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Re: Idea to Expand Participation

Posted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:42 pm
by the cook
>>>Do you really think Zoo or Pika will offer wheels to the masses?


I might if I have to watch much more of that shit

Re: Idea to Expand Participation

Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:44 am
by hauser
People have suggested opening the rosters of Greek teams to allow non-members to push for them. I don't understand this suggestion. How is this a Greek team and not an independent team that happens to draw its members primarily from a single fraternity/sorority? Similarly, why do Greek organizations only try to set up "independent" racing teams when they are facing disciplinary action (Fishing Club, Kool Dudes Racing) when it appears to be to their advantage in terms of both recruitment and funding to do this all the time?

Membership of a Greek team is currently defined differently for pushers and drivers than it is for mechanics; a fraternity can have women push or drive but not design and construct buggies, and similar for sororities and men. It seems like the explicit exemption for the opposite gender should be extended to mechanics as well.

Finally, how much can we actually expand participation among CMU students? This year, 48 teams entered, so 240 pushers participated. Adding some drivers and mechanics who didn't push, it's still less than 300 people total. If we somehow are able to return fraternity participation to its level from 10 years ago without decreasing independent involvement, we might be able to get to 350. Is that what we mean by "expand participation"? Maybe we should instead try to expand the pool of eligible participants, for example by allowing students at other universities (i.e. Pitt students) to compete as well.

Re: Idea to Expand Participation

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:51 am
by shafeeq
CMU has 6300 undergrads (and an equal number of grad students who, except for those who were CMU undergrads, will never care about buggy). So we have 4% of the eligible students, which sounds like a lot. But peak buggy was 1988 with 72 entries, and it stayed above 60 for much of the 90's. So almost 10% of the (then smaller) university.

Stronger teams are good, but we need more teams. Each team pulls from a different recruiting pool - the independents each appeal to a different kind of person, and PiKA takes different pledges than PhiDelt does. It may be that everyone who seriously wants to participate in buggy has already found a team. But there's all the people who want to do something (buggy/booth/whatever) and happen to land in buggy because the rest of their social group does it. E.g. the Greeks who don't particularly love buggy, but show up to fill out a push team because their more buggy-serious brothers persuaded them. Where do the freshmen who would've pledged KDR go now? A non-buggy house? Or not Greek at all? Either way, they're a demographic that is lost to buggy.

The membership requirements came about to prevent a strong Greek team from getting even stronger. That's not the main concern now, so, sure, allow free choice of pushers for everyone and if it creates a monster, deal with it then. It only requires convincing one independent that it's in their interest to vote for the rule change next year. But would the Greek alumni really be happy when a Greek team wins with a lineup that includes no Greeks?

It used to be that Greeks could get $1000 for their buggy programs with no strings, I don't know if that's changed - certainly funding for independents was tighter when I last paid attention than it is now. Parity would require the student senate to change their policies, but I would think the Greeks have sufficient pull there. But for full parity, Greek buggy programs should be subject to all the same strings that the independents are, which might have undesired consequences - the Fishing Club can't refuse anyone who shows up wanting to be a mechanic. Though nobody seems to use that trick to get into independent buggy rooms.

So we have PhiKap, DTD, DU, and Beta as ex-powerhouse teams with alumni who remember their glory days. Are open rosters, funding, and a starter buggy enough to lure them back into the field?

The teams that put in the bare minimum qualifying effort this year drove reasonably well - SigEp's mechanical failures wouldn't have been prevented by giving their drivers more practice. Despite the lack of practice days last spring, 2015 wouldn't have had a unusual number of crashes if not for the wet roads. To me, that says the last-minute teams are getting in enough practice for the speeds they go. Maybe they could get by with even less. More practice helps the serious teams get faster, which is why it is worth the effort to them to get up for every practice. But a small team that can't round up enough bodies for a day misses out and never gets to catch up. Every freeroll practice costs money and effort (from everyone) regardless of how many teams show up. Fewer practices would lower the difference between least & most experienced driver. If they knew they'd have to race with little practice, serious teams might make different design decisions, or learn how to make the most of the practice they get.

Wheel escalation is a good way to transfer money from teams to vendors' pockets, but it is an area of useful innovation, without which buggy becomes boring. $600 to ZE seems a fair cost to step up to the fast table, especially considering that the (unpaid) labor that goes into building a buggy is an order of magnitude larger and the difference between best & worst buggies is smaller than between the best & worst wheels.

