Welcome back to Buggy for this Raceday 2013 season!
For those of you that don’t already know, Sam Swift has moved on from Pittsburgh and with that has passed along the reins of the Rolls Reports to current Pittsburghers. In particular I (Ben Matzke) have taken over the organization of getting these out to you every week. Since I feel I don’t have (or yet have) the same dedication/time that Sam had, I’ll be asking for collaboration from any alumni or current students that attended rolls each weekend. If you are in the Pittsburgh area and attend rolls on any given weekend, please send any interesting notes, funny stories or overheard rumors to me. With that out of the way, lets get into what you’re really here for.
Rolls were slated to start on Saturday, but ran into issues with the new parking meters and their lack of NO PARKING signs. Many buggy fans were disappointed to have a similar start 2 years in a row. Because of this, the Police made some of their temporary signs and taped them to the meters for Sunday.
Sweepstakes (I assume it was them) also made some nice giant signs to help alert people of the weekend closures.These signs allowed Sweepstakes to get things running on Sunday and things ran well. Aside from the typical shenanigans that accompany the first day of rolls, everything ran incredibly smoothly and some drivers are already maxing their fall rolls. It was an exciting day for everyone and the surrounding wildlife, so lets get into some of the details.
Sweepstakes hasn’t posted their roll counts for the year yet, but this is what I remember. And with my memory suspect from those late nights of buggy building, there’s likely to be something wrong.
|CIA||Ascension, Freyja, Firebird, Quasar|
|Fringe||Bonsai, Borealis, Bedlam, Banyan|
|SDC||Bane, Avarice, Malice, Rage|
|SigEp||Peregrine, Barracuda, Pandora|
|Spirit||Zuke, Seraph, Fuko, Haraka|
|No-Shows||Apex, PiKA, SAE, SigNu|
Observations (Sunday Gallery)
- AEPi – Sticking with their plan from last year, these guys didn’t even plan on coming out on Saturday. The Saturday cancellation just happened to be a happy coincidence for and kept them up with everyone else. With only one buggy and one driver that I know of, this strategy does not reek of competitive spirit that they had a few years ago when they came out with Aether which has yet to see the course since it’s Raceday debut.
- CIA – Keeping with their new position and size, CIA was among the larger organizations with 4 buggies rolling consistently every time. Orca, CIA’s newest buggy, was surprisingly unseen at rolls today. Rumors are she will be driven by a new recruit who was observing from the follow car. With all veteran drivers out on Sunday, CIA had no trouble getting around the course and dropping all bags pretty quickly. Their only incident came when rushing to get their last roll of the day. While backing up in hill 2, the pusher accidentally stepped on the next buggy waiting to go. CIA was the last org to roll of the day with the first roll-around of the year, surprising most of the new pushers and really giving them a taste of an org that just wants to do as much buggy as possible.
- Fringe – Having recovered from their disappointing Women’s A heat last Raceday, Bonsai was out of the gate quickly and dropped all bags along with any idea of restraint that usually comes with the first day of rolls. Unlike Bonsai, Bedlam took it a bit easier making sure she had a good feel of the course again before slowly ramping it up. Borealis had a much more exciting morning and marked the first crash for this season. On her second roll of the day, Borealis began her turn into the chute, but didn’t quite make the final correction and ended up in the bales head on just onto the bridge. She plowed right through to the curb with a thud. EMS responded quickly and confirmed that the driver was fine with a minor scrape on her elbow. Borealis was scratched for the rest of the day.
- SDC – Continuing in what is now typical SDC fashion, everything ran smoothly and quickly from the first send off to the last. SDC had no major incidents and had the look of a mid season org from their first roll. SDC claimed the top of the roll order and kicked off the new season as the well oiled machine that they have become.
