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Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race
2023 Race Report

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Saturday 6 May 2023

The spirit of Hobart Brown blessed Baltimore with fine sunny weather for the 22nd Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race East Coast Championship. The theme Everyday People was well-represented in many sculptures presenting everyday people—but several entries were contrarily based on gold and royalty of the British and Egyptian sorts.

Until this day, someone asking for the most dramatic story on the water would learn about 2004, when the Make Believers entered a 3-car circus train called Cirque de Sore Legs. It blew so far off course the Baltimore City Police boat rigged it to tow back to shore. Under tow, it broke apart, leaving pilots dressed as a lion tamer, lion, bear, and fortune teller adrift, until they were separately rescued by spectators who had come to see the race via kayak.

2023 added another dramatic water entry to the history books: Team Cap Kinetic entered Engines & Dragons, a fire engine that was next-to-last at the water entry. A few spectators had even started to leave, poor dears. The fire engine never looked particularly stable going around the pier, but with landfall approaching the crowd roared when they rolled heavily to the right, then completely upside down. Heroes from the real Baltimore City Fire Department rescue boats jumped into the harbor to ensure everyone was safe, then helped flip the fire engine back upright. And despite all that, the team put everything back together (except what sank to the bottom of the bay) and finished the race! Don't miss the photos and video.

Our 8 all-terrain photographers followed the race from start to finish, taking 11,291 photos; the best 327 are in this report. Thanks to camera and computer improvements, we also provide 78% more pixels per photo than last year, for clearer images than ever before. We’ve also posted videos on the Engines & Dragons and the Opening Ceremony & Start page.

We thank Service Photo, Baltimore’s awesome full-service camera shop on Falls Road for setting us up with a slightly used Canon mirrorless when one of our workhorse SLRs died the day before the race. We also thank Lensrentals from whom we arranged four cameras and related equipment.

Grand Champion: Mr. Jon Dig-It

This year’s Grand East Cast National Mediocre Champion was Mr. Jon Dig-It, a construction-yellow front end loader backhoe. On land they had an unusual complement of 5 pilots: 1 up front and 4 outside in back.

A longstanding kinetic tradition is the “Le Mans Start”—where the racers start outside their vehicles. In Baltimore, racers hike partway up Federal Hill adjacent to the American Visionary Art Museum, and when the gong sounds they run down to their sculptures to to begin driving. Curiously, motorsports no longer start Le Mans style, even the original 24 Hours of Le Mans race, while this tradition lives on in kinetics.

Another Kinetic tradition is that teams deliver thematic bribes to race judges seeking forgiveness of minor infractions. This team bribed with this cute miniature construction worker rubber ducky.

Along the racecourse, each kinetic sculpture is accompanied by a fleet of pit crew.

Just before the water, they jettisoned their rear auxiliary human propulsion unit consisting of two 2-person bicycles mounted to a frame.

On the water they switched from 5 to 2 pilots, who used hand-cranked paddlewheels. Lacking a keel, they were blown off course and required a tow back onto the racecourse by the Baltimore City Fire Department Marine Unit accompanying the race. (BCFD would be called upon for a much bigger rescue later for Engines & Dragons.)

If you look closely, this sculpture is built on a flat-bottom black jon boat, so it's a natural on the water.

Note also this backhoe has a baby in the bucket. This is only a simulation; please do not place actual babies in backhoe buckets, especially over water.

Their pit crew included 2 future kinetinauts who were conveyed via thematic stroller with yellow snow shovel.

The team honors the late Buck Schuster, a long-time friend and supporter.

On the mud, their narrow propulsion wheels were of marginal value, so they required a vigorous squad of pedestrian pushers. Pushing is acceptable under the rules as long as a sculpture is not attempting to achieve ACE status.

This is the eighth year the Soda Quackers of New Jersey and Pennsylvania entered the Baltimore kinetic race, and their second Championship:

At the finish line, they broke through a banner matching their theme.

Judge Luke Clippinger said, “They were always dancing. There were kids dancing. There were grown-ups dancing. There were senior citizens dancing”, just before announcing they were 2023 Grand Champions, recipients of the great handlebar trophy.

