Rolls Report: Sept 23 – A Mostly Uneventful Sunday

In an attempt to give myself some kind of fight against my procrastination, I’m going to try and get these out at or before noon on Mondays. This will hopefully give me enough time to add things I had forgotten or get new info from others that were at rolls. Remember, if you were at rolls, I want to hear what you’ve got. Please email me at

Sunday was the only day of rolls again this weekend, but this one is thanks to the diabetes walk that happens every year, so it’s not like we didn’t see this one coming. Next week we only have Saturday and from then on we should be back to the full weekend. With so few scheduled days to start with, and fewer still that will likely happen due to Pittsburgh doing what Pittsburgh does best, I’m interested to see how this will affect the spring, if at all.

Drivers have been getting more rolls in a day than previous year’s drivers got over a few weeks and because there are so few orgs in operation, Sunday started with only 5 teams on the course. Normally, at least 6 teams are required to make rolls happen, but sweepstakes had little choice in this circumstance and the organizations stepped up to man every barricade and sweep every hill. Despite being as hectic or more so than the first, there were fewer incidents making for a very uneventful Sunday morning.

In Attendance

Sweepstakes hasn’t yet gotten the roll count spreadsheet up, but it’s in the works.¬†(Thanks in advance for getting that together Rachel!)

Org Sunday
CIA Orca, Ascension, Firebird, Quasar
Fringe Bonsai, Borealis, Bedlam, Banyan
SDC Avarice, Malice, Rage
SigEp Mamba, Pandora
Spirit Zuke, Seraph, Fuko, Haraka
No-Shows AEPi, Apex, PiKA, SigNu

Observations (Sunday Gallery)

  • CIA – Orca was out today instead of Freyja, allowing the new driver to test out the course with bags all day. In a bold move for the second day of rolls, Firebird was already going bar-less and was screaming around the course. Ascension however was decidedly slower and was measured by a certain radar gun somewhere on the course. She was sporting some green wheels today, a departure of their former blue compound. Looks like CIA is getting back into the testing game. CIA once again was the last org to roll due to scratches, however they did not take the roll-around despite there being enough time for it. Good idea not to kill your new kids before they’re able to really contribute.
  • Fringe – Taking it much slower than last week, all buggies rolled smoothly and evenly around the course without incident. Borealis was seen early in the day with several bags. The driver seemed to pick it up quick as the bags nearly disappeared by the end of the morning. Near the end of rolls one¬†adventurous pusher tried pushing some other buggies around.
  • SDC – Out in force from the size of their push teams, but came out with one fewer buggy than last week. Their head driver was unable to drive in the morning because she took the time instead to help out the new Rage driver. By the end of the day Rage was getting around the course just fine, but early on she seemed to have a difficult time finding the transition flag and had a couple close calls with the curb. She had one moment of confusion and slowly came to a stop just before the Chute flag, but continued to roll before one of the follow-car riders gave her a nice jog to hill 3. As far as I know, she never hit anything, just got scared a couple times.
  • SigEp – Pandora was again the talk of the morning after she took a bad turn at Westinghouse pond and tipped belly up. Rumors are that this is a different driver than last week and instead of taking it slow like before, the pushers tried a different approach and gave her some solid shoves off of hill 2. This can be good evidence that driving takes some practice and isn’t something to be skimped on if you’re looking to compete. Pandora had her incident early which left mamba some very lonely rolls for most of the morning. UPDATE: Pandora rolled twice, both with new drivers. On her second roll when she flipped, she was dropped whereas the first driver was given a stronger push.
  • Spirit – Much like their first day, Spirit rolled very smoothly and had no incidents all day long. With their buggies looking more similar than ever, it was hard for this rolls reporter to figure out which was rolling when. It looked as through they were rotating through and keeping the max at 3 buggies per roll.



Of those not seen, these are the one’s I’ve heard updates about, or have new information about.

  • AEPi – These guys usually come out on Sunday, but I hear that one of the brothers was not able to wake up and it was called off. This forced them to miss their chore causing a slight panic at the morning chairmen’s meeting before things got swept. There seems to be a significant lack of membership from an org that just a couple years ago was really starting to make some progress.
  • Apex – The Sophomores and new Freshmen of Apex have been working hard getting their building technique up to speed on a practice shell for a new super-light, super-strong trash can. Assuming this goes well, we could potentially see a shiny new buggy from this young org in the near future. The lack of prior institutional knowledge leaves me curious as to what aspects they will take from other teams, and what methods might be far and away from what any other org might use.
  • SigNu – The Brothers of Sigma Nu had the potential to make it out today, but clearly didn’t. I’ve been assured that they plan to be out by next weekend. For the sake of competition and giving the drivers some breaks between rolls, I hope they’re right.

Fun Musings

Rolls have had a somewhat strange start this year, and surprisingly it’s not due to the bi-polar Pittsburgh weather. This combined with some teams choosing to only come out once a weekend or only for the spring semester has made for some barren mornings. This type of situation used to leave chairmen in a state of fear, hoping for a full weekend so that they could make sure their drivers get qualified. This year though, any teams that have come out have had the chance to qualify all their drivers, new and old. This extra practice will likely give teams a leg up come spring, and we could see some very tight lines and fast times.

