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Saturday 3 May 2008
The tenth running of the East Coast Kinetic Sculpture Race Championship in Baltimore was a dramatic spectacle! Forecasts of rainy weather cleared, giving us a delightful day. Only one of the twenty-eight teams even semi-capsized on the Harbor, but the sculptures were fantastic! Some of the water entries were among the best ever! The most dramatic kinetic advance was a live jazz band of Kinetinauts playing as they piloted their sculpture through the course.
Thanks to our team of four photographers and seven cameras, we are proud to present better coverage than ever before. Some of the photos are awesome, if we do say so ourselves.
This race was the first since the death of the founder of Kinetic Sculpture Racing, Hobart Brown. Much of the race—including part of the opening ceremonies and one entire sculpture—was dedicated to Hobart’s memory. But thanks to his unique indefatigable spirit, Kinetic Sculpture Races all over the world serve as his fantastic legacy.
The Champion: Rat Rod
The tenth winner of the annual Grand Mediocre East Coast Championship was Rat Rod. A mechanical embodiment of the Rat Fink character by the late Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, it sported 3-wheel drive, 4 pilots (two visible and two hidden), and 5 wheels. It’s from the folks who created Goes to Eleven in 2007.
You can see the deployable exhaust pontoons—compare the location of the chrome pipes on the top photo and at the water entry.
The large rear “tires” turned into paddlewheels with supplemental inner tube flotation when the covers were removed.
Pilots are Glenn Lehman, Mike Cullen, Mike Phillips, and Sue Harris Phillips, who received considerable support from Jim McGuire.
Wilma & the WOMBATS
HB1GF featured giant brains in a tribute to Hobart Brown, 1 Glorious Founder of the first Kinetic Sculpture Race. It is the creation of the Gugliuzza family of Hyattsville, creators of 2007’s Air Farce One.
They won the Engineering award because the judges continually expected that their craft would produce some sort of dramatic failure, yet it chugged through every obstacle.
At the water entry, they unfurled a large scroll and read its tribute to Hobart.
When Pigs Fly
When Pigs Fly is an extraordinarily cute wide-eyed winged porcine entry from the César Chávez Public High School in Washington, DC. They received the Next to Last award; they weren’t fast but they did complete the race.
The American Visionary Art Museum’s Fifi returned in her role as race mascot, this year with a Marie Antoinette theme. Her long-legged bewigged pilots pedaled the 13-mile course in high heels and won Best Costumes.
Tony Walker created 99% Chimp as a tribute to the genetic similarity between humans and chimpanzees. They won both Best Bribes and Tony’s third consecutive ACE, following on 2007’s Alzaruba’s Recycled Ocean and 2006’s World Peas.
It’s Ben-Hur, Hon!
When you look from the right side, It’s Ben-Hur, Hon! is a chariot from Ben-Hur. From the left it’s modern Bal’mer. On the right, the barnacle chariot-rider’s hat is a Roman legion helmet (using a red floor brush), and from the left he has a beehive hairdo straight from Hairspray. This team built last year’s Acme Kinetic Sculpture featuring Wile E. Coyote in just 3 weeks. Captain Paul Seiffert leads pilots Beth Venderhoff, Jason Williams, Dave Gray, and Alan Schittman. They started working on this sculpture just before the death of Ben Hur star Charlton Heston. Their hand-crank propeller was surprisingly effective in the water. They won Pilots’ Choice, selected as the favorite by the other racers.
Running with Scissors
Running with Scissors is a 12-foot tall sarcastic response to parenthood from a group of neighbors from Severna Park, Maryland, who are new to the race this year. Bill Jaeger leads fellow pilots Paul Kaus, Pete Bourgeois, Peggy Jaeger, and Charlie and Denise Goepel.
Jemicy Three: Revelation, The Sneaky Moose, and Viscar Boot Attempt #3
Garden of Kinetic Delights
Garden of Kinetic Delights is a tribute to the religious visions of the late gothic artist “Anonymous Botched”. It’s a medieval cart of monsters of the unconscious on their way to the Garden of Kinetic Delights, a tragic view of human existence and the triumph of sin. Don’t miss their helmets in the form of a funnel and a rabbit. It was sponsored by Artex Fine Art Services of Landover, Maryland. The team is made of Artex employees and museum professionals who would prefer to remain anonymous.
