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Contestants compete in the first cardboard boat race to be held at Aviano Air Base, Italy, on Sept. 19, 2019.
Contestants compete in the first cardboard boat race to be held at Aviano Air Base, Italy, on Sept. 19, 2019. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)
Contestants compete in the first cardboard boat race to be held at Aviano Air Base, Italy, on Sept. 19, 2019.
Contestants compete in the first cardboard boat race to be held at Aviano Air Base, Italy, on Sept. 19, 2019. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)
Savannah Inman and Brandon Garneau with the 31st Fighter Wing's outdoor recreation department at Aviano Air Base, Italy, on their way to winning the first cardboard boat race to be held at the base on Sept. 19, 2019.
Savannah Inman and Brandon Garneau with the 31st Fighter Wing's outdoor recreation department at Aviano Air Base, Italy, on their way to winning the first cardboard boat race to be held at the base on Sept. 19, 2019. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)
Five-year-old Zachary Odom, center, his brother Asher, 8, left, and a friend compete in the first cardboard boat race to be held at Aviano Air Base in Italy on Sept. 19, 2019. The boys received a trophy for having the most creative boat.
Five-year-old Zachary Odom, center, his brother Asher, 8, left, and a friend compete in the first cardboard boat race to be held at Aviano Air Base in Italy on Sept. 19, 2019. The boys received a trophy for having the most creative boat. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)
Zachary Odom, 5, takes a seat inside a cardboard boat at the cardboard boat race, held at Aviano Air Base in Italy, Sept. 19, 2019.
Zachary Odom, 5, takes a seat inside a cardboard boat at the cardboard boat race, held at Aviano Air Base in Italy, Sept. 19, 2019. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)
Competitiors receive final instructions before the start of the cardboard boat race at Aviano Air Base on Sept. 19, 2019. Four teams participated in the event, the first of its kind at Aviano.
Competitiors receive final instructions before the start of the cardboard boat race at Aviano Air Base on Sept. 19, 2019. Four teams participated in the event, the first of its kind at Aviano. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)
Drake and Teal Nash maneuver their vessel during the first-ever cardboard boat race to be held at Aviano Air Base on Sept. 19, 2019. Drake, 9, and Teal, 11, finished the race in second place.
Drake and Teal Nash maneuver their vessel during the first-ever cardboard boat race to be held at Aviano Air Base on Sept. 19, 2019. Drake, 9, and Teal, 11, finished the race in second place. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — The red-white-and-blue couldn’t defeat the olive-drab-and-silver at Aviano Air Base’s inaugural cardboard boat race in Italy this week.

But the captains of the star-spangled boat, brothers Asher, 8, and Zachary Odom, 5 — whose collective age barely made them teenagers — won a trophy at Thursday’s race for the most creative entry, while an adult team from the Outdoor Recreation Department paddled the fastest for a length of the base pool to win the race.

“It took us about eight hours to build our boat,” said Savannah Inman, a member of the winning team. “We used cardboard and wrapped it all with about 12 rolls of duct tape.”

All four teams made their own boats and went home with a trophy. The boat crews were vastly outnumbered by those who stood at the side of the base pool and cheered them on during the race, which was co-organized by Outdoor Recreation and the Community Center, part of the 31st Fighter Wing’s Force Support Squadron.

Aviano holds community-building events regularly, but this time, “I wanted to do something new, something different,” said Cathy Garcia, an event programmer with the Community Center.

Garcia said she got the idea for the event from her brother, who was deployed to Qatar, where his unit held similar events.

“I think everyone had fun today,” Garcia said. “They all worked well together, and it showed in their creations. ... We certainly look forward to hosting this event again.”

llamas.norman@stripes.com Twitter: @normanllamas

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