Playing with toys really paid off for Ian Culhane, he won $10,000 for designing a seven-foot-tall toy roller-coaster. Not bad for a 10-year-old. Ian’s creation was on display at the Toys “R” Us store in Times Square, where he accepted the prize from the president of K’NEX Brands, a building toy company in Hatfield, Pa.
The boy, who first started playing with building sets when he was four, was one of thousands of children ages 6 to 12 who entered the annual contest. Ian began the project last summer, using 6,000 plastic parts from his collection of 15,000 to assemble the roller-coaster, which runs through the body of a dragon. Two months ago, his parents packed it up and shipped it off for the contest. Just recently, his parents told him he won.
A panel of judges comprised of K’NEX employees selected semifinalists based on the creativity, uniqueness and detail of the projects. It had to be made exclusively from K’NEX parts. An online vote determined 10 winners and Joel Glickman, an inventor with the toy company, chose Ian as the grand prize winner. The nine others each won $1,000 savings bonds.
In New York for the first time, Ian, his 14-year-old sister and their parents stayed at a hotel he called “pretty fancy for us. We always stay at a Motel 6.” While he was disappointed he couldn’t spend any of the prize money, his father, a hydrogeologist, gave him $100 to spend at a toy store.
What will he buy? Beer and wings? No more toys of course!