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Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race
2015 Race Report

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Please contact Tom Jones if you have anything to add or update to this content, or would like our photos of your team’s entry.

Sunday 14 June 2015

The hottest day in Baltimore’s Kinetic history! Temperatures hit 91°F (33°C) with far too much humidity, and several teams even had to repair tires & rims from explosions in the heat.

The official theme was “Out of this World” commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope. Many teams had space-oriented themes, and a special 2015 Space Cadet Award was given to the spaciest. It is always interesting when multiple teams independently create similarly themed entries. This year we saw 2 Dr. Seuss sulptures and 2 turtles!

With 5 photographers devoted to capturing the entire race no matter the weather, is proud to present this year’s full coverage.

To see others’ coverage of the race, or to tell others about your race experiences, be sure to check out the Kinetic Forum.

Kraken Upcycle

Taking home the Grand Mediocre East Coast Championship was the University of Maryland Baltimore County Kinetic Sculpture Race Team.

The legendary sea monster was made of shards of water bottles, with great blue eyes made of the bottoms of 5-gallon water bottles, and water paddles made of stackable trays on poles, with a tall sail all built around a 4-wheel surrey.

Its 8 plastic barrels in a sturdy metal frame provided lightweight robust pontoons.

Prior UMBC entries were:

They took home the Championship trophy, on which each year’s winner is engraved.

Anuli the Articulated Giraffe

With a shy, beguiling look and trash-can nose, Anuli the Articulated Giraffe celebrated the baby giraffe that came to the Baltimore Zoo in fall 2013. Her neck flexed dramatically up and down. The Soda Quackers of Pennsylvania won the Engineering award, having come a long way since winning Golden Dinosaur 2 years ago.

Prior Soda Quackers entries are:

In the LeMans start, the pilots and crew start on Federal Hill. At the sound of the launchgong, they run down to their craft as the race begins.

The reticulated giraffe’ has a motorized articulated neck to raise and lower the head.

The pilots’ and crew’s ossicone horns are made of squeeze bicycle horns.

Rainbow Fish & Guppy

St. Paul’s School won the Art Award with this gorgeous gigantic fish.

Final seam mending was under way just before the race. The fish eyes are made of broad plastic bowls.

The aluminum chassis and PVC skeleton are visible inside.

Prior St. Paul’s School entries were:

The fish blew bubbles.

Never underestimate the comedic value of a giant mouth on the front of a sculpture.

An enterprising St. Paul’s student also built Guppy out of spare parts.

He provides instructions if you’re up for building your own!

Unlike most guppies, this one has NASA logos for pupils.

To the great consternation of its harbor-soaked pilot, Guppy rode low on the water.


Unless… cites the final page of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax that unless someone cares, the situation will not improve.

The front and back showed the Baltimore skyline and harbor populated by brown bar-ba-loots, swomee swans, humming fish, and thickets of truffula trees.

The team planted a Kinetic time capsule and trees in Patterson Park.

While the craft did well on water and through sand and mud (with a bit of pushing), the chains caused trouble on pavement, and broke in Patterson Park. The unstoppable crew pushed Unless… to the finish line, coasting down hills.

Unless was sponsored by the Baltimore Forestry Board, Baltimore Tree Trust, Blue Water Baltimore, the Parks & People Foundation, Tree Baltimore, Treekeepers, Weed Warriors, the Baltimore Office of Sustainability, and Union Craft Brewery.

Tick Tock the Crock

The delightful 6-pilot 35-foot 1,500-pound crocodile from Peter Pan returned to delight spectators. Dry ice created clouds of fog at the steamy water entry.

Tick-Tock attacked the HMS Yellowbottom hosting our photographer, presenting a cheery smile-on-a-stick. Captain Hook was not aboard at the time.

With unmitigated panache, they won an unprecedented fifth People’s Choice award:

1800 Lbs: Beyond the Hon’derdome

Team 1,800 Lbs brought back their amazing wheels as Beyond the Hon’derdome, depicting a post-apocalyptic Baltimore. They added custom hydraulic steering and a 2-speed transmission, but slipped chains and repaired several breakdowns en route.

