Slush mush: Boy scouts hold sled race in snowy Coney

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Call it the People’s Iditarod.

Scouts from all over the borough trooped to Coney Island for the Klondike Derby — the Winter Games of Boy Scout competitions — on Jan. 24.

Aspiring frontiersmen competed in cold-weather challenges to see which packs were the most proficient harpoon-throwers, fishing-pole-fashioners, and weather-proof knot-tiers. The games culminated in a (human-powered) dogsled race across Coney Island’s slush-covered sands. But the games are about more than archaic weapons and harnessing teen horsepower — they’re about building camaraderie, one scout master said.

“The main thing they learned is teamwork,” said Milton Davis, whose Cub Scout Troop 1400 took top honors in its division.

The scouts have been holding the games on Coney Island Beach for 30 years, according to the organization, but it was Davis’s group’s first foray in the contest, so he brought the pack from Brownsville to the borough’s storied shore on Jan. 23 for a practice run in the sled they built, he said.

And the effort paid off — the troop came in first place in the race, and took second in the survival skill challenges, he said.

The snow-covered beach made for mushy mushing, but the tough conditions just made the win even sweeter, Davis said.

“They had to work in cold and snow, so it was good to see them still be able to come out on top,” he said.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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