Cut Out to be Royal

With a remarkably clever design combining costumes and sculpture, the crew of Cut Out to be Royal wore helmet covers that transformed into necks when mated to giant head caricatures of Queen Camilla, Prince William of Wales, and Duchess Meghan of Sussex (on the left side).

Since the British chose to schedule their first monarchical coronation in 71 years on the same day as the Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race, team Goes to Eleven commemorated it stateside.

On the right were Prince Harry of Sussex, Princess Catherine of Wales, with King Charles III at the front.

Note non-British steering wheel placement on the left.

Read the Frederick News-Post coverage.

On the water they used large inflatable pontoons.

This is team Goes to Eleven’s eleventh sculpture:

Getting out of the water required pit crew hauling up the ramp.

The sand obstacle proved negligible impediment to four large double wheels and sufficient ground clearance.

But in mud more pushing support was needed.

Race rules stipulate:

Each Sculpture must carry at all times 1 comforting item of psychological luxury heretofore referred to as the “Homemade Sock Creature” (HSC). Homemade Sock Creature must be made in a home, from a not-too-recently-worn sock from the home, and resemble a creature homemade from a sock. (penalty: 1 hour)

Their sock creature was thematic with an Elizabethan collar, and it concealed an even more thematic tea set.

On the road, Cut Out to be Royal kept a strong pace.

Across the finish line.

Before the race, pit crew assessed pilots’ readiness with lung function tests.

For this grand-scale inventive regal splendor, Cut Out to be Royal was the clear winner for the prestigious Art Award, in the form of an iridescent violet trophy.

Cut Out to be Royal also won the 2023 People’s Choice. This award is determined by a fleet of kinetic chicken volunteers who survey spectators, and winning was an especially significant accomplishment because a competitor team with a jubilant reptilian carnivore had won that award every year since 2013.

Way to go, team!

Engines & Dragons

Among the 8 KineticBaltimore team members, by far the most-photographed was Engines & Dragons by team Cap Kinetic. You'll see why below.

It’s theme was Kyle who can’t fly due to poor vision, and who doesn’t like being called a “dragon” due to their fire-starting reputation. So he joined the Overlea Fire Brigade.

Their front logo commemorates the American LaFrance fire engine manufacturer from 1873–2014.

Kyle had his own helmet, and the members of the Baltimore City Fire Department escorting the race were very interested in the fire engine. It included functional lights, siren, and a ladder.

At the Le Mans start, they dashed down the hill toward their sculpture. Costumes were great, including a pilot dressed as a dalmatian, and pit crew dressed as fabulous fire.

On land, the sculpture proved generally effective, pleasing the crowd. They also got a lot faster after realizing the parking brake they installed the prior night was partially engaged for the first third of the race.

Spectators also loved the bubble cannon.

The start of the water entry went smoothly: driving down the ramp into the Chesapeake Bay.

Some sculptures don’t look like they’re designed to float, by concealing the flotation in the broader design. Such sculptures appear far more dramatic on the water.

You can see the sculpture is listing somewhat to starboard. Team Captain Action Pat explained their Nissan steering box necessitated putting the steering in the back row, and in order to see, the rear pilots had to be elevated. The result significantly raised the center of mass.

They also cut 50 pounds off the front axle to save weight—which reduced their below-waterline ballast. So the center of mass was likely well above the center of buoyancy reducing its static metastability. The addition of dynamic forces including waves, wind, and moving pilots, has the potential for catastrophe.

(More advanced coverage of hydrostatics and hydrodynamics is available from the US Naval Academy.)

Sculptures seeking ACE—like Engines & Dragons—have to navigate around a special buoy to demonstrate enhanced seaworthiness.

This is when things went wrong. Once they turned back toward land, they started to tip dramatically. That high center of mass meant there wasn't much righting force, so once the roll began it was almost impossible to stop.

Two Baltimore City Fire Department staff on shore reacted to this development.

You can see the hollow wheels also took on water, creating these decorative little wheel fountains as they emerged from the water. The pilots were concerned by larger matters as the capsize progressed.

On the ventral side of the sculpture, note the flotation is also concentrated along the center longitudinal axis, significantly reducing the moment of inertia required to initiate a roll along that axis. Widely-spaced pontoons would be far more stable, but also look a lot less like a fire truck.

