Ryan Male, 4, poses in his whale-themed sled during the Otisfield Winter Carnival box race Saturday. Sun Journal photo by Jon Bolduc

At the Otisfield Winter Carnival cardboard sled race, the bale of hay, right, was surprisingly hard to beat. Sun Journal photo by Jon Bolduc

Ryan Male banks to the right during his high-octane race. Despite a strong showing, the snowmobile slipped by in the final seconds of the race during the Otisfield Winter Carnival on Saturday. Photo by Jon Bolduc, Sun Journal.

OTISFIELD — What makes for a fast cardboard sled? According to the parents of Ryan Male, 4, of Otisfield, duct tape, the shiny side of a cereal box and more duct tape.

About a dozen competitive racers gathered on top of a hill at the side of the Otisfield Town Hall on Saturday afternoon, each hoping to have the sled with the most distance.

A tank, a New England Patriots-themed sled, a bale of hay, a mermaid, a Barbie car, a groovy Hawaiian flower-mobile, a Popsicle, a mermaid, a snowmobile, and an antique roadster were all in the running.

Male, who took the reins over from his brother who retired from cardboard racing last year, was eager to show off his blue whale sled before he raced it down the slope.

The blue whale-shark hybrid sled, complete with dorsal fins and a triangular tail, was detailed with a white grin. Male pointed to an important, but often overlooked, detail.

“Look at his green eyes,” the boy said.

Despite being narrowly beaten by a roaring cardboard snowmobile, Male managed to put on a good race. Later, during the award ceremony, he took home the prize for the most original sled design.

In a rousing series of races, the Popsicle beat the tank, the mermaid beat the Barbie car, the bale of hay beat the Patriots, the snowmobile beat the shark, and, finally, the mermaid beat the Popsicle. The prize for the longest distance was won by the mermaid-mobile, operated by Riley Foster of Otisfield.

All of the other racers took home prizes, such as gift certificates and movie passes.

The race was part of the Otisfield Winter Carnival, a yearly festival put on by the Otisfield Volunteer Fire Department. The day began with Hawaiian-themed games and ended with an Italian dinner at the Otisfield Community Hall.