Crowds of kinetic sculpture enthusiasts, dressed in every Krazy Kostume imaginable from chickens, to “mediocre” superheroes, to steampunk icons, and queens and kings of all kinds, descended on Port Townsend on Oct. 6 and 7 for the 36th annual Port Townsend Bay Kinetic Race.
More than 200 spectators gathered outside the Northwest Maritime Center to watch the first part of the race Saturday as kinetic racers came from as far as California to participate.
After having their vessels inspected by the judges for their aesthetic qualities, braking ability, and the necessary “teddy bear” (which, as per the rulebook, must be visible on the sculpture at all times), 15 sculptures drove down Monroe Street and into the Port Townsend Bay for the “water kourse.”
The sculptures were superhero themed, but with a slight twist, such as “Rider-Man” or the “Mediocre Jokers.”
Most completed the water kourse with ease – except one, who set out on its maiden voyage only to be drug out of the bay, soaking wet and a little disappointed – and went on to compete in the sand pit and the mud kourse the next day.
At Fort Worden State Park on Sunday, the rain had dispelled the size of the crowd, but the racers were nonetheless enthusiastic. First, they had to steal a rubber chicken from a heavily guarded chicken coop on the beach, and then drive their sculptures through the sand, going over a sand “speed bump.”
Then, they drove down to their most difficult challenge: making it through a pit of mud at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. Thanks to the morning’s steady drizzle, the pit was several feet deep and no racer got through without getting totally mud-soaked. (In fact, some chose to get mud-soaked just for fun.)
The racers then paraded on San Juan Avenue, heading back to the American Legion Hall, where their award ceremony was held and the winners were announced.
The most coveted prize was the “mediocrity award,” for the team that finished not first, not last, but smack dab in the middle. That award went to the Goin’ Chelonian, a four-person team from Portland, Oregon, whose sculpture was noticeable to spectators by the giant green turtle on top.
Eight of the 15 teams were “Master Winners,” which means they were able to finish the course under their own power, without breaking any of the rules. Those teams included three teams from Oregon, Rider-Man, Goin’ Chelonian, and Star Power; the Mediocre Jokers from Gig Harbor, Family Trap Man from California, and three local teams, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Super-Moi and She-Devil.