For creating awe in their fellow pilots (How on earth do you true 12-foot wheels?), they won Pilots’ Choice.

Team 1,800 Lbs has a history of amazing sculptures:

With flotation at hub-level, the huge wheels create an especially graceful water entry and exit, and on open water only the top half of each wheel is visible, rotating like a steamship paddlewheel.

Wile E. Coyote (from their 2007 entry) helped pull Beyond the Hon’derdome through the mud.


With a parasol-bearing skeleton, Menace presented a 6-pilot visual spectacle, and won the Next-To-Last award.

Phenomenal costumes made from tire treads, chains, a distributor cap, and ungulate jaws.

This newly–hand-built sculpture is team Goes to Eleven’s eighth entry:

AMS Turtle

Starting the race with a flowery green shell and a sombrero-clad relaxed head, AMS Turtle also required pushing from the start.

As the race continued, they lost decorative components.

By the time they reached the mud, little remained but the chassis. For such pilot and crew persistence in the face of adversity, they achieved the Spirit of the Glorious Founder award commemorating Hobart Brown’s unique engineering efforts and personal style.

This was Arbutus Middle School’s fourth annual entry:

A Dog at the Races

Last year’s Good Dog has gone to see horses at the racetrack. For the gigantic monkey on its back, A Dog at the Races won the Sock Creature of the Universe, although their official sock creature entry was far more subtle.

Team Put a Lid On It from Takoma Park has entered every year since 2009:

While the large mechanical dog was on the harbor, this surprisingly similar small biological dog barked vigorously.

When they reached the mud, they deployed a great sheet of burlap from a spindle at the front to provide traction and prevent the wheels’ sinking into the viscous goop. The crowd responded with awe and amusement as such clever engineering!

Horses were named after Kinetic numeraries, including “Tails of Hoffberger” and “Smarty Tom Jones.”

PLATYPUS Lost in Space

With a 25-foot tall retractable rocket, People Looking Amongst The Yonder Planets Up in Space featured a diverse crew of astronauts, and was awarded the 2015 “Out of This World” theme 2015 Space Cadet award.

The PLATYPUS has been an amazing sight at Baltimore Kinetic races for over a decade:

  • 2014 as PLATYPUS LOST
  • 2012 as El PLATYPUS
  • 2011 (Grand Champion)
  • 2010 (Best Pit Crew award)
  • 2009 (People’s Choice)
  • 2008
  • 2007 (Engineering award)
  • 2006 (Engineering and People’s Choice)
  • 2005 (Grand Champion)

and before that, David Hess created Louie the Dog:

  • 2004 (Golden Flipper award)
  • 2003 (Engineering award)

and he was rumored associated with:

This child knows how to use a smile on a stick, while Astronaut Hess treads slowly in the low-gravity blazing Baltimore sunlight.

PLATYPUS never needs pushing in the mud (or perhaps it’s too heavy to benefit from pushing). Pilots crank through in low gear.

PLATYPUS always looks a party on the water, with a rear paddlewheel, oars, punt pole, and a didgeridoo.

Four Jemicy Sculptures

The Jemicy School of Baltimore entered 4 sculptures this year.

With 4 pilots and 2 zebras, Stripes sported wide tires and a center hinge point. One pilot had a compass on his helmet. It was the largest sculpture this year to win ACE, which requires following an extra set of stringent rules including no pushing or swapping pilots.

The Jemicy School has raced in Baltimore for a dozen years:

The Flamingo-focused Safari Hon had a very dramatic mud entry.

However, she picked up her muddy self and bike and churned through the mud to Wash World, and finished to win an ACE. (Things also tipped over at the water exit, the other most difficult race area to ACE.)

Wash World photo by Deborah McCallum

Another 1-pilot Jemicy trike, Cheetah Cheetah Pumkin Eatah not only won an ACE but also the Speed award for fastest time (after penalties).

The Speed trophy included bronzed running shoes, a checker-flag, and wings.

Snake Rattle & Roll had a snake head front and center, with snakes wrapped around each pontoon. It’s pilot also persevered through the course to win an ACE.

The ACE brigade.

