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Castles in the sand

FRAZEE - An Olympic stadium and swimming pool appeared on the shores of Frazee's Town Lake on Friday, along with several other structures.

And it took just an hour.

The Olympic project was one of about 10 others that competed in the Sand Castle building contest during Frazee's annual Turkey Days.

Teams of two - with one member over the age of 12 and the other younger than that - pushed and shoveled dirt to build their creations in during a frantic one-hour time limit.

With the theme of Turkey Days being "Team Turkey U.S.A., the duo that built that Olympic stadium, Hailey King and Josie Tappe, won out in the end.

"We thought the stadium would be cool, so we put it together," Hailey said.

While not a complete replica of the stadium in Beijing, it looked like a traditional stadium. Hailey and Josie said that they didn't look on the Internet to see what it really looked like.

"We just knew," Hailey said.

"We tried to build the Olympic rings on top of it," Josie added.

The swimming pool proved to be much tougher to build.

"It was hard because people kept stepping on it," Josie said.

They said they prepared for about a month before for the contest.

"I practiced once, a month ago, maybe" Hailey said.

Josie said that Hailey and her pretty much built everything. The only missing thing were finishing touches like putting water in the swimming pool.

Miss Frazee 2007, Katie Dretsch, said she wanted to see contestants use the "Team Turkey U.S.A." theme in the designs.

"I'm looking for anything that has to do with the theme of Turkey Days," Dretsch said. The theme was designed to coincide with the Summer Olympics that start next week in Beijing.

Dretsch didn't have any preconceived notions of what she was looking for going into the contest.

"I don't have anything particular that I'm looking for," Dretsch said. "It's just fun to watch how creative they are and how everyone thinks differently."

New sand on the beach helped the contestants work.

Frazee Mayor Hank Ludtke said enough sand was trucked in for the event to cover about 10 yards of the beach.

"We usually bring in sand every year," he said

After a year's worth of erosion, the contestants needed every shovelful of good sand they could get their hands on.

The contest wasn't a free-for-all in which the best creation won.

As the contest was just getting underway, Dretsch said she'd know if she sees a good one. But building a sand castle in and of itself wasn't the only thing she was looking for.

"I will look at the structure, the creativity and also how they work together," she said. "Teams that have been joined are a creative link as well."

Teamwork was important to one team. Alexis Tappe said that without cooperation from Taylor Tappe, a cousin, the project wouldn't have amounted to much.

"It was very important because not one person could do all of this work," Alexis said.

Taylor said that patience also helped.

"It took us four tries to get it," she said. "Especially with the rings."