Sander racers streak across Whidbey
By NATHAN WHALEN
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
July 29, 2011 · Updated 1:42 PM
It seems people will race anything.
While the sailboat Race Week in Oak Harbor was wrapping up, around 100 people showed up at an Oak Harbor building supply company to see who sports the fastest belt sander on Whidbey Island.
The annual races held at Frontier Building Supply north of Oak Harbor July 22 attracts families and construction workers taking a break from the rigamarole of modern life.
Sixteen people brought their best sander to see who has the fastest.
“It came out great. Everybody had a good time,” Frontier Building Supply manager John Vanderwal said.
The racers watched their electric belt sanders zoom down a nearly 60-foot runway to determine whose equipment was the fastest.
After an hour and a half of competing, Oak Harbor resident Ken Green emerged victorious with his sander that reached speeds close to 15 miles per hour. An Oak Harbor police officer, who was handling a radar gun, was on hand to provide an accurate way to measure the sanders’ speed.
Several of the racers decorated their sanders in preparation of the race. One attached a rubber chicken while another was topped with a duck. Another competitor surrounded his with a plastic race car body and one had a wood frame designed to help guide it down the runway.
Vanderwal stressed that only stock sanders were eligible to race.
Frontier Building Supply has organized the belt sander races for at least 10 years. It provides a light-hearted way for customers, contractors and suppliers to meet. Several vendors were on hand and many construction workers brought their families to the event that included a barbecue lunch.
Last Friday’s belt sander races were part of a series of celebrations the longtime building supply chain holds at its locations. The first one took place a week earlier in Sedro-Woolley while the third one took place yesterday in Freeland. Races finish up next week in Anacortes.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Nathan Whalen at email@example.com or 360-675-6611 ext. 5058.