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This week, the 100 Years of Buggy History series reaches the end of the century as we cover 1997-1999. The rains of Pittsburgh make their final stand against Buggy in the War of Weather that engulfed the 1990s. We’ve also got plenty memories from Buggy Chairs of 1998, including how Cow Stealth became Cow Stealth. Plus, the battle between Greeks and Student Senate over the Activities Fees reaches its peak, and one dynasty reaches its end as another one Begins.
Raceday: Prelims on Friday, April 11 at 7:00am; Finals on Saturday, April 12 at 7:30am
Sweepstakes Committee: Fiona Bedford (Chair); Mark Torelli (Ass. Chair); Liz Stoltenberg (Safety); Susan Swithenbank (“Youngster”); Alan Charness (Design)
Men’s Results: (1) Spirit A – Haraka (2:11.90); (2) Beta A (2:14.12); (3) PiKA A – Revelation (2:14.18); (4) PhiKap A (2:14.46); (5) Spirit B (2:15.21); (6) PiKA B – Mad Dog (2:17.15)
Women’s Results: (1) Spirit A – Demani (2:37.00); (2) PiKA A – Mad Dog (2:44.73);(3) SigNu A (2:47.42); (4) Spirit B (2:53.96); (5) Beta A (2:55.39); (6) SDC A – Rage (2:59.81)
Design Comp: (1) Spirit – Demani; (2) SDC – Rage; (3) SigNu
Other Awards: (People’s Choice) SigNu
Weather: Cloudy, 35-45 Degrees on Friday; Rain, 41-47 on Saturday
Buggy Book: 1997 Buggy Book Link
Prediction Score: 25/55 Men’s, 20/27 Women’s (Compubookie); 28/55 Men’s (James Stepanek)
1997 witnessed a cold Raceday that got some surprising heat before the races and a number of conflicts during them.
- Practices. Spring practices began with rolls on the weekend of February 22. They were scheduled for every weekend from then until April 4, Truck Weekend. Push Practices were scheduled from midnight to 6am every Sunday-Thursday night beginning in mid-March. Unfortunately, bad weather struck during both semesters, knocking out a number of rolls. Per Compubookie, the students decided to sacrifice their Spring Break weekends in order to get enough rolls to qualify (cue the “Back in my day…” crowd).
- Greek Organization Funding. One of the biggest issues of the year at CMU involved funding for Greek organizations. For years, Greeks had been complaining that they had been paying an Activities Fee that they were not benefiting from. Previous years had proposed possible solutions to this, including refunding a portion of the Activities Fee paid by members of Greek organizations. The flip side argument was that these funds were being provided to support all activities on campus, and the Greek organizations benefit from this as well. There seemed to be a mix of students on both sides of the argument, though a solution wasn’t achieved this year. But the issue wouldn’t go away quietly.
- New Buggies. A few new buggies made their debuts in 1997. SDC built a new buggy for the second year in a row, but after seeing the quality of SigNu’s freerolls, SDC decided to follow DU, PiKA, and Beta and switch styles to a reverse trike. The new buggy, Akula, took about 200 manhours to build the way they wanted to build it. PiKA also built a new buggy, Revelation, which had one wheel exposed and two tucked into the shell. The purpose of this design was to try and keep the two covered wheels aligned in a straight line. Spirit also continued their build cycle, rolling out a new buggy, Demani, for the fourth consecutive year. And SigTau must have needed some coffee after building their new buggy, because they decided to name it Foldgers/Folgers. And lastly, KapSig got tired of racing just the oversized buggy Patriot, but instead of building their own, they reached out to Fringe and acquired Genuine Risk, renaming the buggy Trojan.
- Predictions. Once again, we had predictions from Compubookie plus Men’s predictions from Tartan staffwriter James Stepanek. Impressively, even though the points above don’t necessarily reflect it, Compubookie nailed all 10 teams in the Top 10 of Men’s and all 3 teams in the Top 3 of Women’s, the first time he had ever done so. However, he had the order wrong, and with the combination of that and James getting Spirit B’s 5th place finish correct, James actually finished with more points (thus revealing a flaw in my points idea). Compubookie predicted that PiKA would have an improved freeroll this year, but that Spirit’s push team would be enough to make up for PiKA’s gains. He noted that SigNu was the sleeper this year, with the fastest buggies and some capable pushers, while PhiKap’s pushers are overachieving and Beta is on the decline. Meanwhile, James said to expect a spin from SDC and that both they and Pioneers would finish Top 10, but not Top 5. Beta’s pushers would be enough to get them into the Top 10, and both SigNu and PhiKap have been fast, but not quite as fast as the top teams (though rumors were that SigNu had finally found fast pushers). But of course, the Top 2 were Spirit and PiKA. Overall, Compubookie’s Men’s picks were: (1) Spirit A; (2) PiKA A; (3) PhiKap A; (4) SDC A; (5) SigNu A; (6) Beta A; (7) Spirit B; (8) KDR A; (9) Pioneers A; and (10) PiKA B, and James’s Men’s picks were (1) Spirit A; (2) PiKA A; (3) PhiKap A; (4) SigNu A; (5) Spirit B; (6) SDC A; (7) Pioneers A; (8) Beta A; (9) SigNu B; and (10) PiKA B. On the Women’s side, Compubookie went with (1) Spirit A, (2) SigNu A, and (3) PiKA A.