As the Fire Department boats converged, Action Pat’s experience as a swift water rescue technician and rescue diver came in handy, and all four pilots got out from under the sculpture. We don’t recall another time a Baltimore sculpture flipped Poseidon Adventure–style, but we’re checking the archive.

The completely inverted sculpture achieved true stability, with the center of gravity well below the center of buoyancy. However, it’s difficult to make progress in this state.

Two firefighters dove in to ensure everyone was safe, then helped right the fire engine.

This is why the rules require an

Affixed tow ring, attached firmly to the front of the Sculpture…strong enough to heave the entire sculpture through and out of the water, mud, and other terrain

It’s thoroughly impressive that after a total capsize the team went on to finish the race, even with headlights still glowing.

From the outside, it looked like Engines & Dragons just needed some pushing through the sand. Wise spectators would be surprised, however, to see a pink-license plate ACE-attempting team needing so much help in the sand—as any team ready to drive through the mud unassisted usually has an easy time ACEing the sand.

Action Pat later reported the situation was much more challenging inside: his main axle freewheel “blew up” so his pedals spun without providing propulsion. The power brake motor and air horn compressor had also drowned in the harbor. Turning the sculpture upside down and shaking it in the harbor also jettisoned a variety of cargo intended to support the team, including vintage fire department lights, 2-way radios, a power tool battery, a Pixel 4a cellphone, and a wedding ring.

When you're no longer ACEing, tow rings come in handy at the mud, too.

If you count carefully, you’ll see only 3 pilots.

This is Team Cap Kinetic’s fifth Kinetic entry:

They’ve experienced more in 5 years than many teams experience in 10.

The apple nosed past on Light Street, leaving only one team behind them.

This photo supplied by the team shows them passing the Baltimore City Fire Department Repair Shop along Key Highway near the end of the race.

They joyously crashed through the finish line.

As only one team followed them across the finish line (Working Hard, or Bearly Working?) for their perseverance and not being last they won the Next-to-Last award.

Each team is required to carry “1 comforting item of psychological luxury heretofore referred to as the ‘Homemade Sock Creature’ (HSC)”. Young Amy is a special judge for this cateogry, and awarded Engines & Dragons Sock Creature of the Universe.

Engines & Dragons won two trophies, but neither reflected their involvement in the most dramatic scene on the water in over a decade.

The team that didn’t quit.

Learn more from their team Facebook page and Race Recap Blog Entry.

Here’s the team’s video showing their water entry excitement.

Scrap Life

Race rules provide a higher level of competition, the ACE, under which a sculpture must be piloted by the same people for the entire race, with no outside propulsion assistance, and various other requirements. The most common number of pilots for a sculpture attempting ACE is one. However, few solo-pilot ACE entries are as elaborate as Scrap Life.

Before the race, children entertained themselves by putting its rear claw around their heads.

Pilot Phil Smith seems to have found an all-terrain tire that’s smooth enough for pavement but gnarly enough for mud.

After Pinktastic was blown far off course last year, Scrap Life brought a new water propulsion system made of discarded ceiling fans and tractor parts. Phil also set aside the umbrella to reduce wind resistance.

The shade came in handy on sunny streets.

The sand in Patterson Park was a good time to try out the hand-crank.

But the mud was where the ultra-low gear hand crank was truly necessary, and the crowd roared to see him steadily crank through the viscosity.

Here are Phil’s seven prior entries:

The umbrella was gone again near the finish line.

The whole family came to the race.

For the second consecutive year, Phil’s impressive all-terrain design won both the Engineering award and his fourth ACE—one of only two ACEs awarded in 2023.

The ACE was especially impressive as Phil had several leg surgeries this year.

Happy Campers

Happy Campers glorified the great outdoors, including canoes, a tent, a tree, and the sculpture name spelled out in pine cones.

Here’s a close-up of the above photo, showing extra-large marshmallows toasting over the fabric and wind fire. The glitter deer and bear perhaps make them Happy Glampers.

They kept a fast pace through Fell’s Point.

Their 3-d signs were especially clear.

The craft was hinged on the water, and its canoes were pontoons.