Re: Idea to Expand Participation

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:02 am
by buggypusher
hauser wrote:People have suggested opening the rosters of Greek teams to allow non-members to push for them. I don't understand this suggestion. How is this a Greek team and not an independent team that happens to draw its members primarily from a single fraternity/sorority?


The idea is that Greeks could still claim the win for their fraternity (and thus appease the alumni and instill pride for the whole house, not just the buggy contingent) while having the same (more loose) restrictions on pushers that Independents do.

If pusher restrictions were loosened up for Greeks, it would be up to the Greek team to decide how much of their push team they want to be from their own house. Obviously some alums will be miffed if the majority of a push team is non-affiliated, but it may be the only option to get the Greeks back to the top tier of competition.

Membership of a Greek team is currently defined differently for pushers and drivers than it is for mechanics; a fraternity can have women push or drive but not design and construct buggies, and similar for sororities and men. It seems like the explicit exemption for the opposite gender should be extended to mechanics as well.


That is certainly a possibility as well.

shafeeq wrote:It may be that everyone who seriously wants to participate in buggy has already found a team.

For people who are actively interested in pursuing buggy, I'd say so.

The problem is the majority of the campus these days doesn't even know what buggy is (they know it exists, but they don't know what buggies look like, the course, etc.). Furthermore in my experience once you get a new person out to rolls or push practice just once there is a decent chance they'll become more interested in buggy, buggy is infectious like that. I know plenty of people who got roped in by a friend of a friend during sophomore or junior year and end up being super obsessed with buggy.

The problem is convincing people to come out at 7am or 11pm in the first place.

Where do the freshmen who would've pledged KDR go now? A non-buggy house? Or not Greek at all? Either way, they're a demographic that is lost to buggy.


The university's war on fraternities certainly has aided heavily in the decline of buggy participation. It really doesn't help that now 6 of the 8 largest Greek orgs (>80 members each) are sororities.... none of which seem to be willing to start a team, and all of which have a spot on the Greek Quad (which is absolutely essential for any Greek house to grow to large membership).

But would the Greek alumni really be happy when a Greek team wins with a lineup that includes no Greeks?


This is the tradeoff of opening up restrictions for pushers (or even mechanics as Ben Hauser suggested).

So we have PhiKap, DTD, DU, and Beta as ex-powerhouse teams with alumni who remember their glory days. Are open rosters, funding, and a starter buggy enough to lure them back into the field?


AFAIK Beta lost their charter (and haven't regained it), PhiKap doesn't exist, and DU if it even still exists has a membership of less than 20.

DTD is moderately large (not SigEp or PhiDelt large though), however they've refused to participate in Buggy since Delta Force in 2011-2012. Maybe sometime soon there will be enough interest among the members though, especially since they've moved onto the Greek Quad.

Sigma Chi is also moving onto the Greek Quad next year (replacing KapSig), so maybe there's hope there too.

SigEp's mechanical failures wouldn't have been prevented by giving their drivers more practice.


Maybe they could've been prevented if they used their Raceday wheels and bearings even once during rolls the entire year... or given their drivers more practice with full-speed hill 2 shoves...

To me, that says the last-minute teams are getting in enough practice for the speeds they go.


Other than SigEp (and that's just this year, they seem to have had more practice in past years) I'd agree.

Every freeroll practice costs money and effort (from everyone) regardless of how many teams show up.

The only cost for the non-attending teams is the chores they have to do when quorum (>= half the teams show up for practice) is reached. The monetary cost of police officers and road permits is covered by the Sweepstakes budget which in turn is funded by the JFC which draws from the Student Activities Fee. I suppose every day of freerolls maybe adds a few cents to the activities fee.... which is paid by almost the entire undergraduate student body, not just the buggy team members.

Fewer practices would lower the difference between least & most experienced driver. If they knew they'd have to race with little practice, serious teams might make different design decisions, or learn how to make the most of the practice they get.


Are you suggesting we reduce the number of freeroll practices to even the playing field? That would be, in theory, lowering the level of the top competition down closer to the bottom feeders. Teams which are too small and miss a day shouldn't be pandered to, they should be encouraged to get more members involved so they don't miss days.

Teams should be rewarded for their diligence and attendance. The teams which have an active interest in discovering the secrets of wheel prep, perfecting driver lines, mastering pushing/transitions, etc. should have as much opportunity to improve as possible in my opinion.

