Cotton J team wins Robo-Regatta

Published 11:15 am Saturday, May 19, 2012

Cotton J. pilots E.B. Knight and his grandson Kendall Story took first place in the Franklin Cardboard Robo-Regatta at Barrett’s Landing in Franklin on May 11. -- Ryan Outlaw | Tidewater News

FRANKLIN—The finals of the Franklin Robotics Cardboard Robo-Regatta came down to a race between a boat inspired by an all-American dessert and one named for a former Franklin paper mill employee.

The Cotton J piloted by E.B. Knight and his grandson Kendall Story came in first followed by the Banana Split with pilots Sarah Conner, Nathan Jones and Zackary Hopkins placing second.

The second annual event held at Barrett’s Landing was a fundraiser for the Franklin High School FIRST Robotics team.

The Cotton J was named after Cotton Johnson, a former manager with the timber division at the Franklin mill, Knight said. The boat was inspired by a real tugboat used by Union Camp.

“I saw a picture of it at the visitors center,” he said. “I knew I wanted to do a tugboat this year.”

Knight took home first place during last year’s regatta as a designer of the boat, S.S. 2 Q-Tips.

Sarah Conner came up with the idea for the Banana Split boat, designed with a cardboard banana on each side. The crew sat in the middle of the boat dressed as strawberry, chocolate and vanilla ice cream. The boat was also given the award for most patriotic because judges thought “what’s more American than a banana split.”

The third place boat Cornelius belonged to Elizabeth Conner and Cindy Mitrovic and was inspired and named after a pet turtle.

The award for the most enthusiastic crew went to Walls of Jericho, belonging to Franklin First Baptist Church.

Pastor Brent Kimlick said the name of their boat was appropriate because it was bound to come tumbling down during the race.

Other participants included Franklin High School students Jalicia Owens and JaQuan Heath in LLKoNic as well as freshmen Madison Busby and Brianna Karmilovic in the Pirate Ninja boat.

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