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This week, the 100 Years of Buggy History series trains its focus on the mid-1990s. The era continued the Spirit-PiKA rivalry while also seeing a shift in landscape of teams participating in Buggy. There were plenty of great races, excitement, and spins, as well as some freshly paved roads. But the biggest story of the era seemed to be the impact of rain before Raceday.
Raceday: Prelims on Friday, April 15 at 7:00am; Finals on Saturday, April 16 at 7:00am
Sweepstakes Committee: Demian Johnston (Chair); Peter Harllee, III (Ass. Chair); Kit Wong (Safety); John Steven (Design)
Men’s Results: (1) PiKA A – Mad Dog (2:09.17); (2) PhiKap A – Schadenfreude (2:13.44); (3) Spirit A – Shaka Zulu (2:14.54); (4) SigNu A (2:14.59); (5-T) SigNu B (2:17.29); (5-T) SDC A – Escargot (2:17.29)
Women’s Results: (1) PiKA A – Maverick (2:42.81); (2) Spirit A (2:44.76);(3) PhiKap B – Secretariat (2:47.46); (4) SigNu A (2:48.63); (5) Theta Xi A (3:09.97); (6-T) PhiKap A – Schadenfreude, Spirit B (DNF)
Design Comp: (1) Spirit; (2) PhiKap; (3) SigNu
Other Awards: (T-Shirt Design) PiKA/Theta
Weather: Cloudy with afternoon rain, 58-80 Degrees on Friday; Scattered Showers, 46-55 on Saturday
Buggy Book: 1994 Buggy Book Link
Prediction Score: 24/55 Men’s, 23/40 Women’s (Compubookie); 18/27 Men’s (Buggy Chair Consensus)
The big story of 1994 came from the rain; not because it affected any particular roll, but because of the controversial decisions made by Sweepstakes with the threat of rain looming overhead.
- PiLam Exits. Pi Lambda Phi had been off and on in the world of Buggy for the past couple of years. But their foray into the Buggy world officially ended in 1994. For whatever reason, they decided not to participate in Buggy that year. And 1994 would be their last full year on campus, as Pi Lambda Phi was kicked off of CMU’s campus in the Spring of 1995 after a tragic incident during a house Christmas party.
- Spring Practice Injury. Spring rolls were scheduled for every weekend, beginning on February 26-27 and ending with Truck Weekend on April 9-10. And the weather held up pretty well for them, with Compubookie noting that teams got more rolls in this year than any other in recent memory. But it wasn’t all perfect; the April 18, 1994 Tartan reported an injury at push practice during the last week of practices. At 2:20am on April 11, a Women’s team pusher reported having muscle spasms after pushing a buggy and EMS was called, but she elected not to go to the hospital.
- New Buggies. A number of new buggies were brought out in 1994. PiKA once again built 2 new buggies, a couple of reverse trikes named Mach II (which was built in 1993 but didn’t make its Raceday debut until 1994) and Mad Dog. Beta started to rebuild their fleet by rolling out their new buggy, Animal. Spirit produced the first in a new string of buggies, Menes. SDC seemed to find some special sauce with their new buggy, Sambvca. KDR produced a new buggy with a new paintjob in Palooka. Fringe added a new buggy to the mix, originally codenamed 94-B before getting a non-B name, Scimitar. And lastly, SigNu continued to produce clones of their reverse trike model (which, according to Mark Estes in the comments below, came out of the original tooling for Jama 2), coming out with the full-named Okapi H Johnston (but generally known as Okapi).
- Predictions. Compubookie expanded his picks in 1994, going with a Top 10 in Men’s and a Top 5 in Women’s. On the Men’s side, he dropped Spirit to 3rd, on the basis that their push team wasn’t as good in 1994 and their buggy tech was not improving. Instead, he felt that PiKA, on the back of some impressive freshmen, and SigNu, with their addition of track team members, would finish 1-2. He noted that Beta had the reverse problem of Spirit – a strong push team but poor technology. And he noted that PhiKap and SDC had been pretty consistent finalists, so they should keep that up. On the Women’s side, his reasoning was pretty limited; he went with Spirit because the Queen of the Hill was on that team. His picks on the Men’s side were: (1) PiKA A, (2) SigNu A, (3) Spirit A, (4) Beta A, (5) PhiKap A, (6) PiKA B, (7) Spirit B, (8) SDC A, (9) Theta Xi A, and (10) SigNu B. On the Women’s side, he went with (1) Spirit A, (2) PiKA A, (3) Spirit B, (4) SigNu A, and (5) Theta Xi A. Meanwhile, the Tartan also asked the Buggy Chairs for their predictions, and of the ones who gave predictions beyond their own organizations, the general consensus was PiKA and Beta as the top 2, with Spirit 3rd.
- Rain Alters the Schedule. Rain held off on Friday until the afternoon, allowing for Buggy to get a full day of Prelims in. The weather was a much bigger factor on a colder Saturday. Rain fell early in the morning and because the roads were still wet, Sweepstakes delayed the races for nearly 3 hours as the roads dried. The races finally got underway, but the threat of rain loomed throughout the day, holding off just barely long enough to get all of the scheduled races in and leading to controversies over rerolls, both of which are described more below.
