. We’ll do something better next year, we’ll start thinking about it sooner.”