New Brunswick

New Brunswick's Crazy Canucks bring home best sled award from U.S. toboganning meet

Four Fredericton men came back to Canada today winners after competing in the U.S. National Toboggan Championships.

The Fredericton-based team also awarded a bronze on the 4-man downhill run

Four men stand in front of a garage holding trophies. Toboggans stand behind them against the garage.
Some of the members of the Fredericton Toboggan Club celebrate the trophies the team brought home from U.S. National Toboggan Championships in Maine over the weekend. From left, Barry Morrison, Derick Weeks, Adam Valentate and Ken Morrison. (Mike Heenan/CBC)

Four members of the Fredericton Toboggan Club returned home as winners after competing in the U.S. National Toboggan Championship in Camden, Maine.

The Crazy Canucks team brought home the bronze in the four-person category at an international competition with more than 1,000 participants from as far away as Ireland. 

"It blows my mind," said Derick Weeks. "I think everybody on the team feels the same way." 

Weeks, along with teammates Justin Agnew, Mat Fitzgerald, and Adam Valentate came in at 10.55 seconds in the 32nd annual competition on Sunday. According to the event's website, the toboggan chute is "400 feet long and rises 70 feet in elevation, allowing many toboggans to reach speeds up to 40 miles per hour."

Adam Valentate won 'Best Crafted Toboggan' for the sled he built in garage over the past year. He credits his unique mesh woven pad for setting his design apart.
Adam Valentate won Best Crafted Toboggan for the sled he built in garage over the past year. (Mike Heenan/CBC)

The win came as a shock as they'd only competed once before. Previously they built a much different toboggan, opting to aim for lightweight and streamlined. This year they changed strategies. At the weigh-in their toboggan came in at 49.8 pounds, just shy of the 50-pound limit. 

"There's guys that have been trying for one of these little wooden trophies for 15 years," said Adam Valentate, who built the toboggan in his garage over the last year. "It's amazing how much people covet these little things. And we really did something special to come in our second year and already come home with some hardware." 

Best sled

Valentate also took home the award for Best Crafted Toboggan at the competition for the sled he crafted from walnut, using maple for its runner. He says what set their sled apart is the unique woven mesh he spent hours on to make the mandatory seat cushion. He credits that mesh design for the win, saying there were a lot of teams eyeing the design for future builds. 

"There's hundreds of toboggans that get built for this thing, and to be recognized as the best one was quite a feeling," said Valentate.

"And not only was it the prettiest toboggan there, it was the third fastest in the four-man competition, so we not only had a good-looking sled, but we had a real fast sled." 

WATCH | Homegrown toboggan deemed best build at U.S National Championship:

N.B. Toboggan Club returns as victors from American competition

4 months ago
Duration 1:34
The Fredericton Toboggan Club returned to Canada a winner after competing in the U.S. National Toboggan Championship.

The team says they first entered last year for fun, not realizing the depth of competition that existed. While there is a shared sense of camaraderie, they say there are some teams who are very secretive about their sleds and strategies. Some don't want photos snapped of their sleds, and others are very specific about what time of day they go down the hill.

The Fredericton Toboggan Club brought home the awards for 'Best Crafted Toboggan' and third place in the '4-Person Division' race with a time of 10.55 seconds.
The Fredericton Toboggan Club is aiming for the top spot next year. (Mike Heenan/CBC)

After one team didn't take the top spot, they made a slick video about "sacrificing" their toboggan to a wood-chipper vowing to return to the drawing board and take the championship the following year. But others are all too happy to share their stories about what they call their functional art that goes flying down icy hills. 

The team says it's all in good fun, pointing to the Oldest Team award. This year's winner was the Frogs on a Log team with an average age of 83. 

The Fredericton team is vowing to try to take the top spot next year and recruiting a women's team to join them at the competition.

"It's just a fun, fantastic event with a whole bunch of nice, welcoming people that want to talk about what they've built," said Valentate. 


Shane Fowler


Shane Fowler has been a CBC journalist based in Fredericton since 2013.