- An Explosion of Spectators. Freezing temperatures on Friday made Raceday a difficult thing to attend for the average fan. To try and convince people to come out, CMU decided to give out free hot chocolate to spectators. This brought more people out than initially expected. But the bigger draw may have come from the night before. According to the April 14, 1997, the “still-smoldering remains of an exploded course check car on the back of the track” was present at the start of the day, and people came out to inspect it. We don’t have any more details about this though – so if you know something about this exploded car, let us know!
- Yet Another Rainstorm. Apparently it wasn’t enough that the previous 4 years had been affected by rain, or that the fall and spring rolls had weather issues of their own. Weather reports called for a 100% chance of rain on Saturday. So it came as no surprise that at 7:00am on Saturday, 30 minutes before races were scheduled to begin, the skies opened up and a downpour began. Unwilling to call it a day without at least giving the possibility of rain stopping and roads drying, Sweepstakes waited until 9am before finally surrendering, and the results from Day 1 were made final.
- Heat Schedule. While we work to update our database, below was the Heat Schedule for 1997 (we’ve filled in buggy names where known):
- Spirit B (Lane 1), SigTau B (Lane 2), PiKA B – Desperado (Lane 3)
- SDC B – Sambvca (1), Beta A (2), SigNu B (3)
- KDR A (1), PhiKap A (2), DTD A (3)
- Spirit C (1), PiKA A – Mad Dog (2), Pioneers A – Helios (3)
- SDC A – Rage (1), SigNu A (2), SigTau A (3)
- Spirit A – Demani (1), SDC C – Escargot (2)
- KapSig B (1), SigNu C (2), SDC D – Escargot (3)
- PhiKap B – Secretariat (probably) (1), Fringe B – Scimitar (2), KapSig A – Trojan (3)
- SDC B – Sambvca (1), PiKA B – Mad Dog (2)
- KDR B – Palooka (1), Spirit C (2), PhiKap C – Centennial (probably) (3)
- Beta C (1), SigNu A (2), SigTau A (3)
- DTD A (2), Pioneers A – Hyperion (3)
- SDC A – Rage (1), PiKA C – Desperado (2), AEPi A – Barak (3)
- Spirit B – Demani (1), Fringe A – Junior (2), SigTau B (3)
- DU A (1), PhiKap A – Schadenfreude (probably) (2), Pioneers B – Tsunami (3)
- SDC C – Akula (1), Beta A (2), SigNu B (3)
- KDR A – Pumpkin King (1), PiKA A – Revelation (2), Spirit D (3)
- Spirit A – Haraka (1), Beta B (2), DTD B (3)
- PhiKap (2), Pioneers (3)
- DTD (2)
- KapSig (2), Sweepstakes (3)
- Beta (1), SigNu (2), PiKA (3)
- Fringe (1), KDR (2), SigTau (3)
- Spirit (1), AEPi (2), Spirit (3)
- Betas of the Hill. Beta may not have had the best buggies in 1997, but they did have the best pushers. Or, at the very least, the best Hill 1 pushers. Beta A won both King of the Hill and Queen of the Hill. The Beta A Women’s team Hill 1 pusher, Kerry Riley, finished Hill 1 in 21.36 seconds. On the Men’s side, Beta A also won the King of the Hill award, though we don’t have the name of the pusher or the time.
- PhiKap Interference. The race didn’t affect the final standings, but Men’s Heat 4 was a little unique. Spirit C led the way without issue. But second in the heat was PhiKap C, traveling ahead of KDR B. At some point during the race, PhiKap’s buggy ejected a wheel cover. And through some sheer bad luck, the wheel cover hit KDR B’s windshield. The contact led to PhiKap C being DQ’d for interference. The April 14, 1997 Tartan reports that the cover coming off “would not have disqualified” PhiKap C, which seems incorrect because of the loss of mass rules, but the contact with KDR made it a moot point.
- Men’s Protests. There were 2 major controversies in the Men’s races. The first involved SigNu. The A and B teams were both initially DQ’d by Sweepstakes because some of their pushers were not listed on the fraternity membership list. However, after deliberations and an investigation, both teams were reinstated because the membership list provided to Sweepstakes was incorrect and had not been updated to reflect the newest members. The second controversy involved Beta A. A protest was lodged against Beta, who had finished 2nd, claiming that the Beta Hill 4 pusher had crossed the transition line before he released the buggy, and thus they should be DQ’d for a Transition Violation. However, after conducting a tape review, Sweepstakes rejected the protest and Beta’s time was allowed to stand.
- Other Men’s Notables. SDC D’s Escargot never made it out to the Starting Line in Heat 1, resulting in a DNS. In Heat 6, DTD A was unable to stop after the race, and they were DQ’d for drops. Other than that, the most notable things were the close races: In Heat 2, only 3 seconds separated PhiKap B and KapSig A, and in Heat 5, the battle for 2nd between Beta C and SigTau A came down to a 0.5 second difference.
- Clean Women’s Races. As far as we can tell, 1997 was the cleanest day of Women’s racing ever. 17 teams entered; 17 teams finished; and 17 teams recorded official times. There were no DQs, no spins, and based on the predictions, no real surprises. So we don’t have much to say. At the end of the day, Spirit A’s new buggy Demani proved to be the best, winning by 7 seconds over PiKA A’s Mad Dog.
- Awards Conflict. Even though there doesn’t appear to be any issues in the Women’s race on the surface, it seems that something must have gone on behind the scenes. Because Beta had strong objections to PiKA’s 2nd place finish. According to the April 14, 1997 Tartan, members of Beta chanted “F— you, PiKA” during the Awards Ceremony as PiKA was announced as the winner of the 2nd place Women’s trophy. PiKA’s Buggy Chair responded by saying “Beta, you’re full of class” as he accepted the award.
- Exhibition Dangers. I think it’s fairly safe to say that on a per-race basis, the most injuries tend to happen during Exhibition Heats, as out-of-shape alumni and inexperienced pushers take their chance. And the 1997 Exhibitions were no different. According to the April 21, 1997 Tartan, during one of the exhibition heats on Friday, an unidentified alumnus’s shirt got entangled on the pushbar of the buggy that he was pushing. After giving the buggy a final shove, the shirt was still attached to the pushbar, and the buggy took the alum with it, causing the alum to be dragged on the pavement for a short distance. He sustained abrasions to the back of his head, both hands, and his left hip, but after being examined he refused treatment from EMS.
Raceday: Prelims on Friday, April 17 at 8:00am; Finals on Saturday, April 18 at 8:00am
Sweepstakes Committee: Dani Barnard (Chair); Donald Hoag (Ass. Chair); Kristen Williams (Safety); Debby Keller (“Youngster”); Alan Charness (Design)
Men’s Results: (1) Spirit A – Haraka (2:09.45); (2) PiKA A – Phantom (2:10.46); (3) PhiKap A (2:12.53); (4) Spirit B (2:15.48); (5) SigNu A (2:16.76); (6) PiKA B – Mad Dog (2:16.96)
Women’s Results: (1) PiKA A – Mad Dog (2:43.28); (2) Beta A (2:45.85);(3) SDC A – Sambvca (2:53.82); (4) PiKA B – Revelation (2:56.86); (5) Pioneers A – Helios (2:56.88); (6) SigNu A (DNF)
Design Comp: (1) PhiKap – Celerity; (2) SDC – Sambvca; (3) Spirit – Haraka
Other Awards: (People’s Choice) SigNu – Jubatus; (“Biggest Improvement” Award) CIA; (T-Shirt) PiKA; (Spirit of Buggy) Fringe
Weather: Cloudy with rain early, 46-51 Degrees on Friday; Cloudy, 41-53 on Saturday
Buggy Book: 1998 Buggy Book Link
Prediction Score: 27/55 Men’s, 5/27 Women’s (Compubookie); 21/40 Men’s, 5/27 Women’s (Jessica Strelitz)
We’ve got tons of stories from 1998, thanks to 3 Buggy Chairmen from the year. 1998 also led to the end of a dynasty (though we didn’t know it yet), and a very controversial DQ on the Women’s side.
- One Greek Enters, One Greek Leaves. AEPi took their second hiatus in 1998, but their spot didn’t go to waste. Instead, it was filled by SAE, who made their return to Buggy for the first time since 1994. And even more impressively, they landed a Top 10 Men’s time in their first race back.
- CIA Returns… CIA had a storied tradition as one of the first independents to compete in Buggy, and the first to win a Men’s race (by 1998, that number had skyrocketed to…2). But after the organization closed up shop in 1995, it seemed like CIA was done for good. Until 1998! Led by Aiton Goldman, CIA got a team up and running again. And they’ve been around ever since.