- Women’s Reroll Controversy. The 1980s-90s were predominately a battle between Spirit and PiKA. But in 1994, PhiKap tried to be an interloper. The 6 Women’s teams that advanced to the Finals were (1) Spirit A, (2) PiKA A, (3) PhiKap A, (4) PhiKap B, (5) SigNu A, and (6) Spirit B. PhiKap felt like they finally had a chance to win. But that hoped was quickly dashed in Finals Heat 1. PhiKap A’s Schadenfreude went up against Spirit B. PhiKap was in the lead during the race, but Spirit was gaining in the freeroll, and as PhiKap made a turn (which we initially assumed was the Chute turn, but based on the photo it appears to be the approach to the Stop Sign), Spirit caught up and “rammed it from behind”, causing both buggies to spin out. Spirit B was DQ’d for causing the contact. However, due to the delayed start of racing and the wet conditions, Sweepstakes determined that they would not guarantee rerolls to any teams. According to Sweepstakes Chair Demian Johnston in the April 18, 1994 Tartan, Sweepstakes did consider reroll requests, but did not announce any decisions on whether those requests had been granted. He informed the teams that if they requested a reroll and the reroll was granted, that the team would need to be ready to roll immediately. However, while Sweepstakes was debating whether to grant any of the reroll requests, it began to rain again. And since WRCT and Radio Club hadn’t announced any upcoming reroll heats, once the rain started the roads were opened. Therefore, Sweepstakes decided to deny reroll requests, and the results from the regular races on Saturday stood as final, costing PhiKap a possible trophy for their A team
- Double Spin. On the Men’s side, most of the excitement during Prelims came during the later heats. This began with Prelims Heat 10, which included both Pioneers A and Spirit B. Pioneers appears to have been the first of the two buggies to make it to the Chute. But it didn’t make it through, as a mechanical issue caused the driver to be unable to make the turn and the buggy spun out. But that wasn’t the end; Spirit B came through next and blew one of their pneumatic tires, causing their buggy to spin out as well.
- KDR’s Pushbar Issues. The troubles continued in Men’s Prelims Heat 11. KDR A brought out their new buggy, Palooka, in hopes of making it to Day 2. But they made the wrong choice in buggy. As soon as the gun went off, the KDR Hill 1 pusher gave the buggy a shove and the crowd heard an audible crack. The crack came from KDR’s pushbar, which snapped off immediately after that first push. This left the buggy unable to be pushed, earning KDR A a DNF and ruining their chances at a second day.
- Man Overboard. Some more drama occurred in the final Men’s Prelims Heat, Heat 12. Spirit A’s Shaka Zulu was well in front during the race. But just as Shaka Zulu began its Chute turn, a spectator stepped off of the sidewalk and into the Chute. This caused Shaka Zulu to spin out, crashing into the bales. Spirit requested a reroll, which then-Sweepstakes Chair Demian Johnston says was obviously awarded, but PiKA was not happy about the decision and voiced their objection to Spirit being granted a reroll, claiming that the judging was biased. The reroll was scheduled for Saturday. Demian Johnston recently noted that he was “so crazed watching the guy stepping into the Chute that I jumped out of the bed of the lead truck to chase him down (I had no idea what I would have said if I found him). (Un)Fortunately, I missed landing on my feet and knocked the wind out of myself slamming into the pavement on the Hill 3-4 transition.”
- Wheel Damage and U-Hauls. According to Andy Bordick in the comments below, he made a big mistake that cost PiKA B’s Maverick, as he put a Hill 5-type pusher on Hill 2 and as a result, they lost the battle up the front hills to SDC A, who went into the freeroll first. Maverick didn’t quite have the speed to pass SDC, but the buggies did get really close in the Chute. SDC took a wide turn and nearly tipped over, causing PiKA’s driver, Laura McClure, to abruptly adjust her line, nearly tipping over herself and shredding the rubber on both front tires. The result was a particularly slow time that cost them a Day 2 appearance (though, on the plus side, the lack of tire rubber made it really easy for the buggy to brake during Drops; in fact, the buggy had to be pushed just to start rolling). Andy notes that as they lifted the buggy following drops, one of the wheel covers fell off. He got so upset that when they got back to the truck, he picked up a screwdriver and put it right through the wall of the U-Haul, punching a hole in the truck.
- Other Men’s Prelim Notes. Theta Xi C wasn’t an ultra-competitive team, but they did want to have some fun. So the entire push team wore black wigs as they pushed their buggy to a time of 2:28.72. But a few other teams didn’t have as fun of a time. Spirit C was DQ’d for failing drops after what would have been a borderline Top 10 time, and SigNu C’s team spun out.
- Men’s Finals Recap. Saturday’s Men’s races began with 2 rerolls left over from Friday’s races. The first paired one of the favorites, Spirit A, against PhiKap C. Spirit clocked in at 2:14.54, leaving the door open for some other teams at the top, while PhiKap was unable to complete the race after spinning out in the Chute. SAE A raced alone in the 2nd reroll heat and put up a 2:30.37, which was the 19th fastest time, but thanks to the reroll being on Saturday, they were technically placed 9th overall (though still outside the trophy spots). When the Finals Heats began, the Men’s division was down 1 team. PhiKap B’s Secretariat, scheduled to race in Finals Heat 2 (the 4th fastest time on Day 1), scratched their Finals roll (and lost out on a trophy) in order to allow the mechanics time to get their A team buggy, Schadenfreude, repaired for the next heat following the crash during the Women’s Finals. That left PiKA C to roll alone in Heat 2, right after DTD A’s Darkstar and SigNu A went head to head in Finals Heat 1. PhiKap was able to fix their A team buggy and got it on the course for Finals Heat 3, where their A team went up against Beta B’s Evenflow. And the extra time was worth it, because when the clock stopped, PhiKap had put up a 2:13.44, which put them in the lead with 2 heats to go. They withstood the competition from Beta A’s Animal and SDC A’s Escargot in Finals Heat 4, as the wind picked up just before the race, blowing leaves onto the street and possibly affecting Beta. Beta finished in 2:15.38, which would have put them 3rd at the time, but Hill 5 pusher Jarrod Siket was unable to catch up to the buggy at the finish line and Beta A was DQ’d for a Pushbar violation (the Tartan incorrectly reports that the DQ was because he had “only one hand on the pushbar”). SDC A, meanwhile, stopped the clock in the exact same 2:17.29 as SigNu A, so the two teams tied. But those results left the real battle to Finals Heat 5, with PiKA A’s Mad Dog up against SigNu B. Just as Tim Smith for PiKA and Phil White for SigNu began pushing up Hill 1, “dime-sized drops” of rain began to fall from the sky. But the teams were able to finish the race, and Hill 5 pusher Jeff Polega easily carried PiKA across the finish line for the victory.
- Coverage Complaints. A letter to the editor in the April 25, 1994 Tartan complained about coverage of the races, both from the Tartan and from WRCT. The author cited the lack of Women’s race coverage in the Tartan, pointing out that the Women’s race coverage was almost solely focused on the PhiKap-Spirit crash and hardly even mentioned that PiKA won for the 2nd year in a row, that Spirit and PhiKap had 2 teams in the top 6, the names of the pushers or how close the times were. And for WRCT, the author complained that the commentary was very minimal and ill-informed, with commentators who all seemed to know “surprisingly little”. The commentary ranged from “and PiKA wins the heat”, with no times given, to yelling “here they come!”, with the broadcasters never running down the full standings.
- Lead Truck Driving. But it wasn’t just the broadcast coverage that had problems. The lead truck driver had some learning to do as well. According to Andy Bordick in the comments below, the first heat of the day belonged to PiKA Women’s B’s Mad Dog, in order to get the driver a warmup roll before the Men’s races. And the heat would have been the perfect warmup, except for the fact that the lead truck driver was apparently new and didn’t realize that the buggies were coming fast. The lead truck wasn’t giving much space, and at one point it looked like Mad Dog was about 1 buggy length behind the truck (which, as Mark Estes points out, must have given the buggy a pretty nice draft). The video guy had to lean over the back lift gate just to get video of the buggy rolling. It was fairly terrifying to watch from the follow car. It even looked like at one point the buggy was going to pass the truck. Fortunately, Sweepstakes gave some training to the driver of the lead truck and remedied the situation for the rest of the day.
- 1994 Video. We actually have video of PiKA Men’s A’s victory run in the 1994 Finals. Check it out:
Raceday: Prelims on Friday, April 7 at 7:00am; Finals on Saturday, April 8 at 7:00am
Sweepstakes Committee: Peter Harllee (Chair); Greg Dupier (Ass. Chair); Jarrod Jenzano (Safety); Mike Adler (Design)
Men’s Results: (1) PiKA A – Mad Dog (2:09.98); (2) Spirit A – Haraka (2:10.27); (3) SDC A – Sambvca (2:10.88); (4) Spirit B (2:11.61); (5) PhiKap A – Schadenfreude (2:11.67); (6) Beta A (2:12.08)
Women’s Results: (1) Spirit A – Shaka Zulu (2:33.03 – COURSE RECORD); (2) SigNu A (2:41.64); (3) Pioneers A – Helios (2:51.94); (4) SigNu B (2:55.13); (5) SDC A – Sambvca (2:54.52/DQ); (6) PiKA A – Maverick (DNF)
Design Comp: (1) Spirit – Haraka; (2) SDC – Sambvca; (3) Spirit – Shaka Zulu
Other Awards: (T-Shirt Design) PiKA; (People’s Choice) AEPi; (Spirit of Buggy) Beta
Weather: Sunny, 44-58 Degrees on Friday; Scattered Showers, 44-65 on Saturday
Buggy Book: 1995 Buggy Book Link
Prediction Score: 22/55 Men’s, 19/27 Women’s (Compubookie)
1995 saw the reintroduction of two organizations and the (brief) end of another, while Spirit had a very impressive Raceday and rain once again delayed the races.
- Fresh Paving. Teams received some good news from the City of Pittsburgh in 1995. The Chute was repaved! Teams certainly hoped that the new roadbed would make for some smooth turns.
- AEPi Returns. AEPi tried buggy once before, in 1988. But even though they made it to Raceday in 1988, their run was short-lived, as they were out of buggy by 1989. But they decided to try again in 1995. Initially, AFROTC lent AEPi their buggy, Stratofortress, but after that didn’t quite work out, AEPi purchased the remnants of SigNu’s Colugo, built a new cover, and renamed the buggy Barak (though the buggy would eventually be renamed twice more, the last time taking the name that it’s most well-known for today: Camo). They got through the race in 2:39.78, good for 30th place (but setting a house record that would last for 12 years). This time AEPi lasted slightly longer, but they would disappear again after 2 years, before reemerging on for a much longer 13 year run in 2004.
