Volume I, Number 2, Winter 2005

© Copyright 2004


Excerpts from Various Humboldt County Newspapers on the
Kinetic Sculpture Race

Ted Suggs aka Retired Colonel Pierre Thunderbritches of the French Foreign Legion presiding over the Kinetic Wedding

It's Kinetic Time Again
by Daniel Beaulieu
of the "Humboldt Beacon"

Moving into it's 34th year with the vigor of a race only half its age, the Kinetic Sculpture Race… gets underway on May 26 from the Arcata Plaza and finishes up on Brown Street in Ferndale on May 28. Once again, artistic mathem will prevail as racers and their kinetic creations triumph (or not) over 38 miles of roadway, mudway sand, and sea….
The race has come a longway from its beginnings in 1969 when Ferndale artist (and Glorious Founder) Hobart Brown constructed a mobile sculpture out of his son's tricycle. Nowadays, the race claims national and international attention. It has spawned at least nine other races, ranging in location from Boulder, CO, to Poland.
"We're like a growth you can't get medication for," Brown said. "As the Kinetic Race spreads, so does the philosophy…. If everyone pulls together…it works."
This philosophy of pulling together in the name of something unique and fun winds up benefiting everybody that gets involved. The event brings an estimated $2 million in revenue to Humboldt County annually….
All the attention this "triathlon of the art world" draws lends itself well to establishing Humboldt County as a place of art. Coverage from national TV and print, far too many to list, brings much needed and deserved recognition to our region, and the artists it supports….
By the same token, the community must be the savior of the arts. Volunteer and community action has always been essential to making the race a success. One such volunteer, (SDMA Artists Guild Board Member) Ted Suggs, aka Ret. Col. Pierre Thunderbritches, has created the race poster for the last 10 years, as well as performed "official" duties for the event. Since the costs are carried by sponsors, advertising, and donation, it is extremely important for people like Ted to donate their time and talent….
Putting on an event of this magnitude has never been a simple task. This year's race will have over 100 volunteers organizing and running the show….
Further information about the Humboldt Kinetic Association can be found at http://kineticsculpturerace.org.

Retired Colonel Pierre Thunderbritches of the French Foreign Legion

Entropy arrives right on time
by Bruce Hamilton
of the "Arcata Eye"

"We're not ready, but it doesn't matter. Because Saturday morning at 9, we're done!" - Ken Beidleman, May 13, 2002, at Race minus 11 days and counting with his extraordinary mechanical masterpiece completely disassembled and in disarray.

Pierre Thunderbritches and his Racing Machine

Glory to the Racers
by James Faulk
of the "Eureka Times Standard"

FERNADLE - Dripping with mud, rain and sweat from a weekend of well-earned glory, kinetic racers streaked, limped and hobbled across the finish line Monday after a difficult adventure.
The "Dastardly Razooly." the force of evil and chaos that often complicates the race was especially active this year.
"The Razooly, this year really caused havoc," said outgoing 2001 Rutabaga Queen Denise Ryles. "He is the force of evil within this kinetic madness."
Razooly's most underhanded deed this year involved planting cow manure at "Slippery, Slimy, Slope," causing a momentary health hazard and slightly delaying the race.
Still, dung and a steady rain did nothing to discourage spectators from coming out to root for their kinetic heroes and heroines.
Hundreds gathered on the sidewalks, some dressed in festive attire, cheering as the human powered machines made their way to the end of a roughly 40-mile course that led up treacherous slopes, across and down sand dunes, north through the treacherous waters of a seething Humboldt Bay and finally down the straight shot of Main Street.
At around 1 p.m., the first machine to cross the finish line after a complete race was the "Hobo-mobile," piloted by students from Eureka High School's Environmental and Spatial Technology Lab.
"It was totally hard. It was one of the most fun experiences I've ever had, but it was difficult, too," said 10th grade pilot Matt Fouche.
He and freshman co-pilot Tayte Nelson said the race was full of challenges.
"The sand was the first one, and that was really difficult…and that drained a lot of energy out, and the second one was the water…. At the very end, there was a huge slope with a bunch of cow poo all over it and that was just gross. I don't think I've ever done anything quite this hard."
Long-time race personality Ted Suggs said the race went well with the new management and course changes. The Humboldt Kinetic Association, a group of local non-profit groups, bought the race from founder Hobart Brown late last year.
"It was a lively crowd, and we had a good audience, and now it's raining," he said, adding that the weather was no impediment. "You know, you race even if the sun shines.
Going in front of Eureka's new waterfront boardwalk for the first time this year provided spectators with a good view.
"We had our own natural grand stands. They could see it well from the outside looking in." Suggs said.
Fans also got a good look on Main Street.
"I love it, the originality of the people, the fact that everyone's out here even though it's raining…. It doesn't matter how they finish, it's the ingenuity in making these darn things that's nice," said fan and Ferndale resident Gene Daniels.
Roughly 40 machines pedaled their way from Arcata to Ferndale as part of the race.

back to top