A few people mentioned it to me recently that they liked the live broadcasts and wondered when it was coming back. I’ve been giving it some thought myself, and even though I don’t know how my iPhone would perform, but I’d be willing to give it a shot. Would you watch a live broadcast, and would the chute be the best location, or would Hill 2, or somewhere else be more interesting?

20 thoughts on “Rolls Report: Sept 23 – A Mostly Uneventful Sunday”

  • I’d be happy to have the live broadcasts back from the chute. It’s actually helpful for rolling teams, because we often just get the “rolls are on hold” thing, and we have no idea what happened, how long it may take to clear out, or when it’s almost time to roll again. If we could have live feed from the chute, that would be very useful, not to mention that almost everything interesting happens there (at least, everything interesting happens there after all the new drivers know where they’re going). Thanks for the rolls report!

  • Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but I suspect Borealis rolled with both a new and a veteran driver – not at the same time – yesterday, which may have been the cause of the fast-dropping bags.

    • That is indeed the case. Vira (one of Fringe’s new drivers) drove Borealis the first time around, with bags o’ plenty, and Jen (a veteran) drove Borealis after that.

      Side note: Banyan had a bag at one point because another new driver (Gillie) was taking her first time around the course in that particular buggy for that roll.

  • I, too, would love to have buggy live video to keep me entertained early on the weekends. The chute is definitely the ideal spot. If you’re willing to physically turn the camera, I think right next to the stop sign in the chute is the ideal spot (plus, you get to pick up the random chatter of buggy alums just hanging out). If not, I think the best place for it is somewhere by the barricades. That way, you get the whole entrance to the chute and the chute itself without having to turn the camera.

    Thanks for the rolls reports!

  • So far I’m liking the ability to roam around, but while I’m down there, I would be more than happy to move the camera around to follow incidents and buggies, ect.

  • Great job on the report, Ben. Up so fast, too! Made it difficult to study for my 2:30 exam, haha. We really do need to get more orgs out at rolls. It’s reaching the point where we’re even considering doing full hill 1’s just to slow things down!

    The radar gun may or may not have been affiliated with a certain intelligence agency. Apparently the results were interesting, and not quite what you’d assume. SDC claims the readings on their buggies were wrong because of the ultra-secret high-tech radar-absorbing paint they use.

    I can’t say I’ll watch a live camera feed this year (unless we can get a screen in my car!) but I’d definitely want to see it in the future. Apparently my parents like to watch it sometimes too, so there’s that.

  • A super-light, super strong trashcan you say? Will it be big enough to stuff someone into and roll them down Flagstaff?

    Anyone have more information on Pandora? (I’m assuming that since it wasn’t mentioned, the driver was ok. Buggy condition though?) It seems like you’d have to turn pretty sharply to tip but I guess a new driver might not realize how sensitive a buggy’s steering is.

    As for the camera, I would probably watch bits of it live but would definitely check it out after the fact. If the choice is between a full chute shot or alum chatter, I would personally rather have the alum chatter.

  • I could be completely off base here but there have been stories passed on that both Camo and a Sig Nu buggy (Bungaris Krait?) have made the left at westinghouse and rolled belly up

      • Camo has. Belly up isn’t entirely accurate. It’s more like belly-side. The driver in Camo was new and followed the shoulder line a little too long. She turned left as a result, tried to correct by going right, realized she wouldn’t make it, and turned left again to not go head first into the curb (while also trying to avoid the car that was acting as a barricade). Unfortunately, Camo isn’t designed for left-hand turns and her momentum flipped her on her right side (the pushbar stopped it from rolling all the way over).

        • That makes more sense… so instead of “rolling” Camo probably screeched to a painful and grinding halt. Must have been terrifying for the driver; it’s a good thing that it’s a rare problem.

        • It’s true, it is pretty hard for buggies to actually go belly-up. More capsize than complete turtle (if you know the nautical terms)

          • oooo turtling is fun, especially when the mast gets stuck in the mud and a new white island pops up for you to sunbathe on (I was never a good sailor and unfortunately pulled this off one too many times…. oops)

      • It’s easy to roll all the way over if the pushbar snaps off on the way. Last I can recall doing that was one of PhiKap’s Agility/Celerity. Four buggies crashed on that roll, and PhiKap only had three, so it was all rather confused.

    • A sig nu buggy definitely rolled on its side during raceday in…. 2005? I was in the follow truck, because my roommate was driving Conquest and had to pass it. Age has dulled my memory of which glossy black buggy it was, but you should never have too narrow a wheelbase.

        • Thank you! I was on deadline for a teleconference today, so I didn’t have time to avail myself of all the site facilities. I figured out it was CIA Men’s C and SigNu Men’s B, but then got stumped.

      • Skua in her youth rolling as B team. Not so much wheel base issue as a string of small mistakes that added up to the lateral balance being very wrong. Quick lesson for the zoo chickens of that era.

        • Thank you! You would know much better than me. All I knew was we turned into the chute and I saw the bottom of the buggy and all three of us in the follow truck said “oh shit.” simultaneously. And then the zoo head mechanic said “I guess I better go see what happened.”

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