- KapSig Returns As Well. It wasn’t as long of a break, but after 2 years out of Buggy, KapSig also returned. And like AEPi, KapSig also acquired a buggy, getting Patriot from SigTau.
- The Dusk of An Organization. But while some organizations join, others wind down. CIA had a storied history in the world of Buggy, notching the first independent win in the history of the Men’s races back in 1981. But by 1995, participation in the organization was dwindling and they were down to 1 team. And that team wasn’t particularly strong. The Tartan notes that in Prelims Heat 14, SigNu C passed CIA A on the Hill 3 rollout, “showing what is likely to be dusk for [CIA]”. And the Tartan wasn’t wrong, as 1995 was the last year that this version of CIA participated in buggy. But as they say, “the sun will rise again” – and it wouldn’t be too long before CIA 2.0 re-entered the Buggy world.
- Drama During Spring Practices. The weather held up pretty well during the Spring, which allowed teams to get a lot of rolls in. Unfortunately, even a good spring weather-wise wasn’t enough to get SAE to Raceday. And push practices began on February 27, running every weekend night until Carnival. But one particular push practice created some drama. On March 30, 1995, one of the teams was practicing on Hill 3 when a driver came up the Bureau of Mines Road by Scaife and reached the intersection at Frew Street. The driver rolled down his window and demanded to be let out to go home. The flagger who was manning the barricade asked the driver to turn off his headlights, and told him that he would open the road as soon as possible. The driver tried to go around the flagger, and the flagger tried to block the car by stepping in front. The flagger was hit by the car, and at that point other students gathered around the car so that it couldn’t move. The driver called the police and told them that the flagger wouldn’t let him leave, and that he didn’t understand why they needed the whole road. The driver claimed that the buggy people began shouting profanities at him and were being rude. Eventually the buggy people let the car go, but as soon as the driver turned on his headlights, the buggy people began shouting profanities at him again. The driver alleged that one of the buggy people then threw a screwdriver at his car, causing a dent. The driver stopped, picked up the screwdriver, and drove off, all while still being yelled at.
- Buggy Pranks. The March 13, 1995 Tartan reports that someone vandalized the directories in Baker Hall. They rearranged the letters in the directories to spell out sexual phrases. A witness claimed that they saw a member of a buggy team doing it, though no person or organization was named.
- New Buggies of 1995. Other than AEPi and KapSig’s acquisitions, a couple of other organizations rolled out new buggies. The leader of the group was Spirit, who introduced a top notch standard trike in the form of Haraka. KDR also produced a new buggy that resembled a the CIA style, which they named Pumpkin King. SigTau replaced the loss of Patrior with a new buggy, Juggernaut. Theta Xi, built, or maybe rebuilt, a buggy that they named Miss Carriage (it’s unclear if this was a new build, or a rebuild and renaming of a 1993 buggy). And it’s suggested that PiKA may have built (or at least attempted to build) a new buggy in 1995, possibly named Barracuda, but the buggy didn’t make it to Raceday.
- Predictions. Compubookie went back to his Top 10 Men’s/Top 3 Women’s predictions for 1995. He noted that PiKA’s pushers had taken a step back from 1994, at the same time that Spirit’s pushers took a step forward, leading to a likely Spirit win. And Beta finally built a buggy to match their pushers. So on the Men’s side, he predicted (1) Spirit A, (2) Beta A, (3) PiKA A, (4) SigNu A, (5) PhiKap A, (6) Spirit B, (7) Beta B, (8) PiKA B, (9) SDC A, and (10) KDR A. On the Women’s side, he chose (1) Spirit A, (2) SigNu A, (3) Spirit B.
- Heat Schedule. By the mid-1990s, the Heat Schedule was no longer printed in the Buggy Book. So while we work to update our database, below were the Heats in 1995:
- Women’s Prelims
- PhiKap B (Lane 1), SigNu B (Lane 2), Fringe C (Lane 3)
- SDC A (1), DTD B (2), Beta B (3)
- SigNu A (1), Pioneers B (2), SigTau A (3)
- Theta Xi A (1), Beta A (2), SigNu C (3)
- Fringe A (1), PhiKap A (2), KDR A (3)
- PiKA A (1), DTD A (2), SDC B (3)
- Spirit A (1), Pioneers A (2), Fringe B (3)
- Women’s Finals
- SigNu B, SDC A
- SigNu A, Pioneers A
- Spirit A, PiKA A
- Men’s Prelims
- Fringe A (1), DU A (2), Theta Xi C (3)
- SigNu B (1), PiKA D (2), DTD C (3)
- PhiKap B (1), Beta C (2), DU B (3)
- Spirit C (1), PiKA C (2), Pioneers C (3)
- KDR A (1), SigTau B (2), SDC D (3)
- Pioneers A (1), Theta Xi B (2), Fringe C (3)
- DTD A (1), SDC A (2)
- PiKA B (1), Beta B (2), AEPi A (3)
- SigNu A (1), KapSig A (2), SDC C (3)
- Spirit B (1), SigTau A (2)
- Beta A (1), SDC B (2), KDR B (3)
- PhiKap A (1), DTD B (2), Pioneers B (3)
- PiKA A (1), Theta Xi A (2), Fringe B (3)
- Spirit A (1), CIA A (2), SigNu C (3)
- Men’s Finals
- SigNu A, SigNu B
- Spirit B, Pioneers A
- Beta A, PhiKap A
- PiKA A, SDC A
- Spirit A, Spirit C
- CIA (1), Fringe (2), Theta Xi (3)
- Spirit (1), Spirit (2), Pioneers (3)
- SigTau (1), AEPi (2), CIA (3)
- Beta (1), PiKA (2), SigNu (3)
- Women’s Prelims
- Prelims Delayed. For the third year in a row, rain made an impact on Raceday. Rain had fallen overnight on Thursday, requiring Sweepstakes to delay the start of Friday’s Raceday until the course dried. But Friday was a sunny and warm day, speeding up the process for the roads to dry.