This was the thirteenth consecutive entry for this Takoma Park team:

Tick Tock the Croc

The 35-foot long 6-pilot 6-section train crocodile Tick Tock the Croc from Peter Pan returned to delight the crowd with its delightful music and weaving through the racecourse.

It benefitted from a bit of pushing up Battery Avenue into Federal Hill park.

When Fifi broke down on Key Highway, several sculptures including the Croc worked their way around.

You can always count on Tick Tock for a dramatic splashdown.

They weren’t going for ace but went around the ACE buoy simply to show off their aquatic prowess.

A delightful sight through Patterson Park.

Tick Tock has a long history of wowing kinetic spectators:

Tick Tock rushed toward the finish line, not stopping to snack on a photographers foot.

Crashing through the finish line.

Everyone is ready to take a team photo right after crossing the finish line.

Working Hard, or Bearly Working?

A large bear on four wheels, Working Hard, or Bearly Working? from the Park School was boldly visible from far away.

Since bears have broader hips than poodles, Bearly Working was more voluminous than Fifi.

The bear required pushing up Battery Avenue into Federal Hill. That's Ravens Stadium in the background.

Pushing a bear is hard work, even following a flutist.

The bear was quite a chonkmobile, and provided welcome shade for its pilots on the sunny day.

On the water, the bear floated well but stayed on a taut line to ensure it didn’t blow away.

The solid black teddy bear eyes could have been more soulful.

The bear crossed the mud with help.

When their axle broke on the way back through the Inner Harbor, the Park School was prepared! They broke out their welder and fixed it in the Harborplace garage before resuming the race.

They were last across the finish line, but finished!

This was the Park School’s fifth entry; their prior entries were:

Jemicy: The Big 50, Good As Gold, AuSome, Gettin Gold, & Golden Moose

The Jemicy School of Owings Mills has an entire class dedicated to teaching students how to build a kinetic sculpture race entry.

Their largest entry this year was 4-pilot The Big 50 celebrating 50 years since The School at Jemicy Farm opened in September 1973.

Students learn engineering, art, project management, and learning from failure as they plan, build, and race their entries.

Check out the steering mechanism.

A rugged sculpture impacting the water at speed gives a very satisfying splash.

They had an easy time in the sand.

They started ok in the mud.

But then they required pushing and couldn’t achieve their much-desired ACE.

Unlike some prior years, they used the same tires on road, sand, mud, and water.

There's a big hinge in the middle.

The big “50” was made of photos of prior kinetic sculpture race entries.

Most of The Big 50 team after the race.

One of four single-pilot Jemicy entries, Good as Gold was embellished with a golden moose head.

The trike climbed out of the water with no special accommodations. Teams going for ACE cannot be pushed during the race, and one of the hardest portions of the racecourse to proceed without pushing is the water exit. Building a sculpture that can exit the water under its own power requires careful attention to drive wheel location, flotation height, and the transition from water power to land power.

Sand was easy for the lightweight tricycle riding on mountain bike tires.

But like its bigger teammate, Good as Gold also required pushing in the mud, and couldn't achieve ACE. Maybe a hand-crank low-gear setup like Scrap Life.

Triumphantly crossing the finish line.

AuSome was another 1-pilot Jemicy entry, with its name derived from the 2-letter atomic symbol for gold.

Its tires were narrower than all other Jemicy teams.

It had plenty of buoyancy for the harbor.

The self-powered water exit was carefully calibrated.

But AuSome also required pushing in the mud and couldn't ACE.

AuSome had 4 blue & white Jemicy flags.

The pit crew was smiling through the end of the race.

Gettin Gold had a spartan design of gold pants and paint, with only a decorative green rope added.

In quest of an ACE, Gettin Gold paddled around the ACE buoy.

Gettin Gold also aced its water exit without needing any pushing.

At the mud, Gettin Gold had pit crew standing by—but the sculpture can ACE as long as no one pushes it forward.

Gettin Gold was the only Jemicy entry this year to achieve an ACE—of only 2 sculptures in the whole 2023 race.

Jemicy’s fifth entry Golden Moose entered in the Bush League, planning to bypass the water (and ineligible for ACE). It was a recumbent trike with a fat tire up front and 2 smaller tires in back.

The moose had no difficulty keeping up with the race.

By our count, including this year’s 5 entries, Jemicy has entered 71 sculptures in all 18 races held since 2004:

For their patience, ingenuity, and resourcefulness supporting all the Jemicy teams, the judges this year awarded Best Pit Crew to all 5 Jemicy entries.

Book of Platypology

David Hess’ magnificent sculpture returned as Book of Platypology, amphibiously and monotrematously evangelizing the way of the PLATYPUS (Personal Longrange All-Terrain Yacht Proven Un-Safe).

The pilot in front has no pedals, just a steering wheel.

He’s David Hess himself, who used a megaphone to broadcast the good news of Platypology.

Note the PLATYPUS’ golden halo was removed on Federal Hill due to low-clearance trees.

A crew member carried the halo separately for later reunification.

Platypology passed Fifi while she underwent repairs on Key Highway.

PLATYPUS has eight pilots whose bike pedals feed into a Suzuki Samurai transmission, which powers an automotive powertrain and tires on this beautiful kinetic beast.

With a pilot flying the PLATYPUS flag, on the water it presented a dramatic sight.

There are those who say that the Platypological Tracts borne by a pit crew member on the pier were cast into the waters shared by the Platypus not by chance, or happenstance, but by nothing other than intervention by the Platypus Creator.

One of those very Platypological Tracts, sodden by the same harbor in which the PLATYPUS itself came to pass that day, was delivered into our possession and is reproduced in its entirety here.

PLATYPUS needed towing support in the mud.

PLATYPUS has raced every year since 2005:

  • 2022 as PLATY-PUS Returns (Best Costumes)
  • 2019 as “Shark Tank (PLATYPUS)” (Engineering)
  • 2018 as Unidentified Flying Platypus (UFP) (20th Anniversary Mystery & Tall Tales)
  • 2017 as PLATYPUS Australian Cold-Cut Sub (Pilots’ Choice)
  • 2016 as The Golden Eyedra and the Elusive Πλατύπους
  • 2015 as PLATYPUS Lost in Space (2015 Space Cadet award)
  • 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)

For keeping white starched dress shirts clean throughout the race, the judges awarded Book of Platypology Best Costumes.

Wilson’s Pyramid

One of two 2023 entries that left the starting line on foot, Wilson’s Pyramid was a glittering golden Egyptian-style pyramid borne by its crew.

They started the race, and made the climb into Federal Hill.

After this sighting on Riverside Avenue, we did not spot them until the end of the race.

The judges awarded Wilson’s Pyramid Worst Honorable Mention for “the Sculpture whose half-baked theoretical ‘engineering’ did not deter its Pilot from the challenge of the race.”

We hope to see their glorious art again next year.

Steve Punk

The University of Maryland Baltimore County Fear the Gears team entered 4-pilot Steve Punk, a reprise of last year’s MC Hammerhead

Four sections connected together, each with independent propulsion and flotation.

Around Katyn circle past Four Seasons.

A nice flat front surface generates a dramatic crowd-pleasing splash. Competitors, take note!

It had plenty of buoyancy on the water. The desirability cannot be overstated of a buoyancy surplus over a deficit.

Sand was easy.

This was the eighth entry from the UMBC Kinetic Sculpture Race Team since 2006:

Through to the finish.

Ridin’ Wormy

Commemorating Richard Scarry’s Lowly Worm’s Applecar book, Ridin’ Wormy is a large apple-car driven by a colorful smiling worm.

The two pilots were labeled “baker” and “computer programmer”.

Around the cobblestones of Katyn Circle.

Banana pontoons provided plenty of flotation, with reliable stability.

They nosed past Engines & Dragons on Light Street.

One of their pilots disappeared near the end.

The solo pilot crossed the finish line.

Team Poorly Drawn Bikes entered last year as well:

They’re doing very well for only their second year!

Reverse Dog Sled

Reverse Dog Sled had an austere design bearing an exuberant dog leaping above a cargo bicycle towed by two other bicycles. It commemorated Team 1,800 Lbs acquiring a dog this year, with the dog at the reins while people do all the work.

At Canton, the cargo was revealed to be decorated foldable kayaks, which also bore the exuberant canine.

They bribed judges with chocolate delivered in a doggy bag.