- SigEp – Differentiating themselves from previous years Rolls Reports, SigEp was the talk of the day with their new Pandora driver exploring any possible alternate routes around the course. Rumors have it that Pandora’s first roll was a veteran driver which would make sense since it was a very smooth non-eventful roll, either that or the driver got bored after doing such a fine job and decided to change it up. On Pandora’s second roll She took the almost cliché Panther Hollow left swerving around the right side of the barricade for about 30 feet until hitting the brakes. Her third roll was very slow and needed a little help to get past the first transition flag. On her fourth roll, it sounds like she crossed the road a bit too early and hit the crosswalk ramp briefly riding on the curb before dropping back down and slowly continuing her roll. The Barracuda and Peregrine drivers seemed to act like the older siblings trying to show her where to go, but Pandora would just have none of it. Hopefully she’ll figure out the course before she gets into anything more serious.
- Spirit – Turning around their past tendencies, Spirit rolled nearly as smooth as SDC and CIA. After years of problems getting to Raceday without spinning, they seem to have finally figured something out and so far it’s working well. With only bouncing a bit once or twice in the chute, Spirit seems to be off to a great start.
With rumors flying every which way about which orgs might still be rolling and which might be leaving, it’s hard to keep track of what might actually be happening. So here’s my understanding of what might be going on, and what rumors I’ve heard.
- Apex is now lacking their loan of Insite which they were able to manage with last year. Coming back, Apex is tired of relying on loans and is planning to finish a build mid-semester and start rolling this fall. Rumors are they might be planning to have a second one close behind for the spring. This is very ambitious for an organization only in their second year. But as one of the few orgs not in attendance on Sunday, they were still there watching from the chute to talk with alumni and watch for inspiration.
- PiKA has been attending Chairmen’s meetings this year, but few people know if they actually plan on rolling this fall, or if they plan to repeat last year and make their appearance in the spring.
- SAE made an appearance last year, but little is known about their plans for this year. They made an impressive update on Rubicon and she rolled very decently for such a radical change. Hopefully the brothers are working out the kinks and will be back on the course this year. I have not heard if they have been attending chairmen’s meetings, but they were not listed in the roll order.
- SigNu scared the community when rumors were spread a couple years ago that they were going to stop doing buggy. They fortunately came back the following semester though clearly a shell of the former powerhouse. With the new rise of the independent organizations, and their long-time PiKA rivals also shells of their former selves, will the brothers of SigNu be able to band together and once again become a top organization and challenge SigEp for the top Fraternity in buggy?
Outside of the regular news from this Sunday it’s worth mentioning some of the fun musing sighted at rolls.
CIA’s follow car seems to have updated it’s plates to more accurately reflect its primary use and purpose. SDC’s follow car is also sporting a vanity plate though less related to buggy. I can only connect SDC’s plate to their former chair’s plate which read SDCDTD. I’m just not sure if the current plate is meant to be read as 101-WHY or LOL-WHY.
Squirrels and birds are a common occurrence on the course, and the occasional turkey isn’t so far fetched, but this is the first time that I have heard of and seen a deer scamper around flagstaff hill in frightened circles. I’m not sure if the deer ever made it off the hill, but having buggies rolling completely around the grass area must have acted as a fence of loud noises and sleepy college students.
A note about the (new) author:
Since this is the first time that Sam hasn’t actually written the report (as far as I know), I feel like it might be a good idea to introduce myself. I left this till the end since I figure most of you care more about the buggy part, but here’s a little bit about me. As Sam mentioned in the previous post, I was chairman of CIA for Raceday 2011. I joined CIA in my freshman year along with Kiltie Band where I played Trombone and held the position of Cheermaster for my junior and senior years. I became an officer with CIA my sophomore year and helped with the builds of Renaissance and Freyja and played a major role in the creation of Ascension. I pushed on our Men’s A team all 4 years when we finally made second day my senior year.
I graduated in 2011 with my Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering and quickly finished my MechE Master’s in December of that same year. After graduation I was hired and started work in January at a local juvenile products company located in the strip district. 4moms helped sponsor Raceday last year and has many CMU grads, most of whom were involved with buggy while they were students. I currently am a Principal Engineer and head of all accessories for the Origami Stroller.