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Winners of the 2003 East Coast Kinetic Sculpture Race

Team Bedlam planned to finish the race and just have fun

Team Bedlam won the coveted Mediocre Award in the fifth annual East Coast National Kinetic Sculpture Race. Maggie Creshkoff and Bobby Hansson, both artists from Rising Sun, MD. are pro's at Kinetic Sculpture Racing. They won the Mediocre Award the first year the race was held in Baltimore and have competed in every race since. They say they mainly focused on finishing the race and having fun in this year's event.

"You have to be nuts to do this kind of race" says Creshkoff at a stop in Patterson Park. With the help of Bill Lepley, an artist and welder from Pennsylvania, Creshkoff said it took about two weeks to put the sculpture together. Creshkoff says that during the race she and Hansson had help from "a loyal group of friends called the Leaping Beaver Race team."

Creshkoff and Hansson have also won the Speed and Best Pit Crew Awards in past races. In fact, this year, Hansson's brother Jim Hansson won the Ace Pilot Award.

What is impressive about the Kinetic Sculpture Race and entirely appropriate for this kind of event is that the first sculpture to cross the finish line is not the winner. The grand prize is awarded to the pilot that finishes in the middle (appropriately called the Mediocre Award). "Hobart Brown['s] philosophy is that we are all losers [so] lighten up and spread peace and joy," says George Hallameyer of the Madhatters. His team built a 10-foot-high Victorian teapot out of chicken wire and paper mache.

Long time competitor, Jefferey Bartolomeo worked with students of Carver High School to build a 12-foot-high volcano and says "it took them [students] some time to comprehend the concept of a race which awards not the first competitor to cross the finish line, but the most mediocre."

The winners of the Mediocre Award receives a chance to compete in the World Championships in Ferndale, California- the birth place of Kinetic Sculpture Racing. In Ferndale the winner will receive a classic 1957 Rambler car, not very mediocre in the least.

Everyone participating in the race receives some form of recognition or award. “The awards were made by the volunteers,” says Baltimore resident and volunteer Paula Waterman.

The concept for Kinetic Sculpture Racing emerged when in 1969 artist Hobart Brown decided to make his son’s tricycle into a moving sculpture, according to the Kinetic Sculpture Race's Web site. His idea sparked a

competitive spirit and led to a bet over who could build the strangest entirely human-powered sculpture. Metal sculptor Bob Brown won the event in a 10- foot turtle. Brown was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 by a professor at Humboldt State University in California according to an article by The Morning Call.

There are over 10 different awards given out to competitors in the race. From the People's Choice Award to the Spirit and Glorious Founder Award almost everyone receives something. For the official awards tally visit the AVAM Web site.

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Fun at the Opening Ceremonies: Mud Doctors, Kinetic Kops and Kinetinauts were out in full force Saturday April 26 dressed in their most party-like attire for the fifth annual National East Coast Kinetic Sculpture Race, hosted by the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore.

Let the Race Begin: AVAM's Kinetic Sculpture Race: from setting and testing the vehicles to awarding the winners.