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Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race
2007 Race Report with photos and videos

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2007 Photo Book!
We’ve created a commemorative photo book of the 2007 race with high-resolution photos on glossy pages. Learn more!
Saturday 5 May 2007

It was a beautiful day for the largest-ever Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race, featuring the creative work of 32 artist-engineer teams. As the race grows, each year seems to have an inadvertent theme. Largely by coincidence, this ninth running of the East Coast Championship included eight entries that were boats or boat-like in theme or design. All these boats did well on the water. However, three entries that were not boats capsized.  Draw your own conclusions.  Here are the complete results for your viewing pleasure.

A video player with videos of almost all the sculptures is at the bottom of the page.

The Champion: Patapsico Queen

Taking home both the People’s Choice and the Grand Mediocre East Coast Championship was the glorious all-terrain steamboat Patapsico Queen. It’s 24 feet long, and has a strong Maryland motif with the colors of the state flag, a Black Eyed Susan icon, and painted window screens in the Baltimore tradition.  The Queen bears the old-fashioned name of the Patapsco River, and the flag on her bow bears the logo of the World Championship Kinetic Sculpture Race in Humboldt, California. The crowd cheered as a cloud of orange smoke billowed from her stacks.  The Make Believers have created magical designs every year since 2002, and subtle design elements such as the push handles on the side so the pit crew can help her through the mud reflect that experience. They lost a pedal in the mud, but a spectator found it.  Designer Frank Conlan and Pilot Peter Stern said she handled like a dream on the water, and they may take her onto the Inner Harbor this summer.  Also piloting were Larry Klemm and Holly Tominack; they were accompanied by Pit Crew members Karen Klimek, Eric Jack, Kini Collins, Holly Klemm, Amy Swackhamer, Cheryl Dishon, and Andreé Maslon.


PLATYPUS returns, with suitor

Wilma the blue skater gurl wombat bears a tattoo "I ♥ Pokey" to show her love for the PLATYPUS that she followed for 13 miles through Baltimore. Wilma is the latest Kinetic Creation from David Hess’s team, and featured claws made of plastic tubing and a bright furry coat. Wilma bravely approached the water, but then ran away, revealing her Bush League status. (Bush League sculptures complete the entire course except the water entry.)

Pokey the PLATYPUS (Personal Long-range All-Terrain Yacht Proven Un-Safe) returned with her crew sporting lab coats, hard hats, and red-and-white striped socks. Every eye in the Inner Harbor was on her as she drove by. For the second consecutive year, she won the Engineering award for her astonishing automotive transmission and wheels powered by eight pilots on bicycle pedals. In Patterson Park, she became stuck in high gear, making hill-climbing difficult, so she trailed the pack until they found a parts shop and poured oil into the gears while soaring down Lombard Street.  At the finish, she broke through a tape reading "YOU ROCK". 

Wilma’s love for Pokey is unrequited, for Pokey’s heart belongs to Fifi.



Fifi the Pink Poodle returned for her seventh year with her biker image reflected in her spiked collar.  Leather-clad pilots Joe Wall and Theresa Segreti wore pickelhaube helmets topped by a pink pom on a stick.  No word yet on Fifi’s response to the romantic advances of Pokey the PLATYPUS.


Jazz Hand

The Jazz Hand is a 12-times model of a human hand, dedicated to Bob Fosse and the Jazz Hand in us all. It won the Art award, partly for the squad of dancers appearing at the water entry who performed to Kirsty MacColl’s In These Shoes. (See the YouTube video.) The fingers were independently controllable with cables so the gesture changed throughout the race.The Jazz Hand is sponsored by Keytech. Leader Gavin Heck (instigator of last year’s Two Goats On a Bridge entry) worked with pilots Chad Schneider and Brian Tetrault and pit crew member Jenny Regan. They took no chances on the water and led the hand around by a rope.


