Kinetic sculpture race

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Team Melvin crosses Humboldt Bay during the 2010 Kinetic Grand Championship

Kinetic sculpture races are organized contests of human-powered amphibious all-terrain works of art. The original event, the Kinetic Grand Championship in Humboldt County, California, is also called the "Triathlon of the Art World" because art and engineering are combined with physical endurance during a three day cross country race that includes sand, mud, pavement, a bay crossing, a river crossing and major hills.[1][2]

Race locations[edit]

Kinetic sculpture races are held in many locations:

There are other kinetic challenges, derbies and so on which follow some of the rules and traditions of kinetic sculpture racing, but are not an official part of it.[9]

Races were formerly held in Poland, Geraldton, Western Australia,[10]Clearlake, California[11] and Prescott Valley, Arizona[12]

World Championship[edit]

Duane Flatmo's Extreme Makeover crosses Humboldt Bay during the 2005 Grand Championship
Wet Paint enters Old Town Eureka

The concept of kinetic sculpture racing originated in Ferndale, California in 1969 when local sculptor Hobart Brown "improved" the appearance of his son's tricycle by welding on two additional wheels and other embellishments. Seeing this "Pentacycle," fellow artist Jack Mays challenged him to a race. Others later joined in creating a field of twelve machines that inaugurated the first race down Ferndale's Main Street during the town's annual art festival. Neither Hobart Brown nor Mays won; instead, the first winner was Bob Brown of Eureka, California whose sculpture was a smoke-emitting Turtle that laid eggs. The race received broad publicity when photos of Congressman Don Clausen riding the Pentacycle were seen nationally.[13]

The event was repeated in 1970, and the course subsequently expanded to include cross-country terrain. When affiliated races were initiated in other cities and the course grew, the Ferndale event became the World Championship, and has grown into the largest single event in Humboldt County.[14]

During the 1970s, the race adopted its present three day, cross-country format and became the "Triathlon of the Art World." Machines tackled mud, sand, water, gravel and pavement. Stan Bennett's book Crazy Contraptions chronicles the first five years of the race.[13] In the early 1980s, Hobart Brown was referred to as the "Glorious Founder of the Kinetic Race" in a spectators' brochure.

As the 1980s ended, Calistoga Mineral water company began sponsoring the race, which adopted a family-friendly approach. Soon after, Yakima Products inc. a local manufacturer of sports racks and car storage boxes became interested in the race. The sponsors' financial support—especially the creation of the Kinetic Lab in Arcata—took the race to a new level of art and engineering. The Lab's 83-foot-long sculpture Nightmare of the Iguana was the longest ever raced.

During the 1990s, the race matured. Many contestants were younger than the race, having grown up with its philosophy, "Adults having fun so children will want to grow older," coined by Brown. As age and crippling arthritis limited his activities, he sold the race rights, the kinetic chicken logo and the trademark "For the Glory" slogan to a new not-for-profit agency called the Humboldt Kinetic Association in 2002.[3][15]

The race course covers 41 miles, crossing both Humboldt Bay and the Eel River and includes a series of dramatic sand dunes known as "June's Dunes" and the aptly named "Dead Man's Drop" and the challenging Eel River exit at Morgan's Slough. The race begins on Arcata Plaza with the Saturday noon whistle; the race goes through Eureka and Loleta before reaching the finish line on the third day on Main Street in Ferndale.[16]

The race is broadcast live on local radio station KHUM.[17]

Changing economics caused the sport rack company to leave the area and the water company to end their sponsorship. With no major sponsor and several years of county budget cutbacks reflecting statewide budget problems, the race experienced difficulties.[18] In early 2007, Humboldt Kinetic Association abjured responsibility for the race. Race volunteers rapidly created Kinetic Universe, a new not-for-profit, to manage the 2007 race.[15] In 2009, the New Belgium Brewing Company became a sponsor.[19] In 2013, the annual Mother's Day Kinetic Klassic children's event moved from Ferndale to Eureka's waterfront Halverson Park.[17]

East Coast Championship in Baltimore[edit]

The 2011 Grand Mediocre East Coast Champion was PLATYPUS. Built by David Hess, the 2-ton sculpture is powered on land and water by 8 pilots, with an additional driver steering it along the 15-mile racecourse. Here, it races through Baltimore's Fell's Point neighborhood.[20]
'Candy Haus' won the 2010 East Coast Championship; here it enters the Baltimore Harbor at Canton.[21]

In 1999, the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) in Baltimore worked with Hobart Brown to start the first race in the Eastern United States, and has continued to sponsor the race every year since.[22] On 7 May 2011, twenty-six teams brought 33 sculptures to Baltimore for the 13th annual East Coast Championship.[20] The sixteenth annual race is scheduled to take place on Saturday, 3 May 2014.[4]

In contrast to the rural flair of Humboldt County, the Baltimore race spans the city's urban center and is completed in a single day. The 15-mile race begins with morning opening ceremonies and the start at AVAM on the south side of the Inner Harbor, continues past well-known sites including Federal Hill, the Maryland Science Center, Harborplace, the USS Constellation, the National Aquarium, and Fells Point, has a water entry at Canton, an obstacle course at Patterson Park, and then returns through the city to the finish line at AVAM in the late afternoon. An awards ceremony at AVAM concludes the event.[23]

In 2002, the race included a crossing of the ice rink in Patterson Park, a challenging extension of the all-terrain aspect.[24] However, in the years since then the race has been held later in the spring to benefit from warmer weather—after the rink is closed for the season.[25]

Rutabaga Queens and other numeraries[edit]

Early in the history of the Championship, contestants began to select an annual Rutabaga Queen.[16][26][27][28][29] with active Queens Pigtunia Swineheart (83/84), Queen Denise Ryles 2001,[30] Queen Mo "Mo Betta" Burke 2002,[31] Queen Mair "Jane Doe" Dodd 2003,[32] Queen Monica Topping 2004,[33] Queen Shaye "Flamebouyant Femme Fatale" Harty 2005,[34] Queen Harmony "Foxy Biloxi" Groves 2006,[35] Queen Emma "Emma the Emchantress" Breacain 2007,[36] Queen Kati "Lotta Paintbuckets" Texas 2008,[37] Queen Jermaine "Jermajesty" Brubaker 2009,[38] Queen Jennifer "Dinah Might" Thelander 2010, Queen Natalie Arroyo "G-ma" 2011,[39] and Queen Wendy "Sohotshe" Burns LaRutabaga" 2012.[40]

The 2004, 2005 and 2006 Queens were the founding members of the board of directors of the non-profit entity, Kinetic Universe Inc., created in 2007 to administers the Kinetic Grand Championship, 3-day Arcata to Ferndale Kinetic Sculpture Race,[15][41] and former queens participate in race administration.[42][43]

Other Kinetic Races select different botanical Queens, including the Rose-Hips Queen of Port Townsend, Washington.[44] In Australia, having already a real queen, the race selects a Goddess to rule over the festivities instead.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Weird and wonderful in Humboldt: Art hits the road in Northern California's annual Kinetic Sculpture Race". Sunset Magazine. 24 May 2006. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Humboldt County: A place apart". Salt Lake City, Utah Deseret News. 1 June 2003. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Sims, Hank (24 May 2007). "Kinetic konfusion". news (North Coast Journal). Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Kinetic Baltimore". Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "Port Townsend Kinetic Sculpture Race". Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "DaVinci Days, Corvallis Oregon". Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Kinetic Sculpture Race, Ventura, CA". Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  8. ^ "Klamath Kinetic Challenge, Klamath Falls OR". Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby". Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "What's on - Kinetic Sculpture Race in March:". Rotary Down Under Magazine. February 2004. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  11. ^ "Lake County Events". Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "Kinetic Sculpture Race trophies are fun pieces of art". Prescott Valley Tribune. 9 September 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Bennett, Stan (1975). Crazy Contraptions: A light-hearted look at Ferndale's Kinetic Sculpture Race. Low Tide Lumber Company 
  14. ^ "Mediocrity Trumps in Oddball Race". Wired. 29 April 2003. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  15. ^ a b c "A kinetic save". Editorial (Eureka Times-Standard). 24 May 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  16. ^ a b Brown, Hobart; Wilson, John (1990). Kinetic Sculpture Racing, A Complete Guide: Founder Hobart Brown Tells All. Hi Heart Publishing. ISBN 1-879312-07-7 
  17. ^ a b "KHUM-FM website". Lost Coast Communications. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  18. ^ Ringwald, George (20 May 1999). "Kinetic Countdown". North Coast Journal. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  19. ^ "New Belgium - Events > Kinetic Grand Championship". New Belgium Brewing. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  20. ^ a b "Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race 2011 Race Report". Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  21. ^ "Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race 2010 Race Report". Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  22. ^ "Kinetic Sculpture Race". National Public Radio. 29 April 2001. 
  23. ^ Williams, IV, John-John (6 May 2006). "Peculiar contest puts artsy crafts in motion". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 5 August 2011 
  24. ^ "Joo Chung's Galleries : Kinetic Sculpture Race (4/13/2002)". Retrieved 8 April 2008 
  25. ^ "A Brief History of the Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race". Retrieved 12 August 2011 
  26. ^ Hillinger, Charles (16 April 1979). "No one cares who wins: People power propels world's nuttiest racers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  27. ^ Foster, Julia M. (30 April 1995). "Move over, Indy 500 | Kinetic Sculpture Race blends ingenuity, endurance and humor". The San Diego Union - Tribune. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  28. ^ Lauer, George (28 May 2000). "A Kinetic Sideshow on Wheels". The Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  29. ^ Cochrane, Myles (17 May 2011). "Royal invite to the Rutabaga Ball: This year's Rutabaga Queen to be crowned in Arcata Saturday". Eureka Times-Standard. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  30. ^ Faulk, James (28 May 2002). "Glory to the racers". Eureka Times-Standard. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  31. ^ Crove, Lisa (19 June 2002). "Humboldt Pie - Mo Betta (2002)". SF Weekly. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  32. ^ Doran, Bob (20 May 2004). "The Hum". North Coast Journal. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  33. ^ Doran, Bob (19 May 2005). "The Hum". North Coast Journal. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  34. ^ Johnson-Stromberg, Ann (27 March 2006). "Some call it Rutabaga flambe". Eureka Times-Standard. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  35. ^ "Kinetic Trash Fashion Show". Eureka Times-Standard. 2 April 2009. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  36. ^ Beech, Kai (25 May 2010). "All For the Glory". Eureka Times-Standard. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  37. ^ Doran, Bob (1 July 2011). "Kinetic Klash Kontinues". North Coast Journal. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  38. ^ Garmire, Sean (26 May 2009). "A curious contest: Kinetic race sculptures scramble to the finish". Eureka Times-Standard. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  39. ^ Arroyo, Natalie (7 July 2011). "Last Call for Coho: An iconic species on the brink in the Mattole Valley and beyond". North Coast Journal. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  40. ^ Goff, Andrew (20 May 2012). "Bringin' da Heat! Your 2012 Rutabaga Queen: Sohotshe Burns!". North Coast Journal. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  41. ^ Sims, Hank (24 May 2007). "Kinetic konfusion". North Coast Journal. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  42. ^ Cochrane, Miles (17 May 2011). "Royal invite to the Rutabaga Ball: This year's Rutabaga Queen to be crowned in Arcata Saturday". Tri-City Weekly/ Eureka Times-Standard. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  43. ^ Doran, Bob (19 May 2011). "Rutabaga Scramble". North Coast Journal. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  44. ^ "RoseHips Kween". Port Townsend Kinetic Race. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 

External links[edit]

  • KHUM radio, which covers the Humboldt County event.

World Championship[edit]

Other Races[edit]