- …And Goes Stealth. CIA decided to come back with 2 teams, bringing out Conquest and Stealth. When Stealth appeared on Raceday, it had a new paint job making it look like a cow, with a single blue spot. Thanks to several BAA commenters, including Aiton Goldman (CIA Chair) and “DangerMike”, we now know why. Per Mike, the Stealth team in 1998 was made up of a bunch of guys from one of the dorms (possibly Mudge House). The deal they made with Aiton was that they would push & drive if they could paint naked ladies on the buggy. Aiton, thinking that the paint would never happen, accepted (Aiton admits that this might be true, though he has no recollection of this, thanks to having been awake for the previous 48 hours – He notes that it’s also possible that he declared himself Pope and started making papal decrees). Ed, the driver of Stealth, would hit on other drivers on Hill 2 during freerolls. He also weighed about 150lbs, which put the buggy/driver combo around 200lbs. The Stealth team styled themselves as the “bad boys” of buggy, but at dawn nobody cares how “bad” you are. When Raceday came, the leader of the Stealth team, Shane Miner, came to collect his debt. He had a stencil of a mud-flap girl, which he painted onto Stealth’s shell several times. According to Aiton, the CIA mechanics discovered the mud-flap girl paint job when they showed up to prep Stealth for Prelims and took offense, deciding to paint over it with a sky blue color (without consulting Aiton). When the Stealth team showed up and saw the new paint job, they threatened not to race. Like Solomon himself, Aiton passed judgment and…told the two groups to figure it out themselves. The Stealth team met and decided to steal Stealth, so that for 1 hour Aiton did not know where his buggy was. The buggy returned 1 hour later, painted like a cow; except for 1 blue spot. The Stealth team purposely left that spot unpainted to stick it to the CIA mechanics.
- Follow Car Discussions. But that’s not the end of the Stealth story. Aiton reveals that as he was sitting in the follow truck for Stealth’s roll, the paint on Stealth started to run. The Safety Chair turned to Aiton and asked “is the paint on stealth running?”. Aiton, after looking at Stealth and seeing the obvious paint streaks, responded “if I answer ‘No’, will you stop asking questions about it?” The Safety Chair said “yes”, so Aiton answered “No.”
- An Alumnus Remembers, Part 1. But Aiton didn’t just fill us in on Stealth. He also shared his 2 other memories from Raceday 1998. The first is from 30 seconds after CIA’s last heat, of Aiton filling a 20oz Mountain Dew bottle with about 10oz of vodka, and keeping it that way for 24 hours. He says that things get a little blurry after that. The second memory is getting back to his room on Friday, and getting a call from a recruiter. He asked how the recruiter got his resume, and the recruiter said they had it on file from when he submitted it the previous year. “Really?” he said. “You guys actually keep resumes on file? I thought those letters were a polite way of saying ‘go f— yourself'”. Aiton admits that had he to be filled in on the rest of Raceday 1998 by friends and the Tartan (thanks to his first memory of the Mountain Dew bottle). He found out that he was the only one to show up from CIA for awards, and that CIA won the Biggest Improvement award. He later learned that after he got up on stage (which was problematic), he was very witty. He apologized for the Stealth team not being present, but they were still pushing Stealth up Hill 4. Aiton also won a shirt and announced “I DON’T HAVE TO DO LAUNDRY FOR A WEEK”. He then proceed to shove the award down his pants.
- An Alumnus Remembers, Part 2. We’ve got another story from 1998, courtesy of Spirit Chair Carl Nott. He explained what he remembers about Raceday 1998, and it’s a pretty common story for a Buggy Chair leading up to Raceday. It begins on Wednesday, when he went to the buggy room and helped paint all the buggies. He soon realized that it was just a few hours before design, so he took the buggies to design. While there, he presented his buggies (most likely, per his recollection, without having showered or changed clothes). After Design Competition, he took the buggies back to Spirit, and then left to do an emergency run to Penske to pick up a truck because his credit card was declined. Once he got back, he continued to work on buggies, and then attended the Spirit hype session. At some point, he joined some of the Spirit team members in getting their heads shaved. From there, it was back to working on buggies until the Prelims began. After Prelims were over, he took the buggies back to Spirit house, dropped the truck off, and went to the Chairmen’s meeting. Once the meeting was over, he went to the house of another Spirit member, Jerry, to tell him that the Spirit Women’s team was DQ’d because the Women’s push captain had a transition violation on Hill 4 (which could not be seen on tape, of course – see below for more on this). Carl finally had a chance to sleep, and he did so on Jerry’s couch for a few hours, before getting back up and going back to the buggy room to work on the buggies some more. On Saturday, he went to the Finals. And then, finally, he went home and saw his wife for the first time since Wednesday (she was surprised at his shaved head, and also somewhat worried that he was dead). There, he slept and almost decided to skip awards to sleep more, but ultimately chose to attend the Awards Ceremony. After the ceremony, he went to PHI (Panther Hollow Inn), where he broke down and cried because it was over.
- An Alumnus Remembers, Part 3. A third story of Raceday 1998 comes from Carsen Kline, Fringe Chair. He said that Raceday ’98 was full of good times. Some of his memories include: (1) Seeing Carl Nott and Abby drinking Mickey’s and spray painting the buggies the night before design; (2) Being told by a design comp judge, “It’s a race”; (3) Making sure Brooklyn had a fresh rubber band in its steering; (4) Prepping the buggies overnight, occasionally stepping outside the buggy room to find that Stealth was being painted…again; (5) Loaning Carl the Fringe tire pump because his was worn out; (6) Getting back a worn-out tire pump; and (7) Learning what it means to win from the man who said it best: “I’m gonna go home and f— my wife!”