Attack of the Sculpturians

Attack of the Sculpturians is a kinetic interpretation of 1950s sci-fi movies. The 600-pound alien eats sugar, and set off into the harbor at Canton with its front tentacles thrashing, heading for the Domino Sugar plant on the south side of the harbor. The only thing that saved the plant was the crowd chanting to draw its attention to a giant marshmallow peep to draw it back to shore. It nabbed the peep, which rode out the rest of the race in its quivering mandibles. This is the third sculpture from Artex Fine Art Services, who created the 2005 Cake on a Lake and 2006 Hunk a Hunk of Burnin’ Junk. They received their third ACE award for following all of the difficult ACE rules—such as exiting the water without any outside help and the same two pilots riding the entire course. With all that sugar, they also received the Speed award for completing the racecourse the fastest.


Three about Whales from It Cain’t

Whale of a Tale is the first of a group of three entries from the Team It Cain’t. This remake of the Pequod included Captain Ahab, a complement of six sails, and a charming pig sock creature as a figurehead at the front.

You can’t have Captain Ahab without Moby Dick. The huge Tail of a Whale dwarfed other sculptures—and cars—through the city. The tail swept up and down as it went, seaweed dripped from its jaw, and the embedded harpoons showed its relentless pursuit by the Pequod.

It Cain’t received the Spirit of the Founder award for vision akin to that of Kinetic Sculpture Glorious Founder Hobart Brown. Sadly, Hobart was ill and could not visit the Baltimore race this year; Kinetic Universe President and Kinetic Queen Shaye Harty came from Humboldt County, California and made the selection for this award.

The third of the It Cain’t Trio was Tailing the Whale, featuring First Mate Starbuck and an oversized cup of coffee. At right you can see the trio making their way down Key Highway.

Just as a whaler faces damage at sea, so does a kinetic sculpture exiting the water. The transition from water to land is always difficult because sufficient weight and power need to be on the front wheels to pull the rest of the sculpture out of the water. Here the Pequod took damage, losing the lower hull off her bow. She continued undaunted, however, until the mud, where a crewmember pushed from the rear, but she tacoed a wheel and could not complete the race.

Never underestimate the dramatic impact of a huge open mouth on the front of a kinetic sculpture. It always appears to be swallowing whatever’s in front of it, in this case a Honda or a cooler disguised as a piece of sushi mounted on a crew member’s bicycle helmet.


Acme Kinetic Sculpture

Acme Kinetic Sculpture was propelled by Wile E. Coyote and his cousins, pursuing the Road Runner (below) with their rocket. They played a variety of appropriate Warner Brothers soundtracks. In the sand, they inadvertently crunched a wheel into a taco shape, and tried to continue by placing it on a furniture dolly (which was not particularly successful). They played "That’s All, Folks" when they tacoed a second wheel.

The amazing thing about this entry is that they had heard of Kinetic Sculpture Racing only three weeks before this race—the project went from concept to execution in that time! Since they know about it now, we hope they come back next year!


Travel with Class

Eldersburg Elementary School created Travel with Class, which started the race as a collection of flowers and bugs, but transformed into a spectacular rainbow-finned fish and a red crane. The kimono-clad pit crew supported the sculpture.  Teacher Denise Ovelgone led over one hundred students from Eldersburg, Oklahoma Middle, and Sykesville Middle School. Inspiration came from Polly Shulman’s Linnea in Monet’s Garden and Marcus Pfister’s Rainbow Fish, books read by the students. They won the award for Best Costumes.


Recycled Ocean

Recycled Ocean recycled components of the 2006 World Peas sculpture with a design tribute to Baltimore artist Alzaruba. They wowed the crowd by playing drums (plastic buckets) on the water. While taking considerable time on the ramp, the Ocean achieved an ACE award, as well as Sock Creature of the Universe for its mandatory item of psychological comfort. It’s sponsored by Gallery ID8 and Ale Mary’s, with pilots Tony Walker and Gary Nasuta.


Three from the Jemicy School

This sculpture was called the Valkin Visker Bote II, but bore little resemblance to the astonishing but ill-fated wooden sculpture from 2004. In fact, it did so well the pilot achieved the ACE award. It was the first of three entries from the Jemicy School of Baltimore County. It won Pilots’ Choice by consensus of the other sculptures.

The second Jemicy entry, Daisy Pushers, fared less well. As they tried to navigate around the pier, the foam wheels torqued upward in a manner likely inconsistent with the design requirements and one wheel came off entirely. The pilot adjacent to that wheel was plunged into the harbor, but swam around with the sculpture.  While this craft had applied for ACE, instead they received the Golden Dinosaur awarded for most memorable breakdown.