Ballet Mobile

Ballet Mobile received the Judges’ Fill-in-the-Blank award for seeming like experienced racers even though it was their first year. Ballet Mobile is a Howard County organization making ballet house calls throughout Maryland.

Their bribes, sock puppet, and sculpture centerprise were all coordinated Kitri ballerinas.

Life-size Kitri twirled as the sculpture progressed.

Shogunna Ride & Next-to-Last Samurai

Baltimore schoolgirls befriended a talking cat who gave them a magical brooch that enables them to become the Samurai soldiers of anime fame Sailor Moonbeam and Sailor Mars Landing with their trusty koi fish, ‘Sho’ and ‘Gun’, forming Shogunna Ride. They are on a quest to defend our charming city from the forces of joint deterioration, oncoming traffic and the potential destruction of the solar system.

But, they needed help, so they sent word to a team of ancient 'next to last Samurai' and their horses. These two Make Believer KSR entries will join forces to save the planet and inspire kinetic glory.

The Make Believers are one of the most experienced teams in Baltimore:

This acute theriocephaly was subsequently resolved with duct tape.

Next-to-Last Samurai won Best Costumes for going far beyond a coordinated team t-shirt as garmenture…

while Shogunna Ride took home the Best Bribes trophy…

…for these delightful hand-crafted candy sushi made out of jelly beans, licorice, and gummy fish wrapped in rice crispy matter and green fruit roll-up skin.

Love You Harbor

Last year, after Fifi got a new chassis, the old one was stolen and dumped in the harbor. After wintering underwater, it was recovered from the bottom and restored into Love You Harbor.

There may have been a reason Fifi was upgraded from this chassis. And here’s one of the countless flat tires experienced that day. For pushing this recycling feat, the weary team won Best Pit Crew.


Agogosaurus from Finksburg returned for its fourth year, showcasing all-terrain mighty elegance. Kinetic Engineers take note of the gnarly wide tires with hard pavement center ridge, providing broad soft contact for propulsion in viscous sand and mud, and narrow hard contact on pavement for low rolling resistance—all without changing tires.

But they broke down and had to be towed from Patterson park. This is the first year Agogosaurus’ did not win an ACE:

Space Shuttle Disco(very)

With 2 pilots from Vienna, Virginia, Space Shuttle Disco(very) is a shiny retro disco edition of the Space Shuttle Discovery that brought the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit.

Crew titles included “Propulsion Engineer”, “Wayward Satellite Wrangler”, and “Spacecraft Therapist”.

Lorentz contraction causes rapidly moving vehicles to appear shorter to outside obvservers than to those sharing its inertial reference frame.

Squirt of the Chesapeake

From the STEM Old Mill Middle School South, Squirt of the Chesapeake entered the race in the Bush League—intending to bypass the water entry. However, they surprised the water safety inspectors by arriving at the Canton dock with flotation, such as it was. They won Golden Flipper as the pilots cried “Get out! Get out!” while the flotation foam broke off and Squirt merged with the Chesapeake. Aborting the water attempt, they hauled the sculpture out of the water and continued the race.


The Seusscycle comes from the Baltimore City College. The Cat in the Hat featured a striped stovepipe.

Their sock creature was the skeptical Fish from The Cat in the Hat.

Baltimore City College has also entered:

Shamu Crew

From Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Shamu Crew spouted water as its tail and fins moved.

Parts of Shamu Crew were part of a festive sculpture five years ago from some of the same students:

Kit Kat Clock Club

The large black & white Kit Kat Clock Club presented its namesake clock as a mobile amphibious sculpture, complete with eyes made of giant pivoting strainers.

Tony Walker has now led nine Kinetic entries:

Paranoid Planetary Prober

With pilots from Crofton and Baltimore, Paranoid Planetary Prober featured a shiny shading roof; purple, green, and blue inflatable space aliens; and green-tutued crew.

Scorpio in Space

With four pilots and one central human barnacle, Scorpio in Space is the mascot of the Oakland Mills Hills High School of Columbia in Kinetic form.


Rookies presented 2 chess players cycling the race between pontoons, with appropriate headgear. Their water entry was successful but sub-graceful.

