Friday, May 13, 2016

Kinetic Sculpture Race

or How to Have a Really Fun Day

Last weekend, Ward and I went to the Kinetic Sculpture Race in Baltimore. It's an annual race that's been on our list of things to do for several years and we finally made it happen. It lived up to it's reputation of a really fun thing and I think this will become an annual thing for us.

For those of you who aren't familiar with a kinetic sculpture race (like I wasn't until a few years ago), it's a race using human powered works of art. The race we saw was 14 miles long and went up and down steep hills, into the Chesapeake Bay, and through sand pits and mud pits. There were a variety of participants from middle school students to work groups to civic groups.

Below are pictures from our really fun day.

We gathered with the racers and other crowd at the AmericanVisionary Arts Museum which sponsored the race. The contestants were putting finishing touches on their vehicles and there was an air of excitement and fun in the crowd. You see two of the contestants in this picture (FiFi, the Poodlecorn Unicorn and Monsters of a Middle School Brain.)

Each entry had to go through a safety check to show that their brakes worked by stopping on a "dime". This Monsters, Inc. entry passed.

The Chicken is the mascot of the race and Chickens are everywhere along the race helping.

This entry, Leg Power, was the first to break down and they were not able to finish the race. However, they made it further than the one entry that didn't make it out of the starting gate because of bad brakes.

Crowd participation was encouraged with costumes and ride-alongs like this outhouse and ghost buster. The outhouse had a dog in the bottom who seemed to be enjoying itself.

We watched the first part of the race on a hill with a great view of Baltimore's Inner Harbor. If you look carefully, you will see a couple of the racers in the far lane of the street.

Next we joined the race at the waterfront where the sculptures had to enter the water down a boat ramp and make their way around the dock and up the ramp on the other side. This sculpture, Tick Tock the Croc, was so long it had to swing much wider to make the turn than the other entries.

This entry, Flying Phoenix, was in the ACE class which meant that he had to get out of the water by himself.

However, others (Stumti the Tremendous Stork) were pulled out with the help of their pit crew.

The OMHS Scorpion, separated into two pieces and dumped the pilots into the water. However, they were still able to make it out and rejoin their entry together on dry land to continue the race.

This is the mud pit crew waiting for the first contestant. The pit was particularly difficult because there was a speed bump getting in and getting out of it.

It didn't matter if you had a large vehicle ( Golden Eyedra)...

or a small vehicle (Hydra), they all had a difficult time. This one fell over and the pilot took a dive into the mud.

After the mud pit, we headed back home after a full day of fun and amazement. We missed the awards ceremony, so we didn't know who won until a couple of days later.
Below are some of the winners.

Grand Mediocre ChampionThe Bee's Knees, 

Engineering: Birdie, The Sculpture Vulture (Birdie was made mostly from milk jugs.)

Art: King Bal-Tut-More

Best Bribes:  Wheel of Misfortune

Want to know more:

I've just barely scraped the surface of this event. You can go to the Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture website to learn more.