Monday, May 28th, 2007
Never Grow Up: Kinetic Grand Championship 2007
“We’re adults having fun so kids will want to get older.” –Glorious Founder Hobart Brown.
The Great Arcata to Ferndale (Calif.) World Championship Kinetic Sculpture Race ends today. For the last 12 months, artist-engineer-athletes have been crafting fantastic mobile sculptures with paint brushes and welding torches. They design street legal human-powered artistic creations which are pedaled and paddled over roads, mud, sand dunes and water in a three day 42-mile challenge of endurance and the human spirit.
Due to some legal squabbles, the race is called the Kinetic Grand Championship this year, but it’s really the same event. In fact, a nonprofit organization was rushed into existence in the matter of a few months to ensure its survival, powered by the same old volunteers with racers competing simply “for the glory.”
There is a saying that the race is “where art and engineering collide,” but it could just as easily be, “stealing back a piece of childhood.” Here are a few photos from day one of the race.
Here are a couple of the many fun race rules:
“Since mothers are discouraged from running alongside, racers must carry a comforting item of psychological luxury no smaller than a restaurant coffee cup at all times. An old security blanket (your “binkie”, or whatever you called it), a soft teddy-bear or sock doll will suffice. Teddy bears are highly recommended or an unreasonable facsimile thereof.”
The Mom Rule: “If a pilot is pregnant and in labor, that pilot may be excused for a reasonable length of time (an hour or so) without penalty. However, the pilot must return with a glossy 8 X 10 color photo for publicity purposes.”
- KHUM Race Coverage – a local independent radio station providing play-by-play broadcast coverage and some great photos.
- Bob’s Humblog Flickr photos (great stuff): (part 1, part 2)
- Video: Lizard Guy
- Video: sculptures circle the Arcata Plaza at the race start:(part 1, part 2, part 3)
- Video: a fuzzy 1981 PBS KVIQ-TV documentary (part 1, part 2, part 3)
If you’d like to attend next year, the race is always held on Memorial Day weekend. We’re in Humboldt County, California, the land of towering ancient redwood forests with sinfully cool weather throughout the summer (70 degrees represents a heat wave at the coast). Request a free travel guide from our tourism bureau.