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The winner of the 2024 Kinetic Grand Championship: HumBULLdt Pie Factory
Competing for the glory at the annual Kinetic Grand Championship
Ryenne Kile and Taya HolmesJune 12, 2024

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Competing for the glory at the annual Kinetic Grand Championship

Ryenne Kile
The winner of the 2024 Kinetic Grand Championship: HumBULLdt Pie Factory

The 2024 annual Kinetic Race took place over Memorial Day Weekend. It launched on Saturday, May 25 at 12:07 p.m. from the Arcata Plaza and concluded on Monday, May 27 at 4:37 p.m. on Ferndale’s Main Street. 

The Kinetic Sculpture Race, aka the “triathlon of the art world” is a Humboldt County tradition that began in 1969 by founder and metal sculptor Hobart Brown. The three-day event is a race across Humboldt County in artfully constructed bicycle-like sculptures. The racers face town roads, beaches, trails, rivers, and highways. Some of the main features include Dead Man’s Drop in Samoa, where sculptures and their pilots must brave a steep hill in the dunes, the Humboldt Bay, where they must be able to float and move quickly around the Bay, and the Loleta Hill, which racers must struggle up but then can embrace the thrilling joyride down the other side. 

If the teams, or solo Kinetic racers, meet all the requirements for the entire duration of the race, they earn what is called an “ace.” A handful of other awards can be received, such as Grand Champion, Best Crash, First Loser, Fan Favorite, and Most Mediocre. In the end, all teams are competing “for the glory,” which is the saying of the Kinetic Grand Championship. But each team had different ideas of what glory meant to them. Here are some of their visions of glory and what brought them to the race this year to get their glory.

“Welcome to the Polka Dot Party,” a team pilot said. The Tempest Fugitives Polka Dot Party team had been broken up recently but was brought back together to race this year by pilot Nadia Smith. 

“My family was always super involved and got me hooked,” Smith said. 

Their sculpture was unique with its assortment of colorful polka dots and a skillfully crafted spinning part at the front.

Smith and her team presented themselves as a less competitive team and instead just ready to have as much fun as possible together and make the most of every moment of the race.

When asked what their vision of glory was for their race over the weekend, Kaiya Grubb, a pit crew member and senior at Arcata High School, said, “Getting a goddamn ace […] and the experience.”  

The team performed well and had a good time, making it across the finish line in time, with smiles in the end, and with their sculpture fully intact.

“We are team Pedal Snappers. We came up with it because last year, Lochlan’s team snapped a pedal,” Team Captain Ava Tempelaere said.

Their sculpture, Robin Curd and Little Swiss, which was a play on Robin Hood, featured a block of cheese and two mice, one brown and one gray, riding on the top.

The team consisted of high school students, many from Arcata High, who had fundraised and constructed for months leading up to the event.

Although the team was confident, and eager, their race ended only shortly after it had begun when a tire blew up only a few blocks from the starting place on the Plaza.

They completed the race, however, by strapping their mice sculptures to their backs and riding across the Ferndale finish line together on the final day of the race.

“I think we already have achieved some level of glory just by being here,” Tempelaere said about her team’s vision of glory.

Team for Shifts and Giggles caught quite the attention of the audience. A race-car style sculpture equipped with a life-size bull figure sitting on a large toilet sculpture that blew fire, it was a great eye-catcher for the audience. Their team name was a play on the popular saying, “for shits and giggles.”

Pilot and AHS sophomore Glen Frame explained the inspiration behind their unique sculpture design by saying, “We have a cow and a giant toilet and the idea is that we are shifting the paradigm towards using methane instead of fossil fuels.”

This team was also composed of AHS students, all of who were in their second year participating in kinetics.

“Last year, we joined a club at Arcata High and Six Rivers, and we raced the Tempest Fugitives machine and now we decided we wanted to branch off and build our own machine, so that’s what we did,” pilot and junior Bodhi Jennings said.

The team faced some challenges, like having to replace some blown-up parts of their sculpture in the middle of the first day and having to be towed twice during the last day due to a lack of remaining time.

“It cut [Bodhi’s] sock and gave him a very nasty cut on the back of his leg,” said Frame when explaining their repair process on the first day.

In the end, For Shifts and Giggles managed to have fun and cross the finish line.

“My favorite part of our sculpture is my fire because it’s fire and it goes ZWOOOMPHFFF. But I’m a bit biased because I really like fire,” pilot and sophomore Rowan Magnuson said.

The adoptable dog float was another attractive sculpture, especially because of the adoptable dogs that followed behind it on the Plaza in Arcata. It showcased an adorable, black dog stretched across the top of the sculpture. On the rear underside hung two tennis balls and in the front, Sparky the dog held a large tennis ball in his mouth.

“We are Sparky the Kinetic Foster Dog. We are associated with Redwood Pals Rescue which helps unadoptable dogs at the county shelter get to the point where they are adoptable,” the team captain said.

Sparky’s team was not only there to race, but also to support local dogs in need of homes and advocate for a reduction of the pet population.

“This year we are FUR the glory […] Sparky gets neutered next week to help reduce the pet population,” the team captain said.

Team Speed Goat, formerly known as Udder Nonsense, was a red and white goat-themed race car-built sculpture with great speed and creative hand-drawn artwork.

After a great first year in 2023, the Speed Goats hoped to do just as well as they performed last year, if not better.

“My vision of glory is to maintain our ace and hopefully make it through the dunes because that was rough last year,” pilot and AHS junior Amira Wanden said.

Team Discotronic explained how their name came about naturally since they are “all about fun,” a team pilot said.

“We were inspired by music, and we wanted something kind of futuristic, the word just kind of came about,” another pilot said.

Their sculpture was its own representation of Discotronic’s vision of glory. 

“Sparkles […] shimmer, shiny,” the pilot said.

The sculpture flaunted shiny sides, hanging disco balls, moving signs, and a giant speaker in the back. Their sparkly jumpsuit costumes matched the overall vibe of the Discotronic sculpture.

Team Reptile Dysfunction featured a joke bit that they stuck to for the entirety of the interview. 

“We’re here today to raise awareness around reptile dysfunction, which is a very serious issue in our society. It doesn’t often come up in conversation, but it’s very important that we bring it up, or it’s never going to get cured,” a pit crew member said.

The Reptile Dysfunction sculpture, team number 420, had a large, moving lizard head attached to the front and a long, scaled tail dragging along behind. Meanwhile, their team – racers and pit crew alike – were dressed in doctor costumes.

The team was very adamant about advocating for solving the issue of reptile dysfunction. They were so dedicated to their cause that it was their vision of glory. 

“Our vision of glory today is to cure reptile dysfunction everywhere throughout the world by raising awareness about the different types of reptile dysfunctions,” a pit crew member said. 

Reptile Dysfunction was passing out blue pills (that were really just a piece of candy) that the team developed to solve the problem of reptile dysfunction.

Another cheery and fun team was Grateful Squid. 

“It’s a play on the Grateful Dead, so a lot of those hippy themes: tie-dye, rock music, skulls, yeah, no one said marijuana […] no one said that,” team pilot Andrea said.

The sculpture had a giant red and blue squid with moving legs and eyes mounted to the top and skulls hanging from the side. Their team wore matching, blue tie-dye costumes and red squid hats.

The team showed extreme excitement for getting to work together as a team and making friends with the other racers.

“Just having a great time, bringing people together for teamwork, and leading with compassion and having fun, and a little bit of glory, […] and kicking some glory-ass,” team pilot Greg said.

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About the Contributors
Ryenne Kile
Ryenne Kile, Opinion Editor
Ryenne Kile is a reporter for the school newspaper, The Pepperbox. She reports on current events and issues taking place in the school and in the community. She is in her senior year at Arcata High School. She has previously completed multiple advanced English courses and a creative writing class, which have significantly improved her writing throughout high school. She enjoys demonstrating school spirit while attending school sporting and social events, which she is looking forward to reporting on for The Pepperbox newspaper.
Taya Holmes
Taya Holmes, Copy Editor
Taya Holmes is a reporter for The Pepperbox. This is her first year on The Pepperbox and she looks forward to learning more about journalism, but she has had much experience with writing in her AP Lang class last year. She eagerly anticipates writing on many different topics and types of stories. She is a senior at Arcata High School and is excited for college next year. She loves to go to the beach, hang out with friends, bake, and spend time with her dogs. You can contact her by email.
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