- Women’s DQs. We don’t have much to tell about the Women’s Prelims. But there were a couple of DQs of note. In Prelims Heat 4, Beta A clocked in at 2:44.86, which would have been the 4th fastest time of the day, but they failed drops and were DQ’d. A similar problem occurred in Prelims Heat 5, when PhiKap A’s team put up an even better time of 2:43.16, good for 3rd. They too failed drops and were also DQ’d. SigNu C was also DQ’d for a Lane violation. KDR A earned a DNF, after driver “Evil” Bimal “got excited and forgot there were no left turns on the course”, spinning well before the chute (per Steve Maliszewski). As a note, the Tartan indicates that Beta A received a reroll and put up a time of 2:43.02, which would have placed them 3rd overall, but we don’t know the reason why they would have been granted a reroll, and the official results list out only their Friday time with a DQ, so it appears that the reroll (if it happened) was disallowed.
- Women’s Finals Duel. The biggest surprise of the Women’s Prelims was probably that PiKA A, winner of the previous 2 Women’s titles, came into the Finals with the 4th fastest time. This created an interesting scenario, as it meant that PiKA A and Spirit A (who had the fastest Prelims time), together winners of the previous 9 Women’s titles, would be going head-to-head in the final Women’s heat of the day. And that created a ton of excitement for the heat. With a championship on the line, Spirit A’s Shaka Zulu won the race up the front hills and into the freeroll. But PiKA A’s Maverick had more speed and began to gain on Spirit in the freeroll. PiKA caught up to Spirit as they reached the Chute flag, and PiKA attempted a pass. But they were unable to pass cleanly. Maverick and Shaka Zulu made contact, and Maverick spun out, shredding its tires and leaving rubber in the Chute. Impressively, Shaka Zulu made it through the Chute unscathed. And even more impressively, the pushers picked it up a notch, getting to the finish line in a course record 2:33.03. Meanwhile, Finals Heat 2 provided the 2nd and 3rd place finishers, as SigNu A finished 2nd and Pioneers A, with their buggy Helios, earned their first ever racing trophy, finishing 3rd. SDC A wasn’t as fortunate; they had a 4th place time, but were DQ’d for a safety violation.
- Spirit’s Impressive Day. One of the biggest stories from the Men’s Prelims wasn’t a spin, a collision, or a DQ. It wasn’t even about a top 5 time. But it was impressive nonetheless. In Prelims Heat 3, Spirit C put up a ridiculous time of 2:13.12, which set a then-current record for the fastest race by a C team. The time was good for 6th, but it was only 3 seconds behind the Day 1 leader, Spirit A. Of course, having the 1st and the 6th fastest times meant that Spirit A and Spirit C would be paired up against each other in the Finals (this was also the case with SigNu A and SigNu B, who had the 5th and 10th fastest times on Day 1). In previous years, teams that had 2 buggies against each other in the Finals had been permitted to swap. But sensing an opening, at the Chairman’s meeting after the races on Friday, PiKA pointed to an “obscure” rule that the organizations would be required to compete against each other, and Sweepstakes enforced the rule. This made things interesting for Spirit in the Finals, as the Spirit C Hill 1 pusher pulled off a shocker and actually beat Spirit A up Hill 1. Spirit A did pull ahead on Hill 2, but the two buggies were very close going into the Chute. The A team pulled away from the C team on the back hills, but unfortunately Spirit probably wishes their C team Hill 1 pushed for the A team, as Spirit A fell 0.3 seconds shy of PiKA’s time, giving PiKA the victory. The C team finished 7th overall, while Spirit B team came in 4th.
- Other Men’s Miscellany. The Chute area was apparently the place to be in 1995. In Prelims Heat 9, SigNu A easily won the heat with the 5th fastest time. But in the back of the heat, KapSig A and SDC C came into the Chute together. According to the April 10, 1995 Tartan, the two buggies collided on Hill 3. And if you like tire rubber, the Chute was definitely for you. In Prelims Heat 11, Beta A put up the 3rd fastest time of the day, a 2:11.77, and left streaks of black rubber on the road through the Chute. Meanwhile, in Heat 13, PiKA A earned the 2nd fastest time of the day with a 2:10.54, but sacrificed a tire to do so, as they too chewed up a tire and left streaks of rubber in the Chute. In the Finals, the biggest surprise (outside of Spirit C’s performance) came out of Finals Heat 3, where PhiKap A, who had the 8th fastest time in Prelims, beat Beta A (3rd fastest during Prelims) by 0.4 seconds, an improvement of 3 seconds over their Day 1 time.