Wheel escalation is a good way to transfer money from teams to vendors' pockets, but it is an area of useful innovation, without which buggy becomes boring. $600 to ZE seems a fair cost to step up to the fast table, especially considering that the (unpaid) labor that goes into building a buggy is an order of magnitude larger and the difference between best & worst buggies is smaller than between the best & worst wheels.


Agreed on all counts.

Re: Idea to Expand Participation

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:08 pm
by Elmo Zoneball
buggypusher wrote:
The problem is the majority of the campus these days doesn't even know what buggy is (they know it exists, but they don't know what buggies look like, the course, etc.). Furthermore in my experience once you get a new person out to rolls or push practice just once there is a decent chance they'll become more interested in buggy, buggy is infectious like that. I know plenty of people who got roped in by a friend of a friend during sophomore or junior year and end up being super obsessed with buggy.

The problem is convincing people to come out at 7am or 11pm in the first place.


This is an issue that's worth drilling down on more:

Sweepstakes needs better outreach/publicity to the undergrads at CMU.

To get people to come out at 7 AM, you have to get their attention at normal times of the day/evening.

Have a parade of buggies around the Cut every Friday afternoon before FR, have a info table set up, with handouts; and web-links to videos of the races, and interviews with excited Buggy enthusiasts waxing eloquent over how cool the sport is.

Offer demo driving experiences, in the old SAE limo if you have to, but let people get inside a buggy and feel what it is like to be pushed and to steer the beast on the sidewalks or in a parking lot. Likewise, let prospective pushers feel what it is like to push a buggy/driver around. You have to do this when normal people are available, not a 7AM, or midnight for push practice.

Publish FR schedules each week in the Tartan, and include last week's Buggy report with FR speed data on each team/buggy. Include photos, links to the videos on the BAA website, etc. There should be a specific job for a publicist?PR person on the Sweepstakes committee whose job it is to do these things, and dream up new ways to reach out and get the campus more interested in Buggy, especially with the 100th Anniversary of Sweepstakes coming up soon. That event should be a city-wide or even Western PA wide publicity operation.

Outreach, outreach, outreach. It has to be relentless, The purpose is not only to attract more talent, but also to attract more SPECTATORS.

Long Range plan: somebody build a two person demo buggy (cheap simple design, with two push bars for two pushers at a time?) just like the two person Indy car, and give rides at FR to people who want to feel what it is like to experience going 30+ mph 2" off the pavement through Schenley Park. It would also be an awesome driver training device, to teach the course to rookie drivers before turning them loose on their own to terrorize the flaggers.

Re: Idea to Expand Participation

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:13 pm
by Zatchmo
buggypusher wrote:Long Range plan: somebody build a two person demo buggy (cheap simple design, with two push bars for two pushers at a time?) just like the two person Indy car, and give rides at FR to people who want to feel what it is like to experience going 30+ mph 2" off the pavement through Schenley Park. It would also be an awesome driver training device, to teach the course to rookie drivers before turning them loose on their own to terrorize the flaggers.


As the friendly local alum, I would be happy to do some nonsense like that if I had any confidence in the university and Sweepstakes to do the legwork of more road closure time and how to cover something like that liability wise. But we all know that whoever tried to push that through would only be signing themselves up for misery, and a probable shot the buggy would never (legally) hit the course. Forget the double pushbars, you only need to walk it back up the hills. People care about the freeroll.

Limo is mine as well right now, I would clean that up, put the nails back in and make that work (more likely I would just make a new coffin-with-wheels and let people play with that).

Re: Idea to Expand Participation

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:55 pm
by jeremytuttle
Those publicity ideas seem like the easiest and least controversial way to improve participation and visibility. Like Elmo said, Getting proper Buggy reports into The Tartan is a great first step-- compare the content you'd imagine in a good weekly page to this cringe-worthy raceday report. With some keen observation at rolls, a few quick interviews every week, and the new freeroll timing system in place, I could see year-long narratives taking shape around different teams, buggies, and even drivers. Who's picking up surprising speed? Who's having trouble with the chute? While we're partway there with the rolls reports on this site, they're a bit too dry to be enjoyed by anyone but an enthusiast. To expand the audience, it should have a bit of journalistic flair, and convey genuine enthusiasm for Buggy. Make it clear to everyone on campus that Buggy is something they are expected to know about, and then show them that it's something worth caring about too.

