Piecing Together the Puzzle Derby

The competition has become a tradition in the Northland.

DULUTH, Minn.-  The Northland is home to the second largest puzzle competition in the country.

On Saturday afternoon over 100 teams participated in the 5th annual Puzzle Derby.

“Everybody gets the same puzzle, they all start at the same time, and it’s just whoever finishes first is the winner,” organizer Valerie Coit said.

Once the clock started the room was filled with whispers and latching puzzle pieces

“There’s no way they could have done it before hand,” Coit said. “This is the first time the puzzle has been presented.”

Contestants are peicing together puzzles made by a Minnesota Company called Puzzle Twist. When all the pieces come together a Minnesotan artist’s work is on display.

“She happens to be a great gatherer and I’m a great connector,” Carol Willohby said. “That’s why the names, you know Jennifer the gatherer and Carol the connector.”

Althought the best friends have a strategy, as far as preparations go..

“We didn’t,” Willohby and Jennifer Young said.

But for Jennifer and Carol the timer isn’t of much concern. The two began piecing puzzles together after their retirement.

“It’s super relaxing and so the fact that we get to goof off and just do jigsaw puzzles as girl friends is awesome,” Carol said.

Other contestants are in it to win it and completed the 500 piece puzzle under 50 minutes. Overall this year the Duluth Puzzle Competition raised around $3,000 for the South Saint Louis County’s 4H program.

Organizers say anyone can host a puzzle competition fundraiser. During in the midst of their first contest Carol and Jennifer were inspired to host thier own

“The big thing for me is that if you have something in your heart that you’ve always wanted to try, you need to go out there and do it,” Jennifer Young said.

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