Oh, right—back to the race.

Team 1,800 Lbs has now entered 14 races. Their prior entries were:

Smiling Kyle shows their Homemade Sock Creature riding the dog’s back.

Their bicycle-based design meant they traveled faster than every other team (after accounting for penalties and bonuses) and after edging out a Jemicy entry they won the 2023 Speed trophy.

Soccer Moms

Nine students in the Kinetic Sculpture Racing class at St. Paul’s School for Girls created Soccer Moms, comemorating the superwomen who form the backbone of extracurricular activities, providing mini-athletes with endless opportunities to learn, play, and slay.

Before the water entry, the pontoons rotated downward to reveal not-quite-rectangular athletic fields that held the sculpture afloat.

The 2 pilots were well out of the water, adhering to the 8% Total Body Wetness Rule:

Pilots are only allowed 8% total area of body/clothes wetness. The point here is to stay out of the Harbor waters. Therefore every effort should be made to keep bodies above the Harbor water line. Wear a good anti-perspirant.

Two wheels up front, three in the back, with moms on board.

St. Paul’s School for Girls has entered:

Through the finish line banner.

The judges awarded Soccer Moms their Judges’ Discretionary Award for continuing the St. Paul’s School tradition of entering the kinetic sculpture race after the School for Boys didn't enter this year.

Neil Mobile

Neil Mobile honored Neil Benson who co-founded the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers the year of Baltimore’s first race and passed away in January.

It was loaded with memorabilia to convey his trash-picking genius.

It’s always good to have a spare wheel.

There was congestion on the water, and they spun around in a complete circle..

The Dumpster Divers have raced since 1999, Baltimore’s first year:

For commemorating Neil as an everyday person, the judges awarded Neil Mobile the 2023 Everyday People celebrating the theme of the race.

USS Rosie the Recycler

Rosie the Recycler was a 1-pilot trike with one wheel up front, celebrating iconic Rosie inspiring ordinary people to tackle extraordinary challenges since 1943.

Note the telscoping mast.

It bore designation NCC-1701 from the National Catfish Coalition, and pilots swapped out along the racecourse.

Lateral outboard pontoons provided plenty of buoyancy

There were many white polka dots.

And there was rejoicing at the mud.

Breaking through the finish line banner.

The team provided hand-woven tote bags of hand-recycled plastic to win the Best Bribes trophy.

That trophy was was a veiled doll head atop a 5-gallon bottle filled with imitation currency

Patent Pending

With 4 pilots, Patent Pending was the first-ever entry from the Howard County Schools Application & Research Lab (ARL). They entered seeking an ACE.

It had a remarkably straightforward but effective design consisting of 4 fat tire bicycles mounted to a 4-person canoe, with an additional flotation barrel in front.

On water the bicycles were submerged but suffered no harm.

As they exited the water each pilot climbed from the canoe to their bicycle.

At the mud they started strong, and maintained their ACE.

But they lost too much momentum to the viscosity and needed to push one last foot to escape the mud, so they did not keep their ACE. But with lessons learned, we hope they have improvements to ACE next year.

They crashed gloriously through the finish line.


The American Visionary Art Museum’s iconic pink poodle in 2023 raced as Fifi Can Do It! commemorating ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Fifi broke down on Key Highway shortly after the start, and other sculptures passed her.

Back on the road she bumped along the cobblestones of Katyn Circle.

Fifi always needs pushing in the mud.

Fifi also had a personalized banner at the finish line.

Team Fifi did it!

For her exceptionally prompt failure on Key Highway, the judges awarded Fifi the Golden Dinosaur trophy for the first sculpture to break down or most memorable breakdown.

2 Bee or Not 2 Bee

With 2 pilots and a bold apian theme, Nova Labs of Fairfax, Virginia raced 2 Bee or Not 2 Bee

Paper was a curious choice for the front of the sculpture; watch as it progresses.

The 4 barrels below provided plenty of literal buoyancy, while the many inflated balloons above provided spiritual buoyancy.

A great deal of pushing was required through the mud.

They crashed through the finish line exhuberantly.

This is Nova Labs’ third entry, following


With 2 pilots, CLAWdia is an anatomically proportionate blue crab made primarily of repurposed soda bottles and spite.