Nice Tots is a bowl of the best tater tots in town, sponsored by Ale Mary’s of Fells Point. Pilots are Thomas Rivers and Paul Peckacheck. They had the cunning and fortitude to win an ACE award.
Otter Chaos is a centrally-hinged umbrella-equipped entry from the Gottwald family of Great Falls, Virginia. Don’t miss their cute otters on the pontoons.
Fish Out of Water
Fish Out of Water is a father-daughter team from Falls Church, Virginia. They designed and built their entry in the 2 weeks after the application deadline. Pilots Greg and Julianne Kelly were competing in their first sculpture race.
Coca-Cobra is from the Baltimore Carver Center for Arts and Technology. It is a remade version of last year’s Sea Cat. They have been competing since 2003, when they entered an amphibious human-powered volcano. Pilots for much of the course were teachers Phil Brauer and Duncan Clements.
On the water, students Emily and Yasha took over. They won the Golden Flipper award because the sculpture lacked sufficient pontoonage, and plunged Yasha into the bay, a victim of the Pontoon Effect. Undaunted, he swam around the pier with the sculpture, while Emily rowed the sculpture around. It was a clear violation of the 8% Total Body Wetness Rule that stipulates that racers must generally remain dry, and their race completion time received the appropriate penalty.
In a normal year, about three sculptures suffer catastrophic failure on the water. This year, however, not a single sculpture capsized, and this was the most dramatic problem experienced at the Canton Waterfront!
UMBC’s You’ve Got What It Takes
Nautical Nymph is the first entry from the Kinetic Sculpture Team at the University of Virginia Art Department in Charlottesville. It has one pilot and one barnacle, and features Undine, maiden of the sea. The pilot was Erika Atzl of Alexandria, Virginia. The corseted barnacle riding in back was Jessica Brown of Gainesville, Virginia.
A Barnacle is someone who rides on a sculpture but doesn’t propel it. According to the rules, a barnacle must weigh at least 93 pounds, and “Barnacles may not in any way assist in the movement or propulsion of the sculpture and must stay seated while on the course. The Barnacle may direct and encourage the pilots by yelling and being an annoying backseat nudge, but must refrain from using really bad, ugly words.”
Green Racer X
Green Racer X is the world’s most environmentally-conscious dragster from the Dumpster Divers of Philadelphia, who have been astonishing race spectators since they won both Worst Honorable Mention and Best Pit Crew at the first annual Baltimore race in 1999. They’ve added bamboo to their previous Auto de Trash entry. Pilots are Vance and Skyler Lehmkuhl.
Even though they broke off their front wheel in the sand and skipped the mud, they did finish the remainder of the 13-mile racecourse.
Bob Buerger of Frederick brought back Kinetic Airways for its ninth year. For the third straight year, he sought an ACE award, but instead suffered a catastrophic breakdown. Last year, he had a mechanical failure on a giant pothole at the water entry (you may remember the Baltimore City pothole crew that fixed it). In 2008, he had a brand-new transmission but after losing his three lowest gears was unable to complete the sand portion of the race. Bob has also raced in the World Championship in Humboldt County, California. As you can see, Bob pulled a wheelie getting up the ramp at the water exit.
AVAM’s Bumpo, Frog, and Rat
Popemobile is dedicated with love and reverence to the memory of
Festivity Among the Crowd
Many spectators, pit crew, volunteers, and pilots dressed up to a delightful extent. Here are some of them.
Special Thanks to the Baltimore City Police
The KineticBaltimore.com Team
The 2008 KineticBaltimore team consists of five members:
To see others’ coverage of the race, be sure to check out the Links page.Show individual pages
|The Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race is sponsored and run by the American Visionary Art Museum. KineticBaltimore.com is the volunteer work of Tom Jones. |
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