The third Jemicy entry was here for its second year. Last year, the pilot of Subdude heroically cranked his arms to propel the sculpture out of the water to maintain ACE status. This year, brute force was not enough at the water exit; it seemed that his sculpture was more buoyant than before and his drivewheels couldn’t get traction. Then something broke, and he took some time trying to fix the problem there and maintain ACE status. But while he was trying to fix it, things went a bit awry....


Tropical Paradise Goes Under

Tropical Paradise is the name of this 2-pilot entry from the Catholic Community School, well-decorated with shark pontoons, a tropical hut, and a giant toucan up top. As shown here, everything was just fine on the water until it caught up with Subdude that was blocking the way with repairs. Tropical Paradise seemed to be doing fine waiting for perhaps ten minutes. Flash Mob (described below) came up behind and joined the queue. Then all of a sudden...

Tropical Paradise rocked and suddenly capsized. No one was hurt, but the Toucan was knocked off its mounting when it collided with the pier. As you can see in the lower right photo as they ride back through the Inner Harbor toward the finish line, they perservered regardless, with the trusty Toucan resting its beak on the hut. There was no doubt they were due the Golden Flipper award.  All this happened at the same time as the ramp pothole repair described next.


Kinetic Airways Grounded by Pothole, Baltimore City Prevents Recurrence

Bob Buerger brought back Kinetic Airways for the eighth time, and was hoping for his fifth ACE. However at the water entry, there two grand grim potholes at the intersection of asphalt and concrete. While he was trying to pull out of them, his drivetrain broke. This location is especially tragic, being adjacent to the spot where Kinetic Airways last year suffered a breakdown that also forced it to end its flight at the water exit.

Bumpo was also hung up on the same spot. However, a Kinetic volunteer contacted the Baltimore Department of Transportation and an hour later the race was halted for about 10 minutes for emergency pothole repair, so that no other sculpture would suffer Kinetic Airways’ fate.


Air Farce One

Air Farce One was the work of the Gugliuzza family of Hyattsville. The wings opened up wider on the water, and the pontoons pivoted 90° on the mud.  A well-executed, catastrophe-resistant design, remade from the Crush Dude entry of 2005.


Carver Center’s Seacat

With sword waving as it crosses the starting line, Seacat was equipped with a green feline mermaid figurehead and a cannonball impacts on both the port and starboard hull. Coming from the Carver Center for Arts and Technology, this was a redesign of 2006’s Yellow Submarine. However, they experienced an irreparable chain breakage at Patterson Park, and the Seacat did not finish the race.


New Age Viking Hill Master

The New Age Viking Hill Master was a canoe atop a wheeled frame. On land, they were powered by rowing—the only sculpture to do so other than Peter Stern’s Roadboat of 2003. Both were quite impressive, gave the pilots’ biceps quite a workout, and both broke down in roughly the same place, four years apart. After a gearing breakdown, they cobbled things back together long enough to make it through the water and thoroughly impressed the crowd by heaving their sculpture out of the water without assistance. The Southern New England Weirdos (SNEW) of Worcester, Massachusetts came all the way to Baltimore, and we hope they return in 2008!


UMBC’s You’ve Got What It Takes

The You’ve Got What It Takes comes from the Kinetic Sculpture Club of the University of Maryland Baltimore County.  One pilot faced forward, and three faced backward. On the water, one pilot steered while three pedaled.  On the water, one of the pilots called her mother on a cellphone, and shouted to the crowd "Say hi to my mom!" With a traditional rear paddle, they required pulling to exit the water, but their pit crew was not available; you can see Johanna from KineticBaltimore pulling it ashore.


Cats For Sale $5

This sculpture, titled Cats For Sale $5, had five pilots. They used a novel paddle-wheel arrangement powered by a pilot lying on his back, but it provided little propulsion so the oars were needed. They required pushing through the mud. They were not struck by a bus just outside ESPNZone in the city.


IND Penguins

The IND Penguins come from the Institute of Notre Dame, an igloo topped by a penguin. Pilots Amanda Ward and Caitlyn Cook powered the sculpture through the race. The penguin had a lean for the latter part of the race after colliding with a tree limb in Patterson Park. They won Best Pit Crew for the crew’s willingness to carry the sculpture for great distances as the result of breakdowns, and they won Best Bribes for their hand-glittered arctic cardboard goggles with slits to peer through.