CLAWdia included iconic representations of Old Bay seasoning (with red tops and a blue stripe on rectangular yellow canisters) and National Bohemian beer (with the one-eyed handlebar moustache logo).

CLAWdia stayed tethered to the pier for safety but had plenty of flotation.

Narrow tires needed a lot of cheerful pushing through the sand.

And the team pushing through the mud also had no lack of enthusiasm.

This is the team’s second entry; last year they entered:

The CLAWdia team, with Baltimore-themed crab hats.

Nanster Truck

The other team that started the race on foot brought a vehicle made of pool noodles and 4 inner tubes that had no drive train other than the pilots’ feet, Flintstones-style.

On the water, the pilots switched to swimming, and clearly violated the rule that pilots are allowed only 8% total area of body/clothes wetness.

For some reason, an additional pilot used a strap to help tow the sculputre from the front while others propelled it from inside.

The same approach made more sense at the mud.

This was their fourth entry:

Their pit crew wore Americana-themed costumes.

For this most ridiculous harbor passage, the judges awarded them the Golden Flipper award.

Opening Ceremony & Start

The Ravens Pep Band started the opening ceremonies.

Last year’s reigning champions Chronosaurus Rex who returned this year as Engines & Dragons were officially present as the almost-eternal Kinetic flame was reignited.

Sister Euphonia O’Blivion gave a rousing blessing De Feet of all Kinetinauts.

Not shown: Music for Everyone Community Chorus and Ukelele Uprising from Lancaster, PA also sang and played from the AVAM balcony but we couldn't get good photos from below.

Here’s an eight-minute video of the start of the race, including how our photographer at the starting line missed the first few entries moving the sawhorse to open the racecourse.


Each year, the Baltimore City Fire Department provides escort and emergency medical services on land and water. But this year, they also provided rescue services when the kinetic fire truck Engines & Dragons capsized Poseidon Adventure–style. The race is all fun, almost all the time. But these sculptures are big, heavy machines, and sometimes things happen requiring emergency intervention. Thank you, BCFD!

We also thank the Baltimore City Police Department for working to ensure sculptures safely pass through city traffic.

Volunteers, Spectators & Crew

These people came prepared for the race.

You can help the 2024 race! Join the volunteer email list!

The Kinetic Baltimore Team

Photos on are brought to you by hard work from our All-Terrain Photography Team:

  • Amy Swackhamer
  • Frank Conlan
  • Johanna Goderre
  • Rich Wilke
  • Mac MacKenzie
  • Tom Jones
  • Derrick Dasenbrock
  • Howard Wellman (not shown)

The judges awarded the Kinetic Baltimore team the Spirit of the Glorious Founder for our hard work to document and publicize the race.

We love you, Baltimore.

Show individual pages
  1. Grand Champion: Mr. Jon Dig-It
  2. Cut Out to be Royal
  3. Engines & Dragons
  4. Scrap Life
  5. Happy Campers
  6. Tick Tock the Croc
  7. Working Hard, or Bearly Working?
  8. Jemicy: The Big 50, Good As Gold, AuSome, Gettin Gold, & Golden Moose
  1. Book of Platypology
  2. Wilson’s Pyramid
  3. Steve Punk
  4. Ridin’ Wormy
  5. Reverse Dog Sled
  6. Soccer Moms
  7. Neil Mobile
  8. USS Rosie the Recycler
  9. Patent Pending
  1. Fifi
  2. 2 Bee or Not 2 Bee
  3. CLAWdia
  4. Nanster Truck
  5. Opening Ceremony & Start
  6. Thanks!
  7. Volunteers, Spectators & Crew
  8. The Kinetic Baltimore Team
4/19/2024 5:15:36 PM   4/19/2024 10:20:02 PM   1:7   2:1   3:1   4:2   5:   6:   7:3   8:1   9:1   10:   11:2   12:1   13:1   14:1   15:1   16:1   17:1   18:1   19:2   20:1   21:2   22:1   23:1   24:1   25:1   AllInOne:2
The Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race is sponsored and run by the American Visionary Art Museum. is the volunteer work of Tom Jones.
If you have suggestions about making this site better, or questions, e-mail Tom at