- Design Competition. Design Competition was relatively sparse in 1995, as only 9 buggies competed for the prize. KDR, SDC, and Spirit each entered 2 buggies, while Pioneers, CIA, and Fringe contributed 1. The final 6 buggies were Haraka and Shaka Zulu from Spirit, Sambvca and Escargot from SDC, Pumpkin King from KDR, and Helios from Pioneers.
- 3-Wheeled Naming Conventions. With a unique exception early on from Fringe, 3-wheeled buggies have been one of two types: a standard (or forward) trike, which has 1 wheel in the front (middle) and 2 wheels in the back (left and right), and a reverse trike, which has 2 wheels in the front (left and right) and 1 wheel in the back (middle). In 1995, the Tartan staffwriter James Stepanek began an effort to define these types of wheel alignments in a way that might be “easier” for the non-engineer buggy fan. The Tartan began to refer to standard trikes as “Legend-type” buggies, named for the PiLam buggy that was that fraternity’s last entry in Buggy back in 1993. Meanwhile, the reverse trike design was referred to as a “Jama-type” buggy, named for SigNu’s first attempt at a reverse trike that had since been retired. Why these specific names were chosen, we don’t know (the April 10, 1995 article says that it’s for “historical reasons”, but neither Legend nor Jama were the first, nor were they particularly notable, for their wheel alignment, other than that Jama was SigNu’s first reverse trike attempt). But this designation would continue to be used by the Tartan for several years.
- Excessive Competition. In what had become a bit of a running theme over the years, an editorial in the April 10, 1995 Tartan complained about the excessive competition of Carnival events, including Booth and Buggy. And while a significant portion of the article was devoted to Booth, it did note that thousands of dollars are spent building new buggies and fine-tuning old ones, and that pushers train religiously, pushing aside homework, exams, and sleep. And yet, “people cheer when a buggy crashes”. The article seemed pretty misinformed, and there were multiple rebuttals in the April 24, 1995 Tartan.
Raceday: Prelims on Friday, April 19 at 10:00am; Finals on Saturday, April 20 at 10:00am
Sweepstakes Committee: Greg Dupier (Chair); Karlie Radford (Ass. Chair); Liz Stoltenberg (Safety); Peter Sellar (Design)
Men’s Results: (1) PiKA A – Mad Dog (2:08.15); (2) Spirit B – Shaka Zulu (2:12.90); (3) PhiKap A – Schadenfreude (2:13.79); (4) PiKA B – Maverick (2:16.66); (5) Beta B (2:17.94); (6) SDC B – Sambvca (2:18.20)
Women’s Results: (1) Spirit A (2:35.91); (2) Pioneers A – Helios (2:51.65);(3) SDC A – Sambvca (2:52.56); (4) Beta A (2:53.61); (5) Spirit B (3:01.22); (6) SigNu A (2:45.60/DQ)
Design Comp: (1) SDC – Rage; (2) Spirit – Haraka; (3) SigNu – Okapi
Other Awards: (T-Shirt Design) SigNu
Weather: Cloudy, 62-70 Degrees on Friday; Cloudy, 69-74 on Saturday
Buggy Book: 1996 Buggy Book Link
Prediction Score: 14/55 Men’s, 10/27 Women’s (Compubookie); 6/40 Men’s, 16/40 Women’s (Jessica Strelitz); 19/55 Men’s (James Stepanek)
1996 brought yet another new organization, more rain, and some bad luck in the Finals that leads to some blowout wins for 2 organizations very familiar with winning.
- SigEp Gets A Taste. The last time SigEp fielded a Buggy team was way back in 1931. Part of the reason for that is that there had not been a chapter on campus since World War II. But in 1996, SigEp was re-founded and recognized by CMU. The recognition came during the Spring, which wasn’t enough time to get a full buggy program up and running from scratch. So SigEp did the next best thing; they partnered with Fringe, providing a push team to the independent organization in order to learn from an existing team.
- New Buggies of 1996. Only a few organizations built new buggies in 1996, but 2 of those were particularly strong builds. Spirit came out with their 3rd new buggy in 3 years with one that looked similar to their past few, naming the new buggy Zulu Machafuko (Fuko for short). And SDC made some positive improvements from Sambvca to create their bright red buggy, Rage. But those weren’t the only two. Beta produced a new buggy for the 4th straight year and went back to the rock world for the name, Unforgiven. Unforgiven was a departure for Beta though, as it was their first attempt at a modern reverse trike. And KDR also produced another new buggy, Nazgul.
- 1996 Heats. While we update our database, below is the Heat Schedule for 1996:
- Women’s Prelims
- Beta A (Lane 1), PhiKap B (Lane 2), SigTau B (Lane 3)
- Spirit B (1), SigNu B (2), Theta Xi A (3)
- Pioneers A (1), PiKA A (2), SDC B (3)
- SigNu A (1), Beta B (2), DTD A (3)
- PhiKap A (1), DU A (2), SigTau A (3)
- Spirit A (1), SDC A (2)
- Women’s Finals
- SDC A, Spirit B
- SigNu A, Beta A
- Spirit A, Pioneers A
- Men’s Prelims
- Beta B (Lane 1), Beta D
- KDR B (1), PiKA C (2), DTD B (3)
- Pioneers A (1), PhiKap B (2), SigTau B (3)
- Spirit C (1), DU A (2), Beta D (3)
- SDC A (1), Beta A (2), KapSig B (3)
- SigNu A (1), PiKA B (2), KDR C (3)
- Spirit B (1), SDC C (2), Pioneers B (3)
- PhiKap A (1), SDC D (2), DTD A (3)
- Spirit A (1), Fringe A (2), SigNu C (3)
- PiKA A (1), KDR A (2), SigTau A (3)
- Beta A (1), KapSig A (2), Theta Xi A (3)
- Men’s Finals:
- Beta B
- Spirit B, SDC B
- PiKA B, Beta C
- SDC A, PhiKap B
- PhiKap A, SigNu A
- PiKA A, Pioneers A
- SDC (Lane 1), KapSig (Lane 2), SDC (Lane 3)
- Beta (1), PiKA (2), SigNu (3)
- Spirit (1), Spirit (2), Pioneers (3)
- KDR (1), Fringe (2), DU (3)
- Women’s Prelims
- Predictions. The Tartan had multiple predictions in 1996: the usual set from Compubookie and two Tartan-specific editions, one from staffwriter James Stepanek and one from staffwriter Jessica Strelitz. Compubookie pegged SDC as the dark horse on the Men’s side in 1996. He also noted that Spirit’s pushers are better than PiKA’s, while SigNu has the best buggies but a lack of organization. And an unprecedented number of crashes in the chute by SigNu during practices made it unlikely that they would win. James Stepanek took a look at just the Men’s races, similarily noting that PiKA’s push team is a little lackluster (but proclaiming that PiKA had the best buggies). Spirit supposedly didn’t have their best on Truck Weekend, and thanks to bad weather in the Spring, a lack of rolls creates a bit of a question mark. And although Beta’s pushers were strong, their buggies and tech had been lacking in recent years. Overall, the predictions were:
- Compubookie: (1) Spirit A; (2) PiKA A; (3) SDC A; (4) Beta A; (5) PhiKap A; (6) PiKA B; (7) Spirit B; (8) Beta B; (9) SigNu A; (10) Pioneers A
- James Stepanek: (1) PiKA A; (2) Spirit A; (3) SDC A; (4) Beta A; (5) PhiKap A; (6) Spirit B; (7) SigNu A; (8) SDC B; (9) PhiKap B; (10) Spirit C
- Jessica Strelitz: (1) Spirit A; (2) Beta A; (3) SDC A; (4) Spirit B; (5) PhiKap A
- Compubookie: (1) Spirit A; (2) PiKA A; (3) SigNu A
- Jessica Strelitz: (1) Spirit A; (2) PhiKap A; (3) Beta A; (4) SigNu A; (5) Pioneers A
- More Rain Delays. More bad weather impacted Raceday, though the rain held off during the races themselves. Both days were delayed in order to give the roads time to dry. Sweepstakes had a deadline of 10:30am to start the races, but luckily they beat that time on both days, with Friday beginning at 10:15am and Saturday beginning at a similar time.
- Men’s Prelims Recap. We’re hitting the highlights of the Men’s Prelims. Prelims Heat 5 was the first notable, as DU A kept up with Spirit C on the front hills but was blown away in the freeroll…until Spirit C spun in the Chute. DU braked to avoid a collision and was granted a reroll, to be run at the end of the day on Friday. Prelims Heat 6 had a curious result, as Beta’s C team was actually faster than the Beta B team. Heat 7 was expected to be a close race between SigNu A’s Okapi and PiKA B’s Maverick, but it actually wasn’t, as PiKA B blew SigNu A away (SigNu gained slightly on the back hills, but not nearly enough to catch PiKA). The final heat, Heat 12, saw Beta A try out their new buggy, Unforgiven, but their first foray into reverse trikes needed some work. Beta had a huge lead in the race, but their tires shredded in the Chute in a “chemical haze” and the buggy spun out. But the biggest shock of the day came in Prelims Heat 10. The favorite to win, Spirit A’s Fuko, was first into the freeroll and had a big lead. But unfortunately, the buggy spun out in the Chute and ended up in the bales, earning a DNF. SigNu C and Fringe A were trailing, but they both made it through the Chute without incident.
- KDR’s Challenge. According to a BAA commenter known as “DangerMike”, KDR had an internal competition in 1996. The KDR Men’s C team was comprised of 4 smokers and Steve “Schteve” Maliszewski, but they felt confident that they were faster than their B team, so the C team issued a challenge. To make clear which team was which, the KDR C buggy, Palooka, was repainted to look like a Marlboro box. Each C team pusher would light a cigarette immediately after pushing their hill. The end result? KDR C ended up beating KDR B by 0.5 seconds (2:34.64 to 2:35.13). The time was even more impressive as Steve Maliszewski was the Hill 2 pusher and partially whiffed on the shove after it got away from him a bit over the Hill 2 crest.
- DU’s Reroll. DU took their reroll at the end of the day on Friday, but if they had any hopes of making it to Finals, those hopes were dashed pretty quickly. As the buggy entered the Chute, one of their pneumatic tires blew out, causing the buggy to crash. The buggy flipped over before righting itself (presumably thanks to the pushbar), but thankfully the driver was uninjured.
- Push for DQs. During the Chairman’s meeting following Friday’s Raceday, there was reportedly a lot of jockeying for the Finals slots. According to the April 22, 1996 Tartan, multiple organizations requested that Sweepstakes DQ PiKA B for both a false start and a lane violation. However, Sweepstakes elected not to DQ PiKA B. Another organization filed a complaint against PhiKap, arguing that one of their teams (it’s unclear which one) should have been DQ’d for Pacing. Sweepstakes initially agreed and did, in fact, DQ PhiKap, which was enough to moved Beta B into the 10th slot for the Finals. But after a tape review, Sweepstakes determined that pacing did not occur and they reversed their decision, reinstating the PhiKap team. But Sweepstakes had already informed Beta that their B team was in the top 10, and it was argued that it would be unfair to bump Beta now. So instead, the Finals field was expanded to 11 teams, with Beta B rolling alone in the first heat.
- Trouble in Men’s Finals Heat 4. In 1996, it was apparently bad luck to be in Finals Heat 4. The two unlucky teams in this case were SDC A and PhiKap B. The issue started immediately for PhiKap B, as the Hill 1 pusher began pushing the buggy before the starter’s gun went off. This earned them a False Start DQ. And to rub it in, the false start didn’t help, as SDC won the race up the front hills and led throughout. And as SDC A’s Rage crossed the Finish Line, the clock showed 2:12.82, which would have been good for 2nd. Unfortunately, the Hill 5 pusher had given the buggy one too many bumps, and when Rage crossed the Finish Line, the pusher wasn’t attached. He made a dive for it at the line and faceplanted, but came up short of the buggy, earning a Pushbar DQ.
- Double Trouble in Men’s Finals Heat 5. Neither PhiKap A nor SigNu A were expected to win the 1996 Men’s title, but after the spins on Day 1, there was a big opening for a surprise team. Unfortunately, the fates conspired to prevent either of these two teams from taking the trophy. The starter counted down the start of the heat, but when he got to “go”, the gun failed to fire. So they reset and restarted the countdown. But once again, when the starter got to “go”, the gun didn’t fire. So instead, the starter yelled “Fire”. But yelling “fire” wasn’t sufficient to start the clock. So the teams had to reset again. It turns out that the third time was the charm, as the gun finally fired and the race began. But by that point, the buggies had already been sitting at the starting line for over a minute, with the wheels beginning to cool. PhiKap won the heat, but both teams were slower than their Prelim times.
- Men’s Finals Heat 6. But it wouldn’t be the chaos of 1996 without 1 more A team DQ in the final heat of the day. Luckily for PiKA, the team that was DQ’d was Pioneers. During the race, a piece of Pioneers pushbar fell off the buggy, and they were DQ’d for a Loss of Mass. PiKA, on the other hand, put up a winning time of 2:08.15, and Hill 1 pusher Chris Tomforde was named the King of the Hill.
- Women’s Prelims Miscellany. There were only a few issues on the Women’s side of racing during Prelims. The most confusing of those belonged to DTD A. The April 22, 1996 Tartan reports that DTD A had a “five second delayed start” in Prelims Heat 4. We’re not sure exactly what that means, but it doesn’t appear that the team was DQ’d. PhiKap A had some mechanical issues in Prelims Heat 5, as the brakes were rubbing on their buggy and a team expected to make the Finals missed out, finishing 7th in 3:01.55. Lane 2 surprisingly appeared empty in both Prelims Heat 2 and 3, as SigNu B and PiKA A both failed to make it to the starting line. And lastly, SDC B had their own issues in Prelims Heat 3, as the buggy spun out.
- Women’s Finals. There wasn’t too much excitement on the Women’s side, as Spirit won the race by almost 16 seconds. It would have “only” been 10 seconds, but SigNu A, who put up the second fastest time on the day, failed Drops and was DQ’d. The Tartan also suggested that SDC A’s Sambvca rolled past the Plug on Hill 3, which is certainly possible but seems surprising given the final times.
- Turtle Invasion. We like to include fun memories from alumni here from time to time. One recently came to us from Jennifer Daddino. She was a sister of Kappa Kappa Gamma and began pushing for fraternities in 1996. Her favorite memory of buggy came during push practice. One night, one of her teammates kept commenting on the fact that it was cold. But instead of saying “thermal inversion”, the person instead kept referring to it as a “turtle invasion”. A small moment, but one of those things that shows that even in the early mornings or late nights, buggy people can take pleasure in small things.
- Naked Mudslide. Fun fact: According to the April 22, 1996 Tartan, there used to be a naked mudslide held annually between SigNu and PiKA after Saturday’s Finals. We don’t have any more to add, but if any SigNu or PiKA alums would like to comment, you’ve got the floor below!
- 1994 Photos. Below are photos that we have from 1994:
- 1995 Photos. Below are some photos from 1995:
- 1996 Photos Below are the 1996 photos that we have: