Northern Maine Ice Busters Will Not Build The World Record Ice Carousel in 2022

Roger Morneault is the organizer of the ice carousel on Long Lake in St. Agatha, Maine. He works with a whole team of volunteers called the Northern Maine Ice Busters to get it done. In 2018 and 2021, they set the world record for the biggest ice carousel. They have decided for a couple of reasons that they will not be going for the record in 2022.

Organizing The Ice Carousel Takes a lot of Time

One of the main reasons they are not doing it this year is the time it takes getting it organized. Morneault said, “this year’s ice carousel is a no go. It takes a tremendous amount of planning to do this. It’s not like a friendly Sunday afternoon project. It takes months of planning, weeks for sure. I have to call and line up the chainsaws and line up the vendors. We have to try to raise money for a cause which takes time.” 

Roger Morneault also said he is “very busy this year with his job and didn’t have the time to start organizing it. He said you have to be excited about it. You have to put a lot of time and energy and your life into this project when you decide you’re going to do it.”

Letting Others Hold The Record in 2022

There is another reason the project is not planned for 2022. A crew in Minnesota and a team in Finland build ice carousels every year. Morneault said all three places support each other and he felt Minnesota should hold the record. “I wanted this year off for another reason too. Chuck Zwilling in Minnesota is the current world record holder. He did a 1,300 footer.

"Zwilling usually does his carousel in Minnesota at the end of January or the beginning of February. What happens next is Finland will beat him at the end of February or middle of March. Minnesota keeps the trophy for no more than 4 to 6 weeks. He’s like ‘Oh man, ‘the trophy just showed up in the mail and I have to mail it out again.’”

Janne Käpylehto in Finland has done the world record carousel for close to ten years. He’s done counter rotating carousels. He had the first ice hockey game on an ice carousel. Morneault said, “this year, once we decided we weren’t going to do it, I talked to Janne in Finland and told him I’m not doing it this year. Maybe Chuck can keep the trophy. I was kind of hinting to him to let it go for a year.” 

How Long Does It Take to Make a World Record Ice Carousel?

The 2018 World Record Ice Carousel in Maine was 427' in diameter with a 1340.78’ circumference That's a total of 3.287 acres. Maine’s 2021 World Record Ice Carousel was 1,234 feet (376 meters), 27 acres.

Some years it takes longer to make than other years. The thickness of the ice is a key factor in the time it takes to complete an ice carousel. “From start to finish with all the tools lined up and everything is there, you can do it in one day. 2021 was a freak year. We only had 17 inches of ice as compared to the 2018 world record when we had 34 inches of ice.

"We set aside 3 days to cut last year. We had a big crew, we had all the equipment available. We were able to do it in a day last year. That is not normal. In 2018 we spent 3 days working on it and did not complete the job. We had to wait 2 weeks and try it again.”

Planning Stages

The planning stages start way before the actual labor goes into the project. Morneault said, “We start about 3 months beforehand. And the first month we have a meeting. The next month we have a meeting every two weeks. The last month we have a meeting every week. We get together every Thursday night at the Lakeview and we go over what we got, what we’ve accomplished.” 

Motivating the Team

The  focus for Morneault is motivating the team. He said his role is to make sure things are getting done. “As we get closer to the deadline, people realize this is hard. Even though people are volunteers, you have to push them. Once you say you’re in, I’m going to work you. That’s the only way to get things done is to keep people motivated and keep them excited about it. I really like doing it.” Roger says jokingly “what makes the whole thing work is whiskey. This is what keeps your sanity.”

Finland Tried Blasting Cord to Build an Ice Carousel

Morneault said “Janne in Finland tried to make a carousel with blasting cord. They put a big circle out like a 100 footer, they weren’t going for the world record. He wanted to see what the reality was of cracking the ice with explosives. He showed me a picture with a whole bunch of blocks of ice and said ‘it’s not a good idea to try to create an ice carousel with explosives.'”

The Equipment

One of the main tools to make the ice carousel is the auger. “In 2021, that was the first time we used a battery operated auger. The only problem was we only had one battery. When it went dead, it took an hour and a half to two hours to charge it. We had those gas powered, propane powered Jiffys and they’re amazing.”

How Do You Make 27 acres of Ice Spin?

“We used outboard motors. We’ll auger a hole and shape it so we can drop an outboard motor in it. We’ll put four or five motors in there or whatever it takes.”

Roger built a motor for power in 2021. He made it out of an old potato harvester motor. “It was a Ford 6 cylinder motor from a 1985 harvester that had been sitting around for 20 years. I put a big brass 24 inch propeller on it and it had a lot of torque. We were able to turn that easily and some outboard motors.”

The Plan for 2023

"Next year is a go," said Morneault. "I told Chuck in Minnesota he can keep the trophy until April 2023. Hold tight, it’s coming, just not this year."

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