MADAWASKA, Maine – Volunteers cut a big ol' circle in a frozen lake and set it in motion, claiming a world record in a category that few people know exists: The biggest ice carousel.
With a diameter of 1,776 feet — or 541 meters — the giant piece of ice estimated at 146,000 tons moved slowly like a Lazy Susan to hoots, hollers and high fives on Saturday.
Northern Maine Ice Busters had to cut through ice nearly 30 inches thick on a path painstakingly measured by survey crews to create a perfect circle measuring nearly six football fields across.
It's a laborious-but-fun way to provide entertainment during the long, cold winter, and it has turned into something of a rivalry in places like Finland, Minnesota and Maine. There's even a World Ice Carousel Association.
“It’s a friendly competition,” said John Mazo, media liaison for the Northern Maine Ice Busters.
On Saturday, it took a herculean effort to get the giant disk moving with 10 outboard boat engines, farm equipment driving oversized propellers, and a couple of wheeled vehicles, too, he said.
Chuck Zwilling, of Little Falls, Minnesota, was there to help. And he said he and his family and volunteers back home will create an even bigger one to keep the competition going.
But first, Zwilling said, he has to identify a lake that is large enough. Green Prairie Fish Lake, used for the previous record, is too small for 2,000-foot diameter ice disk that he envisions.
“It’s the land of 10,000 lakes in Minnesota, so we have many options,” he joked.