Towson’s Flash Mob

We’re not quite sure what the design of Flash Mob reflects, but the pirate-hatted lassies from Towson University won Next to Last award.


Team Trogdor

Team Trogdor was a Bush League entry, meaning that they completed the entire racecourse except the water entry. They’re from the Baltimore Lab School, and their Trogdor is easily recognizable as the character.


Old School Capsizes in Style

The clever designers of Old School covered drinking water bottles with bags decorated to look like fish. They seemed a bit unstable upon entering the water, but began making progress.  However, soon their progress slowed to a crawl and then capsized in the harbor.  Undaunted, they heaved the sculpture out of the water where they had entered and continued through the finish, where they are shown enthusiastically breaking the finish tape that celebrates each sculpture’s completion of the racecourse.


Goes to Eleven

Goes to Eleven is piloted by Mike Phillips and Mike Cullen, and the flotation consisting of three barrels secured to the frame non-rigidly. This tripod system was extremely unstable, and they toppled right over in the water. Remember to secure your flotation well, and note that long lines of floatation—pontoons—are generally much more stable! (There is no video for this team as we had very little footage.)


AVAM’s Classics

The Rat returned with the same sinister look as last year.
The Frog also exhibited its tried-and-true design throughout the race.

Bumpo had a new sound system; at the water entry it played La Cucaracha while the race judges swatted a piñata until it broke, and children scampered in from the crowd to get the candy that had been inside. That’s Pete Hilsee with the turban out in front pulling Bumpo on a rope.

The Kinetic Cattle Drive was back with decorated taxidermy heads mounted on bikes


Moon Buggy: Back for More

The Moon Buggy was a surprise entry, and hadn’t even registered when the race started. Its water entry was delayed while paperwork was hastily completed. The tires worked considerably better than last year, and the steering mechanism with a separate hand-cranked differential is quite impressive. It had gone less than a mile before the slow-moving vehicle triangle on the back was bent from hitting the ground. While unsuitable for long-distance travel, this craft had the most distinctive chassis at the race. It won Worst Honorable Mention, for “the Sculpture whose half-baked theoretical ‘engineering’ did not deter its Pilot from the challenge of the race.”

Festivity Among the Crowd

Many spectators, pit crew, volunteers, and pilots dressed up to a delightful extent. Here are some of them.


At Your Service

The team (left to right)

  • Michael Cooney, Ramp Master and Crowd Wrangler
  • Karen Wallace, Supreme Instigator of Kinetic Finery, Mad Haberdasher, and Festivator of the Masses
  • Johanna Goderre, Director of Benevolence
  • Tom Jones, Creator of Fine Websites, Photos, Maps, Spectator’s Guides, and other Paraphernalia to the Kinetic Trades, and Kinetic Seer #746 ordained by the Glorious Founder, Hobart Brown

All in all it was an incredible day! You should come to Baltimore May 3, 2008 for the tenth annual Kinetic Sculpture Race—see you then! And if you’re craving more photos of the 2007 race, see the Links page!

Show individual pages
  1. The Champion: Patapsico Queen
  2. PLATYPUS returns, with suitor
  3. Fifi
  4. Jazz Hand
  5. Attack of the Sculpturians
  6. Three about Whales from It Cain’t
  7. Acme Kinetic Sculpture
  8. Travel with Class
  9. Recycled Ocean
  1. Three from the Jemicy School
  2. Tropical Paradise Goes Under
  3. Kinetic Airways Grounded by Pothole
  4. Air Farce One
  5. Carver Center's Seacat
  6. New Age Viking Hill Master
  7. UMBC's You’ve Got What It Takes
  8. Cats For Sale $5
  9. IND Penguins
  1. Towson's Flash Mob
  2. Team Trogdor
  3. Old School Capsizes in Style
  4. Goes to Eleven
  5. AVAM's Classics
  6. Moon Buggy: Back for More
  7. Festivity Among the Crowd
  8. The Team
Just the Videos

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The Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race is sponsored and run by the American Visionary Art Museum. is the volunteer work of Tom Jones.
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