Re: Idea to Expand Participation

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 7:53 pm
by Elmo Zoneball
Zatchmo wrote:
buggypusher wrote:Long Range plan: somebody build a two person demo buggy (cheap simple design, with two push bars for two pushers at a time?) just like the two person Indy car, and give rides at FR to people who want to feel what it is like to experience going 30+ mph 2" off the pavement through Schenley Park. It would also be an awesome driver training device, to teach the course to rookie drivers before turning them loose on their own to terrorize the flaggers.


As the friendly local alum, I would be happy to do some nonsense like that if I had any confidence in the university and Sweepstakes to do the legwork of more road closure time and how to cover something like that liability wise. But we all know that whoever tried to push that through would only be signing themselves up for misery, and a probable shot the buggy would never (legally) hit the course. Forget the double pushbars, you only need to walk it back up the hills. People care about the freeroll.

Limo is mine as well right now, I would clean that up, put the nails back in and make that work (more likely I would just make a new coffin-with-wheels and let people play with that).


For the record, I wrote that, not "buggypusher."

Probably the easiest way to get the double buggy PR ride on the course is for Sweepstakes to claim it as their own, and just put it in the FR rotation, with the proviso that anybody riding in it has to first sign their life away with w/ legal release that gets everyone off the hook, "assumption of known risk," advised that death and serious injury could result, hold harmless etc.

IOW, don't tell the school anything. It's just another buggy. In fact, it's the new Safety-oriented "Driver Training Buggy" that holds two people.*

It's easier to get forgiveness than it is to get permission.

* Design options for two person buggy:

1) tandem -- passenger has chin in driver's ass-crack: smells bad, and visibility sucks. No good.

2) "Doggy-style" -- passenger stacked on top of driver -- smells better, and has better visibility, but raises Cg too much; likely handling problems in the corner. No good.

3) side-by-side position -- driver in pilot's seat, passenger in co-pilot seat. Low Cg, good visibility, doesn't smell bad. Weight increase will probably require more tire to get it around corner at speed. I'd just mount two wheels on each axle instead of one. Plenty of strength, plenty of grip, assuming the spindles are strong enough to handle the extra load. Dual controls for driver training optional.

Re: Idea to Expand Participation

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:59 pm
by Elmo Zoneball
If you really want to raise awareness of Buggy, invite Jeremy Clarkson and his two side kicks from the no longer known as "Top Gear" show to cover the 100th Anniversary Sweepstakes.

Put the little guy, RIchard Hammond (listed as being 5' 7" tall,) in a buggy with decent wheels and send him on a hot lap with a camera and mic in the cockpit, and see if he can make it around the corner in one piece.

The historical tie-in to Carnegie being from from Scotland would be irresistible to the show.

Re: Idea to Expand Participation

Posted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 2:13 pm
by Pope on a Rope
The teams that put in the bare minimum qualifying effort this year drove reasonably well - SigEp's mechanical failures wouldn't have been prevented by giving their drivers more practice.


They would have happened, but it would have been during practice. They would have encountered their crappy front end design on hydra had they had a few more roll under their belt at reasonable speed. They could also have encountered their poor choice in bearings (again) had they rolled with more vigor or more times with that setup in the spring of the past 2 years. They might have even realized that the little wheels on hydra would suck and change over to larger wheel setup, which in turn probably would have kept fringe behind them and changed the nature of the race with their a and b teams in the mix. Lack of practice and not getting up to speed earlier cost them much.

To me, that says the last-minute teams are getting in enough practice for the speeds they go. Maybe they could get by with even less. More practice helps the serious teams get faster, which is why it is worth the effort to them to get up for every practice. But a small team that can't round up enough bodies for a day misses out and never gets to catch up. Every freeroll practice costs money and effort (from everyone) regardless of how many teams show up. Fewer practices would lower the difference between least & most experienced driver. If they knew they'd have to race with little practice, serious teams might make different design decisions, or learn how to make the most of the practice they get.


At least one last minute team is being allotted wheels that their level of practice suggests they can handle. A grumpy pope grew tired of goodly wheels being poorly spent in the chute and the drunken blame throwing by other old grumpy alumni who blamed the wheel vs the lack of practice. Now, speed is earned. This year, minimal practice = no package of goodness. I remain hopeful, as ever. The cook has yet to be impressed sufficiently to release the Kraken. ZE goods are reasonable speed but were proven inferior in a race that has no pushers to mask performance. Ult Derby = wheels, prep, driver, design. Our best has yet to roll at CMU.

Anyway, one idea is fewer but longer practices. This goes along with making buggy easier without changing the nature of the beast.