It’s kinetic time once again in Humboldt County California, and this year there were even more challenges than usual for our brave contestants. The weather has thrown them the usual mix of sun, hail, and rainbows, but this year, in addition to slogging through sand dunes, the bay, and 42 miles of track, they also got to slog through months of politics.
Most of the entries this year seemed a bit sub-par. The bigger contestants like Calistoga and Yakima are no longer in it, and most of the rest are just new paint jobs on last year’s model, though I can see why. It all started with disputes over who was in charge, licensing problems, and threats of cancellation. Why would anyone put months of effort into building a sculpture for a race that may not even happen? On that note, I’ve got a message for those involved in the politics: nobody cares who you are, so either get your crap together or hand over the reigns to someone who will.
This year, the politics went too far. When officials barred Tess and Sara Kraus from piloting their tiger (below, made by local high school students) for failing to prove their age, these two responded in true Amazon style by getting up and rousing chanting supporters from the crowd with a speech that would make Xena proud. In the end, parents had to take the place of the devastated teens, and pedal the float past the officials, at which point they switched back, and continued on. They’ve been told they will not be treated as a part of the race, all in the name of some liability tyrant. Well, I hope someone feels safer now.
There was certainly no lack of enthusiasm though, and turnout was good, considering. I was glad to see the Endeavor entry come in first on day one. NASA needs a victory under their belt after the gutting of our space program. The high ground and the best technology have won nearly every war and industrial race in history, and those of the future will be no exception.
This albino gorilla even seemed to be having some trouble with the law. I moved on after taking this shot, but I expect the gorilla is in Guantanamo by now.
Above is this year’s entry from Duane Flatmo, a man who puts out so much awesome every year that I’m tempted to put him in the site navigation. I’m not that impressed with the conversion this year after seeing his last several entries, but taken on its own merit against the rest of the field, it is still a contender for number one.
And it breathes fire!
This one gets my vote for most questionable engineering. Maybe I was missing something, but these guys were pedaling like mad and going at a slow walking pace. The guy next to them even felt the need to put his foot on the ground to keep his bike from falling over, and it sounded like they were using their pedaling to tumble rocks in their pontoons rather than for propulsion. It looks heavy, but it was apparently blown over by the winds at the dunes.
Gloryopolis, above, is another great entry. You may remember them from last year’s Classical Nudes sculpture. They reused a well engineered base, but did a complete overhaul of the art. This is what it’s all about, and they pulled off the superhero theme better than I’ve seen done before.
There are some interesting regulars in the race that don’t get a lot of notice, like the dog above. I’ve posted pictures of this cycle/dog pair before, and now I’m curious. Has this dog been in the race since it was a pup? I’m going to have to go through my old pictures. The salmon on the right was entirely scaled with compact discs.
There are hundreds of people in single person contraptions and bicycles as well. I don’t know if it is home made or off the shelf, but I want the cycle below. It looked comfortable, efficient, and she could turn it 360° in place.
If you would like to see more coverage from Kinetic Sculpture Races past, check out my coverage from past years at the links below: