Beauty In Motion

The 32nd annual Kinetic Sculpture Race is indeed a race, but as the word “sculpture” suggests, it’s really not about the racing. “There’s certainly a recognition of who’s the fastest,” says Paul Bailey, a kineticist who’s been involved with the race since its inception in Boulder all those years ago. “But the overall champion has to do well in all the categories. Some people might excel at bribing the judges, for example.”

Really, it’s about the machines: elaborate contraptions capable of traveling over land and water at mind-bending golf-cart-like speeds. Most of the points are in the categories Bailey mentioned, which include Sculpture (the look of the machine); Engineering (in which Rube Goldberg-type overkill is highly encouraged); Style (the costuming of the teams); and, of course, Bribing — yes, that’s an actual category. (According to Bailey, most bribes involve food or trinkets related to the team’s theme, suggesting that actual money might pull a lot of weight.) But the gist, he says, is that it’s “human-powered art.”

Watch it go today starting at 8 a.m. at Union Reservoir in Longmont, with opening ceremonies kicking off at 9:30. The race starts at 10:30 and lasts until noon; from there, stick around for kids’ activities, crafts and live music until 2 p.m., all for the low price of $8 per carload or $2 per person on foot, bike, sculpture or otherwise. For tickets or more information, visit
Sat., Aug. 27, 9:30 a.m., 2011

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte