Kinetic Race a Big Success in Baltimore - Race Results
Wilma and the Wombats, Fifi and Platypus were crowd favorites at the 10th annual Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race, hosted by the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM). The annual race started under overcast clouds and a great turnout of artists, tinkerers and onlookers. Twenty-nine Kinetic Sculptures registered for the eight hour race that wraps around Baltimore's Inner Harbor, to Canton Waterfront, Patterson Park and the downtown area before returning to the AVAM.
While the distance covered is about 15 miles there are a few stops for testing these human powered, amphibious works of art. The first stop, after making the steep climb up Federal Hill under human-power, is the Canton Waterfront for water trials. Here the racers travel down a boat ramp into the water with their creation, circling either the dock or the marker buoys in the harbor. At least one sculpture sank in the early attempts while others drifted a bit with the current. Those that got away required a gentle nudge from the volunteers in kayaks.
One of the favorites was the Wilma and the Wombats (Wayward Outcast Musicians Battling Apocalyptic TribulationS) who entertained the crowd with a 12 piece jazz band.
The spectators were spectacular along the entire route of the race as they turned out in all manner of wacky and colorful outfits and kinetic things on their heads. There were also Kinetic Chickens, who are volunteers to help with answering questions and giving directions. They should have an award for the zaniest getup. The photographers were out in full force. It seemed as if everyone had a camera or cell phone, taking pictures and thoroughly enjoying the day.
This is a timed race, asusming you make it through the water torture and obstacle course. There are Kinetic Cops who patrol the event handing out tickets to entrants when they break the rules, resulting in a time penalty. According to the race officials these cops are known to accpet bribes to overlook all but the coveted ACE award and safety rules.
There are a number of awards for these advenurers, often called Kinetinauts because of their fearless artist, engineer and piloting skills. There is the coveted Art Award for artistic design, the ACE Award for completing the race entirely under human pilot power and several others. This year we saw the creative, and large Bumpo the elephant sculpture get disqualified for the ACE Award because it could not exit the water under its own power. I think they should have given the elephant a break, he was great at getting in the water and was probably the heaviest sculpture in the race. Bumpo will still be a contender for the people's choice award.
2008 RACE RESULTS
The award categories are as creative and wacky as the race sculptures and spectators.
The Grand Mediocre East Coast Championship was Rat Rod which is based upon the Rat Fink creation of the late "Big Daddy" Ed Roth, hot rod artist.
The People's Choice Award was one of my favorites (and obviously the people's) Wilma and the Wombats with their 12 piece jazz band.
Engineering these human powered pieces of art is essential if you want to finish the race HB1GF (Hobart Brown, 1 Glorious Founder), won the prestigious Engineering Award. Hobart Brown is the original found of Kinetic Sculpture Race which was started in California.
Sculptures that meet the highest challenge are awarded an ACE. The pilots of an ACE entry cannot trade off or have any propulsion assistance throughout the entire race. That means no getting out to push or pull. Many entered, only a few were awarded the ACE: Think Tank, 99% Chimp, Nice Tots, and the Popemobile.
When Pigs Fly received the Next to Last Award, for coming in, well next to last.
Best Pit Crew Award went to Fiah Twuck, the bright red fire truck with the well tailored crew.
In addition to an ACE Award Think Tank won the Speed Award.
Fifi, the bright pink poodle won Best Costumes Award for the high-heel clad pilots and their creative outfits.
Best Bribes Award for creative payoffs to cops, chickens and anyone else went to Tony Walker, creator of 99% Chimp.
Like the People's Choice Award the pilot's get to pick their favorite and they chose It's Ben Hur-Hon!
The Spirit of the Glorious Founder Award went to the Jemicy School with their three entries into the race.
Camelot won the Art Award for their creative medieval costumes and breakaway DaVinci like plane that sailed into the water from the castle.
Those smiling Pirate Punks took the Hobart Brown Look-a-Like Sock Creature Award for the most realistic sock puppet. The sock creatures are mandatory for each entry and are in honor of Hobart Brown.
Coca-cobra won the Golden Flipper Award for not being designed in a way to keep afloat. They also won the Golden Dinosaur Award for the most memorable breakdowns.
The Popemobile closed out the awards with the Worst Honorable Mention Award to go with their ACE. This entry was designed in memory of John Paul II. I wonder how the new Pope would like the entry.
Join the fun next year when the 11th Annual Kinetic Sculpture Race will be back in Baltimore on May 2, 2009.