Willow Park Zoo fundraiser makes a splash (with photo gallery)

It’s not every day that a hammerhead shark takes a swim at the Logan Aquatic Center, or a penguin or lobster for that matter. Locals showed their wild side Tuesday with homemade canoes painted like these animals and others for the Surf’n Safari, a fundraiser to benefit the Willow Park Zoo. The event brought close to 700 swimmers to the aquatic center and raised around $13,000 for the zoo, “our little gem” as Fox 13’s Big Budah called it.”This is your community. You’re saving your community,” Big Budah told the crowd.As part of the Surf’n Safari, Big Budah emceed the 1st Annual Crazy Critter Canoe Race, where eight canoes made from recycled materials and painted to look like wild animals competed against one another. Contestants used anything from cardboard and duct tape to empty milk jugs to make the canoes, and the animals represented were as diverse as the materials used in the canoes’ construction. Father-and-son team Mike and Nick Salimbene’s “Mighty Peacock,” was the brightest canoe of the bunch, with bright blue paint, a tail made of paper plates and a balloon for the peacock’s head. It was Budgy the Whale, however, and his rider Matt Jensen who crossed the finish line the fastest, taking 1:40 to paddle to the other side of the pool. Budgy was followed closely by Bruce the hammerhead shark, piloted by Roger Tyler and representing the National Children’s Study. Bruce took second place with 1:54 and the RMS Bessie, a cow canoe created by USU students Scott Harris and Garrett Howell, took third with a time of 2:56. The top three contestants were the only three canoes to cross the full length of the pool without dumping the rider, eliminating them from the contest.The rest of the evening was spent eating Chick-fil-A and Texas Roadhouse meals, entering a raffle, splashing in the pools and braving the slides. – rachel@cvdaily.com

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!