- A New Awards Ceremony. Another thing we learned about Raceday 1998 comes from Aiton Goldman, CIA Chair. Apparently, in 1998 Carnival Committee had the idea to separate Booth and Buggy Awards into 2 different ceremonies. The Buggy Award Ceremony was held on the CFA lawn in the early afternoon. We can only imagine how that turned out.
- Greeks Get Activities Fees. A solution to the Greek-Activities Fee issue wasn’t resolved in the 1996-1997 school year, but 1998 offered a starting point for where the solution would finally land. The February 16, 1998 Tartan notes that an amendment was proposed to the Student Senate fiscal policy that would set aside a portion of the Activities Fee that could be used by Greek organizations for Booth and Buggy. The amendment was withdrawn after several flaws were found, but Student Senate did agree to form a committee to investigate whether funds should be provided to Greek organizations.
- Truck Weekend Incidents. Fall Rolls began on the Weekend of October 4, and ran for each weekend until November 16. In the Spring, rolls began on the weekend of February 28 and ended with Truck Weekend on April 12. But Truck Weekend wasn’t without issue. Spirit and PiKA were, as usual, the top 2 teams. Beta, on the other hand, was rolling particularly slow. KapSig was even worse, as they came to a stop during the freeroll at one point. But the big story came from PhiKap, as one of their buggies flipped over during Truck Weekend. And in general, Compubookie pointed out that Sweepstakes had some issues with traffic control, resulting in cars being on the course at the same time as buggies.
- New Buggies of 1998. A number of new buggies made their way out to Raceday 1998. The most interesting of those belonged to Fringe, who rolled out their new buggy, Brooklyn. Fringe chair Carsen Kline was quoted in the April 13, 1998 Tartan as saying that Brooklyn “offers the driver unparalleled visibility, which will give her a great view of the other buggies as she passes them.” That visibility was due to the fact the Brooklyn was the first buggy since Theta Xi’s Xiclone to be a feet-first buggy participating on Raceday. Pioneers also built a new buggy, named Scorpion. Several Greek organizations also built new buggies: SigNu built Jubatus, Beta built Occam, PhiKap built Celerity, and PiKA built Phantom.
- Predictions. Compubookie was once again joined by Tartan staffwriter Jessica Strelitz in the prediction game. Compubookie pointed out the problems of the year, which included inefficiencies, poor organizational efforts, and of course, rain. His favorite on the Men’s side was Spirit, whom he described as having above average buggies and excellent pushers. He also expected Beta to be a big player based on their athleticism, compared with PiKA’s pushers who were lacking in 1998. PhiKap was said to have top pushers but subpar buggies, while SigNu had top buggies but subpar pushers. And SDC was expected to do well, as long as they made it through the Chute. Overall, his Men’s predictions were: (1) Spirit A; (2) Beta A; (3) PiKA A; (4) PhiKap A; (5) SigNu A; (6) SDC A; (7) Spirit B; (8) Pioneers A; (9) KDR A; and (10) PiKA B. On the Women’s side, he went with (1) Spirit A, (2) SigNu A, and (3) PiKA A. Tartan Sportswriter Jessica Strelitz predicted a Men’s Top 5 of (1) Spirit A; (2) PiKA A; (3) Beta A; (4) PhiKap A; and (5) SDC A, and on the Women’s side she agreed with Compubookie’s predictions of (1) Spirit A, (2) SigNu A, and (3) PiKA A.
- Rain Delays Buggy AGAIN. It’s a little crazy to see how many years in a row Buggy was impacted by rain. But it happened again in 1998. Friday’s Prelims were delayed for 2 hours thanks to overnight rain. Although it was not raining by the scheduled start of the races, the roads were still wet, and so Sweepstakes waited until 9:30 to begin the races.
- Queen of the Hill. Once again, Beta A may not have had a great Women’s team, but they did have the Queen of the Hill. Kerry Riley, Beta A’s Hill 1 pusher, won Queen of the Hill for the 2nd year in a row, with an almost identical 21.4 second Hill 1.
- Women’s Controversy. The biggest on-course story of Raceday 1998 came from the Women’s side of the ledger. The Spirit A Women’s team put together a strong race on Friday, stopping the clock in a Day 1 leading time of approximately 2:41.00 (the Tartan reports the time as 2:40, though our database has it at 2:41; either way, it was the fastest time of the day). The trouble came at the Chairmen’s Meeting. SigNu filed a formal protest, arguing that Spirit A’s Hill 3 pusher, Senior Push Captain Charisse Davis, crossed the transition line while still touching the buggy, which would have resulted in a Hill 3-4 Transition Violation. Sweepstakes began a tape review, and after a 45 minute review, Sweepstakes decided to DQ Spirit for the violation. According to the April 20, 1998 Tartan, Spirit’s chair, Carl Nott, demanded to see the tape, but was denied. He was told that he would be allowed to see it after Carnival. However, Carl ran into a member of Sweepstakes at a BBQ later during Carnival, and that member of Sweepstakes said that, in his opinion, “the videotape was BS”. But even though the tape didn’t show the transition lines on the ground, Sweepstakes decided to unanimously DQ Spirit on the basis of the landmarks visible in the video, as they estimated where the transition zone ended. An editorial in the April 20, 1998 demanded to know if the decision was unanimous, and argued that Spirit A deserved a chance to defend themselves before being DQ’d. Sweepstakes had no comment on the matter.
