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Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race
Photos From the 2006 Race

Here's a Sculpture!

Saturday 6 May 2006

Such a perfect day!  The weather was divine, the crowds were bigger than ever, and a record number of truly excellent sculptures showcased the delightful collision of art and engineering. The only people who could have been disappointed were those hoping to see mayhem on the water, for not a single sculpture capsized!  Several were blown off course—but even when towed, none broke into pieces as in 2004. The mud was just right—not so runny that sculptures had anything approaching an easy time, but plenty thick enough to suck off shoes. The best few sculptures made it right through the mud and sand.  2006 represented significant progress for Baltimore Kinetinauts, and for the race!

Also see the videos from KineticBaltimore’s Supreme Instigator Karen Wallace, and a fabulous video at the bottom of this page.

Two Elvis Impersonators riding in Hunk a Hunk of Burnin’ Junk carried home the Grand Mediocre East Coast Champion award for coming in right in the middle of the race.  As the winners, they are eligible to take their tiki-festooned convertible to the World Championship Kinetic Sculpture Race in Arcata, California over Memorial Day Weekend. They came from Artex Fine Art Services of Landover, the same people who built 2005’s magnificent Cake on a Lake sculpture. Each entry carries a mandatory Sock Puppet and they won Best Sock Creature for theirs shown below named El-fish Presley. Not only were they stylish, but they also won an ACE award—requiring adherence to an additional level of stringent rules.

PLATYPUS returned looking a great deal more like a platypus outfitted with a spectacular sculpture.  It also stands for Personal Long-range All-Terrain Yacht Proven Un-Safe. The energy from the 8 humanpower engine is conveyed into a Suzuki Samurai transmission, complete with low-speed 4WD, high-speed 2WD and 4WD modes, and even reverse—which they needed this year to churn through the mud challenge. The drive train whirred like a car as they drove the racecourse, complementing the didjeridoo a pilot was playing.  They won two major awards: Best Engineering, chosen by a select panel of two special judges, and named in honor of the late Tom Bruni of the Make Believers, and People’s Choice, chosen by a survey of the crowd by Kinetic Chicken volunteers. That person in the tower in the back  was the only barnacle in the race. That’s someone who rides without powering or steering a sculpture, which scores bonus points.

Wallace and Gromit paddled with knife and fork aboard English Cooked Breakfast, an amphibious sunny side up egg with aft tomato and fore mushroom reminiscent of what is served at English Bed & Breakfasts. Through the race they never stopped smiling, and had a well-tested smooth machine. A work of art!

Surfacing from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea came the KinetiNautilus from the Make Believers.  They won Pilots’ Choice—an award selected by all the pilots in the race—and also Spirit of the Founder. Because the Glorious Kinetic Founder, Hobart Brown, was not in Baltimore this year, AVAM founder Rebecca Hoffberger made the selection for the first time this year.  They used dry ice to create the mist emanating from the aft vents, and the spiral nose cone rotated.  These are the folks who brought us Alice’s Teapot in 2003, and the Cirque de Sore Legs in 2004, among other fabulous sculptures.

Involved with the KinetiNautilus were First Mate Frank Conlan, Sailor Larry Klemm, Squid Girls Holly Klemm, Karen (Gagi) Klimek, and Holly Tominack, Captain Peter Stern, and costumer Andree Maslen.  The delectable Squid Girls squirted ink when startled.

2 Goats Meet on a Bridge was the work of Gavin Heck, Fluid Movement, and Keytech Engineering, and describes the parable of two goats who meet on a narrow bridge and neither gives way so they fight, lock horns, fall into the water, and die miserable goat deaths. Piloting the sculpture were Andrea, Bones, Chad, and Brian Goat. They received the award for coming in Next to Last.

The superbly-outfitted 2 Goats pit crew also won Best Costumes for this distinctive Alpine garb. And since there was no catastrophe on the water, they won the Golden Flipper for most interesting water entry for their choreographed dance at the Canton water entry during which a team of white ninjas battled a team of black ninjas and the entire team of milkmaids died in crossfire. Fortunately they were resurrected by magic dust.

Fifi was back for another journey through the city, and also won Best Pit Crew for a member who assisted many a sculpture that day. The winged figure in the inset is’s Supreme Instigator of Kinetic Finery, Mad Haberdasher, and Festivator of the Masses, Karen Wallace. (You can abbreviate that to "Supreme Instigator" if necessary.)

Tony Walker piloting World Peas lost one drive wheel in the water, but was determined to receive an ACE. He exited the water by standing up and walking on the paddlewheels. Here he obtained colossal traction in the sand with the same athletic brute-force technique. The peas in the pod are inflated green balloons. With such strength and perseverance, he achieved one of only three ACE awards, and also Second Place Engineering.

Hillbilly House was piloted by Dorothy and the Tin Woodsman, and came from the same people who made the It Cain’t entry in 2005. Amazingly, the entire house rotated as they drove! There are two pilots inside the house with the house spinning around them. The video on the link at the top of this page conveys the rotational excitement especially well. They wrapped different banners around the house to represent different places throughout the race, starting in Kansas, continuing with "Surrender Dorothy" written across a dark sky, and the Emerald City near the end. Together with their kindred sculpture below, they received the coveted Best Art award.

Also from the Land of Oz came the Kansas Twister, also with major rotational action. Paper strips were a fabulous way to convey high speed windborne mayhem. Curiously, as they approached the water, winds picked up dramatically and Kansas Twister was blown off course. The silhouette is the Wicked Witch of the West, and that’s their sock puppet on the front, not to be confused with their delightful flying monkeys. They shared the award for Best Art.

Kinetinauts Shane Stiefel (Thing 1) and Jen Hains (Thing 2) piloted And to Think that I Saw It on Pratt Street.  This was an effective open-frame art concept, thanks to the costumes, bright colors, and general Seussness of the ensemble. The crowd enthusiastically chanted their cheer published in the Spectator’s Guide:
Will it go?
Oh yes it can!
In the mud
and in the sand,
in the water,
across the land
Powered by green eggs and ham!

Receiving the Golden Dinosaur for most memorable breakdown this year was The Aliens, a Bush League entry from the Baltimore Lab school that didn’t make it through much of the race.  They were, however, only the second sculpture to break down (see Moon Buggy, below). The Bush League is for sculptures which don’t try to enter the water.

Yellow Submarine played the Beatles tune while they made their way around the pier in a smooth operation. This entry from the Carver Center for Arts and Technology was solidly designed from years of Kinetic experience, and pulled ahead to be the first cross the finish line for the Speed award.

The Giant Anteater won Worst Honorable Mention because they shed portions of their vehicle throughout the race. By the time they got into the water, there was no sign of the furry cover they started with, nor the structure that held it up. One shudders to contemplate what would have happened to the turquoise fur had it rained.

Bob Buerger’s Kinetic Airways came from Chicago for a seventh year, having won four ACE awards and seeking another. He suffered a critical mechanical breakdown while leaving the water at Canton, however, and the Airways was grounded for the rest of the race.

The Philadelphia Dumpster Divers’ entry this year was The Green Movement, piloted by Vance and Skyler Lemkuhl, with Dr. Photon. It was constructed entirely of trash and found and reclaimed items—and looked it, too. They were blown off course and towed back to shore by the volunteer canoe patrol from Outward Bound. This photo shows their cumbersome and intricate reconfiguration upon entering the water, flipping the bicycles from the bottom to the top of the sculpture. It looks like they’re dismantling their sculpture, but it’s all planned that way.

Miso returned for a second year with its bouncy shape, but looking a bit exhausted with its tail dragging.

From Eldersburg Elementary school and art teacher Denise Ovelgone came the wooden Lewis and Clark "Corp of Discovery". It started the race as a teepee, transformed to a boat in the water, then became this covered wagon, and finally a commemorative coffin. 

Drunken Anteater was piloted by Jim of Proteus Bicycles, who’d discerned that upside down bicycle aerobars strapped to a tricycle basket and a fender has the approximate shape of an aardvark nose.  It looks best from a distance.

The Visionary Art Museum’s Frog came back for another hop around town, with bloodshot eyes. Here it breaks its tape at the finish line. Each sculpture gets its own finish line to break, since it’s such an accomplishment to even finish!

The Two-Headed Dragon returned for a third year prowling the streets of Baltimore. With drooping heads and tongues hanging out, the dragon looked like it had a rough year.

The Rat, AVAM’s single-pilot entry, also had a new pilot this year. Here it leaves the gates of Patterson Park.

The Moon Buggy design is an amazing mechanism, although it suffered mechanical problems just past the starting line. After effecting repairs, pilot Matt Roesle jumped forward to be the last sculpture to enter the water.  By this point, the wind was strong and he was buffeted off course as several others and towed back by Outward Bound. The Moon Buggy’s treads started to become unglued on land (as on the bottom of the left wheel in the photo), and in the water they gave up all hope of adhesion. Matt said his design was independent from Dave Hershberger’s Unwheeldy entry in the 2005 and 2006 California Championship extensively documented on this site. Matt had completely solved Unwheeldy’s most daunting technical problem—steering.  Matt had an effective control that sent more power to one wheel or the other to pivot around turns.

You’ve Got What it Takes came from the Kinetic Sculpture Club at UMBC. The bright foam noodles saved it from artistic obscurity, and the bike wheels were surprisingly effective in the mud.  It was piloted by Carolyn Black, Whitaker Weber, Tim Courtney, and Ross Dixon.

Subdude was piloted by Phil Hoesch of the Jemicy School of Baltimore County. Subdued was more submerged than might be desired, but the entry was originally built as a submarine. Phil heaved Subdude out of the water with his hands on the paddlewheels, and won an ACE award for following the extra-tough ACE rules throughout the day. Phil also won the Third Place Engineering for his innovative propulsion. If you’re planning to enter the race, however, one lesson to learn is that a paddlewheel that is entirely submerged provides no forward propulsion. (Standing on the ramp was Ramp Master Michael Cooney, who maintained order and progress at the water entry; he’s wearing a blue sombrero crowned with a bug-eyed fish and enhanced with colored spoons.)

Dia de la Ardilla Muerta (Day of the Dead Squirrel) was the other Jemicy entry. As he exited the water, the pilot said “I can’t believe it stayed afloat.” They won Best Bribes for giving out organic chocolate bars to dissuade the Kinetic Cops from giving them tickets for various infractions. Those are little dead squirrels with wings floating in the water, tethered to the sculpture—a very clever design!  Last year, Jemicy brought three entries, including some of the most disastrous water spectacles such as sinking immediately on the ramp.  This year they had learned from the experience.

The other Bush League entry was the Kinetic Cattle Drive.

Bumpo was severely blown off course, and was also rescued by the Outward Bound canoe patrol. Large keelless pachyderms are particularly susceptible to being blown out to sea.

There were also many well-costumed spectators, volunteers, and pit crew!

One video, from Joe Logon, stands out among all:

The average artistic and engineering quality took a giant leap up for 2006.  For you Kinetinauts, we know how incredibly difficult it is to get a sense of the race from inside a sculpture.  If you would like a copy of the photos took of your sculpture this year—please send us an email!  We will need your postal address—we take too many high resolution photos and videos for email!

Craving more photos? See the Links page!

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The Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race is sponsored and run by the American Visionary Art Museum. is the volunteer work of Tom Jones.
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