The Dumpster Divers have raced every year since Kinetic Racing begain in Baltimore in 1999!:

Cosmic Fifi & Bumpostar Galactica

The American Visionary Art Museum’s signature pink French poodle went into space as Cosmic Fifi.

With two jet packs, AVAM’s orbital pachyderm Bumpostar Galactica charged through the race.

At the sound of the launchgong, Bumpo’s shiny crew dashed down Federal Hill for the LeMans start.

Crew posed for our photo as volunteers from the Station North Tool Library repaired a flat tire so explosive it damaged the rim.

Baberham Lincoln

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s assassination and the 24th anniversary of Artex Fine Art Services, Baberham Lincoln presents a funerary flourish for a sexy president.

For various mechanical issues, they won the Golden Dinosaur.

Artex has raced award-winning sculptures before:

The idea arose while drinking beer in South Bend while Artex was transporting the historical Lincoln’s Carriage.

Flying Burrito

Taking a form of a giant winged foodstuff, Flying Burrito was constructed by its hometown Baltimore team out of cheap department store bikes, slotted angle steel, beans, rice, and guacamole. The structure held together for the start.

But as Anuli the Articulated Giraffe headed toward land, Flying Burrito was collapsing.

Shown at left, wooden structural members crumbled on the water. To the right, a tortilla-free victory was celebrated at the sand.

With not much burrito left as pit crew pushed through mud in the blazing heat, Flying Burrito went on to win Worst Honorable Mention, which the rules specify is “given to the Sculpture whose half-baked theoretical ‘engineering’ did not deter its Pilot(s) from the challenge of the race.”

Opening Ceremonies

The opening ceremony began with The New Baltimore Twilighters Marching Band

and dancers.

The National Anthem (written in the harbor 201 years ago) was performed by the Music for Everyone Lancaster Community Chorus

The Kinetic Flame was lit by last year’s champions from Tick Tock the Croc.

Then Sister Euphonia O’Blivion sounded the launchgong to start the race.


We’re extremely grateful to the many Baltimore City Police Department officers who provided escorts and traffic safety throughout the race,

and the Baltimore City Fire Department who provided safety everywhere, especially Canton,

and the Station North Tool Library who provided substantial on-site repair services.

Volunteers, Spectators, & Pit Crew

Here are examples of people who know how to make a good impression at an important event. If you’re interested in helping this amazing event in future years, sign up for the volunteer email list.

The team

We are your loyal kinetic enthusiasts documenting the race.

Howard Wellman

Margie Hatch

Rich Wilke

Johanna Jones

Tom Jones

Melina and Bob Meshako of the HMS Yellowbottom

Show individual pages
  1. Kraken Upcycle
  2. Anuli the Articulated Giraffe
  3. Rainbow Fish & Guppy
  4. Unless
  5. Tick Tock the Crock
  6. 1800 Lbs: Beyond Hon’derdome
  7. Menace
  8. AMS Turtle
  9. A Dog at the Races
  10. PLATYPUS Lost in Space
  1. Four Jemicy Sculptures
  2. Ballet Mobile
  3. Next-to-Last Samurai & Shogunna Ride
  4. Love You Harbor
  5. Agogosaurus
  6. Space Shuttle Disco(very)
  7. Squirt of the Chesapeake
  8. Seusscycle
  9. Shamu Crew
  10. Kit Kat Clock Club
  1. Paranoid Planetary Prober
  2. Scorpio in Space
  3. Rookies
  4. Cosmic Fifi & Bumpostar Galactica
  5. Babraham Lincoln
  6. Flying Burrito
  7. Opening Ceremonies
  8. Thanks!
  9. Volunteers, Spectators & Crew
  10. The Team
3/3/2021 1:12:55 PM   3/4/2021 2:27:07 PM   1:90   2:2   3:3   4:   5:   6:   7:   8:1   9:   10:1   11:2   12:2   13:2   14:1   15:1   16:2   17:1   18:1   19:3   20:2   21:2   22:2   23:3   24:   25:   26:1   27:2   28:2   29:2   30:4   AllInOne:1
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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