Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sand In The City

Recently, we had the opportunity to participate in our local Sand In The City event put on by the Arvada Chamber of Commerce.  This is a two day long event held at Arvada's Ralston Park near 64th and Simms that has been touted as Colorado's premier beach party!  There are games, vendors, live Hawaiian style music, food, drinks and best of all, the giant sized sand sculptures!  This year was RE/MAX’s first year entering in the sand sculpture competition.  Altogether, there were 9 teams competing against each other for the coveted title of best sculpture.

The sand sculpting competition consisted of two phases:  Phase I is filling the forms and compacting the sand and Phase II is the sculpting part. On the day of the event, each team has only 6 hours to complete both phases.  However, there was a lot of preparation in advance of the competition.  First, we had to come up with our theme.  Then we had to design our sculpture and calculate the needed volume of sand.  Once this was done we had to construct the wooden forms that would be used to form the sand blocks.  Amidst all of this, we had only a 2 hour day of practice where we learned all about what we just got ourselves into! 

It takes a great deal of effort to construct these massive sand sculptures.  Not only do you have to build the forms, but then you have to manually fill them with the sand all while mixing the sand with water and packing it down tightly using a hand held tamper.  (If you are looking for an amazing shoulder and forearm workout, try packing several hundred cubic feet of sand with a hand held tamper.  Oh man!  Your muscles will burn.)  The ratio of water to sand was also something of an art form.  Too much water and the sand is too mushy.  Too little water and it crumbles.  The mixture had to be just right.  The ideal way of compacting the sand was to fill the form every 6 to 8 inches and then pack it down.  One of our forms was 6 feet tall!  Imagine the time it took to fill that one.  Plus, we had another form that was 7 feet wide by 3 feet deep and 4 feet tall.  HUGE!  Once the forms are filled and the sand compacted tightly, it's time to remove the forms...carefully!  This is the moment of truth.  Did we do a good enough job compacting the sand?   YES!  Success!  Our group of REALTORS really pulled together as a team to complete the first phase of the competition.  This was absolutely grueling in the high hot sun of the Colorado summer as we all shoveled tons of sand and compacted it level by level and we persevered.

Now on to Phase II of the competition, the sculpting!  We printed out several copies of our design and each artist had their designated areas to focus on.  To begin, a general outline was cut into the blocks from 3 sides.  The large chunks were removed quickly using small shovels and trowels until we were down to the basic shape of our design.  To begin the refining of the sculpture, more precision tools are used, such as, pallet knives and custom made tools from metal strapping.  Curry combs were used to round over and smooth certain areas.  Bit by bit, grain by grain of sand was whittled down right up to the last minute of the competition.  The stress of completing the sculpture started to set in at those last few minutes.  As each person completed their respective parts of the sculpture, they would help and cheer on the others.  If it wasn't for the constant cheers from onlookers, I don't think that we would have made it.  The love and support from the team members really paid off in the end as well.  This was one of the most stressful, difficult and rewarding days we've ever experienced.  The bell went off and the competition was over.  Each of us exhausted but extremely fulfilled. We stood back and marveled at our creation.  "How cool is this?", we thought.  High fives were handed out all around as we headed over to the food and craft beer area to wind down and recuperate.

It was time to relax, eat and socialize with all the c
ompetitors and each other.  The Mayor of Arvada, Marc Williams, was out and about congratulating each person.  As we finished up the excellent food, the time had come to award the winners.  We anxiously sat by as the announcer stalled and stalled with banter and one liners.  The first award given was for Rookie of the year.  This award is for new teams that have never competed before.  There were 3 teams there, including us, which were up for this award.  Can you guess who won that?  WE DID!!!!!  We were awarded Rookie of the Year for our sculpture.  We were truly honored to receive the award.  Though we did not win the overall competition, we were all winners with each other.  The experience really brought us closer together.  We are so proud of the team and we couldn’t have done it without each other

If you missed the event, here are some photos of what we created.  The idea is "Looking for the perfect home" and since we are RE/MAX Alliance, that’s what we do best.  The Keyhole is representative of the search and as you peer through the keyhole, you see the perfect "Home Sweet Home".  A BIG comfy couch and "MAX" the doggie asleep in his favorite spot.