- Women’s Finals. After the Spirit A DQ, PiKA B snuck their way into the Finals. In Women’s Finals Heat 1, PiKA B’s Revelation went up against SDC A’s Sambvca. PiKA’s buggy was the better roller, and even though SDC went into the freeroll first, PiKA passed in the Freeroll. But it was a battle of A team pushers vs. B team pushers, and SDC was able to pass back on the back hills, on their way to a 3rd place finish. In Finals Heat 2, which paired SigNu A and Beta A, Beta got significantly faster than their Prelim time, shaving 10 seconds off of their Day 1 time. Beta went into the freeroll first, which was a good thing for them…and a bad thing for SigNu. SigNu’s buggy was faster than Beta’s and SigNu caught up as they entered the Chute. SigNu made a move to pass, but Beta took a tight line, limiting SigNu’s options. When SigNu tried to pass during the turn, SigNu bumped into the back of Beta’s buggy, causing SigNu to spin out. Beta’s 2:45.82 gave PiKA A’s Mad Dog a target to reach in Finals Heat 3 as they went up against Pioneers A’s Helios, and the target was reachable. PiKA A had no problem winning the Heat and taking the Women’s races with a 2:43.28.
- Men’s Heat Schedule. The Tartan didn’t print the full Heat Schedule for 1998, but they did give us enough info on the Men’s side, so while we work to update our database, below are the Men’s Heats (and buggies where available):
- PhiKap B (Lane 1), Spirit C (Lane 2), Fringe C (Lane 3)
- SDC B – Rage (1), SAE A (2), SigNu C (3)
- PiKA B – Mad Dog (1), PhiKap C – Centennial (2), CIA A (3)
- Beta B – Unforgiven (1), SDC A – Sambvca (2), KDR B
- SigNu A (1), Pioneers B (2), Fringe B – Brooklyn (3)
- Spirit B (1), Fringe A (2), SDC C (3)
- PhiKap A – Celerity (1), PiKA C (2), SigTau A – Foldgers (3)
- Beta A – Occam (1), KDR A (2), KapSig A (3)
- PiKA A – Phantom (1), SigNu B (2), CIA B (3)
- Spirit A – Haraka (1), Pioneers A – Scorpion (2), SigTau B (3)
- Finals Heat 1 – Spirit B, SAE A
- Finals Heat 2 – PiKA B, PhiKap B
- Finals Heat 3 – PhiKap A, SigNu A
- Finals Heat 4 – PiKA A, SDC A
- Finals Heat 5 – Spirit A, Pioneers A
- Men’s Miscellany. A few of the Prelims races involved passes, but no major concerns happened in them. In Heat 2, SAE A entered the freeroll first, but SDC B passed early in the freeroll. But it wasn’t done there; SAE A re-passed on the back hills, finishing 1 buggy length, and 0.5 seconds, in front of SDC B’s Rage. In Heat 5, Fringe B’s new feet-first buggy, Brooklyn, beat Pioneers B up the front hills, but Pioneers passed in the freeroll. And in Heat 8, Beta A’s new buggy, Occam, disappointed the spectators and missed the top 10 entirely. As a note, the BAA history has 2 DQ’s, both for failing Drops – SigNu B and Pioneers B. However, the April 20, 1998 Tartan has 2 different organizations DQing for failing drops – Fringe A and SigNu C. The Finals were uneventful (other than being close at the top), with the only real notable result being Pioneers A, who was DQ’d for having a Pacer.
- 1998 Video. Below is a video from the lead truck in 1998, beginning with PiKA approaching the transition flag (through the end of their race), followed by the Spirit A/Pioneers A Finals Heat 5.
Raceday: Prelims on Friday, April 16 at 7:30am; Finals on Sunday, April 18 at 8:00am*
Sweepstakes Committee: Debby Keller (Chair); Michael Doherty (Ass. Chair); Michael Garel (Safety); Abigail Beck (Design)
Men’s Results: (1) PiKA A (2:09.72); (2) Spirit A (2:10.99); (3) PiKA B (2:14.29); (4) SDC A (2:18.50); (5) Pioneers A (2:21.42); (6) KDR A (2:23.22)
Women’s Results: (1) PiKA A (2:45.92); (2) Spirit A (2:47.03);(3) SDC A (2:49.13); (4) Fringe A (2:51.68); (5) PiKA B (2:52.23); (6) SigNu A (2:52.76)
Design Comp: (1) Fringe – Bachi; (2) SDC – Rage; (3) Spirit – Haraka
Other Awards: (People’s Choice) SigNu; (Chairman’s Choice) SAE; (T-Shirt) SAE; (Spirit of Buggy) Fringe & Beta
Weather: Cloudy with occasional showers, 46-48 Degrees on Friday; Rain Saturday; Cloudy with rain early, 40-45 on Sunday
Buggy Book: 1999 Buggy Book Link
Prediction Score: 13/55 Men’s, 10/27 Women’s (Compubookie)
1999 brought with it a major rainstorm that caused chaos both on and off the course, and the filming of a movie that got in the way more often than not.
- The Rain Continues. The 1990s seems to have been marred by rain, so it seems fitting that the biggest weather impact of the decade came at the end of the decade. Friday’s races were scheduled to begin at 7:30am, but heavy rains overnight led to a delay at the start while Sweepstakes waited for the course to dry. Sweepstakes sent cars around the course to help dry off the roads, and after a 1 hour delay, Raceday 1999 finally got underway. But the rain didn’t hold off for long. Sweepstakes got through the Women’s Prelims with just an occasional delay, but by the time the Men’s races started, the roads had gotten much wetter and safety was at issue. The Men’s races began, but the slick roadways were causing significant problems. Surprisingly, most of those problems came not from the freeroll, but from the pushers. Several Men’s pushers slipped on the wet roads, with 3 Pushbar DQs coming within the first 4 heats. After the 4th heat, Sweepstakes decided that the roads were too wet for the races to continue. So the rest of the day was cancelled, and the Women’s Finals and Men’s Prelims were scheduled for Saturday. But Saturday saw more rain, and after waiting on the course for 3.5 hours (including sending cars and trucks around the course to help dry it), Sweepstakes finally pulled the plug at 11am. Since the Women had gotten their heats in on Friday, the Women’s times were declared final. But since the Men had not yet completed their races, Sweepstakes turned to the rain date on Sunday for a full running of the Men’s heats.
- The Sunday Plan. Sweepstakes started Sunday with the 8 Men’s heats that had not previously raced yet, and then scheduled the 4 heats that had raced on Friday to be rerun at the end of the day if there was time. But even Sunday didn’t go off without rain getting in the way. Sunday was a cold, windy day, and the races were occasionally put on hold due to rain. The April 19, 1999 Tartan notes that even running the races on Sunday was questionable, as the weather was no better on Sunday than it was the previous 2 days (and in fact, it may have been worse). But by the end of the day, all of the Men’s teams had a chance to race and a winner was crowned.
- Sunday Organization. Of course, pushing the Men’s races to Sunday created an organizational nightmare for Sweepstakes. The April 19, 1999 Tartan notes that no schedule was posted for Sunday’s makeup, and support organizations such as APhiO (for the leaderboard) and WRCT (for the broadcast) had difficulty planning for Sunday. The end result was that there was no leaderboard and no broadcast for the Men’s races. Sweepstakes also had to scramble to hand out the Men’s awards, which they couldn’t do at the Awards Ceremony on Saturday. Instead, an impromptu ceremony was put together at 5pm on Sunday. And as if to mock Sweepstakes, the sun shone brightly during the ceremony.
- Buggy Burglary. On September 17, 1998, at 5:13pm, an unidentified, non-PiKA fraternity reported a burglary in their garage. The doorknob was missing from the service door, the latch handle on the garage door was bent, and the garage door was found resting on an air pump, suggesting that it had been opened since the last time the fraternity was in the garage. When the brothers opened the garage door, they discovered that one of their buggies, a “pinkish-red” colored buggy, was missing. The going theory for why the theft occurred was to cause the fraternity distress. The police were called and they found clues, including a fingerprint, but it ended up as a moot point. At 4:50am the next morning, CMU police received an anonymous call saying that the missing buggy could be found behind the monument at Westinghouse Pond. 3 CMU officers responded and found the buggy, with parts lying inside and outside.
- A “Wonder”ful Spring Fall rolls ran from October 10-November 15, and there were 6 weeks of rolls scheduled for the Spring (12 days in total). 3 of those 12 were cancelled due to weather, and another 3 were cancelled for a more unique reason. The Paramount film “Wonder Boys”, starring Michael Douglas, filmed at Carnegie Mellon during the Spring semester, and the production trucks and equipment needed to use the course. This was only expected to cancel 1 weekend of rolls, but it resulted in a 3rd cancellation after one of the film trucks was unexpectedly parked on the course on a day that it was not supposed to be there. The movie did not endear itself to the CMU community, and particularly the Buggy community. According to Shafeeq in the comments below, this 3rd cancellation was particularly aggravating. Due to the wet and cold weather leading up to that day, there was ice compacted underneath parked cars. To make sure that rolls would happen on that Saturday, various people went out to the course on Friday and shoveled about half of the freeroll to remove the ice. So when the teams showed up on Saturday and the production truck was on the course, they were rightfully upset. According to the April 19, 1999 Tartan, many people complained that the school was putting its own traditions as a second priority to the film, though the CMU administration pointed out that it was a situation where the film crew took liberties that they shouldn’t have. The Student Senate passed a resolution admonishing the film crew for its disruptions. Immediately after Carnival ended, Paramount requested one additional day of filming on campus. The school initially denied the request (as a result of the major disruptions the movie had previously caused), but Paramount eventually made the filming worthwhile. They agreed to pay a fee of $40,000 for the additional day of filming. $25,000 of that was given to the student body generally, $5,000 to H&SS, $5,000 to CFA, …and $5,000 to Sweepstakes.
- New Buggies of 1999. Only a few new buggies made their way to the course in 1999. SAE built a new buggy to go along with their new era in the competition, producing the standard trike Rubicon. Fringe also produced a new buggy, Bachi. For the other buggies that our records indicate were built in 1999, it’s unclear if any ever actually raced: PiKA’s Phoenix, and KDR’s double dose of Palanquin and Priapus. Lastly, DTD must have felt the rhythm and the rhyme, because they renamed their buggy Darkstar to Cool Runnings.
- Compubookie’s Best of the Decade. Compubookie gave his usual predictions for 1999, with a Top 10 Men’s and a Top 3 Women’s. But he also reached back and handed out “awards” for his Best of the Decade list. For 1999, Compubookie focused on some of the teams towards the bottom of the leaderboard, noting that DTD only came out to rolls 2 weeks before Raceday, and SigTau and KDR couldn’t decided if they wanted to participate in push practice. He also pointed out that SigEp doesn’t have an actual buggy yet, and DU does have a buggy but doesn’t want to race it. His surprise team for 1999 was Fringe A, who built a buggy resembling PhiKap’s and added some pushers who can actually push. In the end, his Top 10 Men’s predictions were: (1) Spirit A; (2) PiKA A; (3) PhiKap A; (4) Beta A; (5) Spirit B; (6) SigNu A; (7) SDC A; (8) PiKA B; (9) SAE A; and (10) Fringe A. On the Women’s side, he went with (1) Spirit A; (2) Beta A; and (3) PiKA A. But looking back on the decade, Compubookie handed out the following awards:
- Best “New” Buggy Power – SDC (who has competed with the top teams in recent years and shows no sign of stopping)
- Best One Year Wonder – Beta
- Best Team of Days Gone By – ATO (for their combination of attitude and brawn)
- The “A” For Effort Team – Pioneers, who is always a dark horse and the most underrated org
- Most Successful Org – PiKA, who has won more than anyone else
- Best Org I’ve Ever Watched – Spirit
- Biggest Disappointment to Buggy – SigNu, for having the best rolling buggies but never finishing in the Top 3.
- Emperor of the Hill. We also got a wrapup of King of the Hill winners from the 1990s. And the champion of them all was Chris Tomforde, PiKA A Hill 1 pusher. In 1996, he clocked in with a 14.89 second Hill 1. Spirit’s best time of the decade was 15.2 seconds, while Beta clocked in at 15.75.
- Women’s Heat Schedule. Due to the issues with the rescheduling of the Men’s Heats, we don’t have the Men’s schedule, but while we work to update our database, we do have the Women’s schedule, which was as follows:
- PiKA B (Lane 1), Fringe B (Lane 2)
- Beta A (1), Spirit B (2)
- SDC A (1), Pioneers A (2)
- SigNu A (1), CIA A (2)
- PiKA A (1), KDR A (2), SDC B (3)
- Spirit A (1), Fringe A (2), SDC C (3)
- SigNu B (1) (Raced alone after they were given an incorrect start time for their original heat)
- Women’s Race Recap. For a day of poor weather, the Women’s races ended up relatively clean, with only 1 team (SDC B) being DQ’d for Drops and no DNFs. After a 1 hour delay to start the day, the women’s races got underway. In Prelims Heat 2, Spirit B led Beta A most of the way, until the back hills, as the Beta A Hill 5 pusher was finally able to pass Spirit B and win the heat. But immediately after that heat, the races were put on hold for a short rain delay. The races would resume after the short delay, with the sun even briefly poking itself out. Sweepstakes worked quickly to get the other heats in before the rain came back. And they succeeded, with just a light drizzle falling as PiKA A, KDR A, and SDC B battled in Prelims Heat 5 (and it’s possible that the falling rain is what caused SDC B to fail drops). The final scheduled heat demonstrated that Fringe’s new buggy was a sign of things to come, as Fringe A stayed neck-and-neck with pre-race favorite Spirit A until the back hills, when Spirit’s pushes began to pull away. But the Hill 1 for Fringe was so impressive that Hill 1 pusher Laura Rosensteel was named Queen of the Hill. Lastly, due to an issue with the start time, Sweepstakes was able to sneak in one final race, for SigNu B, at the end of the Prelims.
- A Friday Men’s Note. Thanks to Shafeeq in the comments below, we do have one story from the Men’s heats on Friday. That heat matched up Fringe C’s Junior, PhiKap’s Centennial (either C or D team), and CIA B’s Stealth. Fringe and PhiKap were ahead of CIA up the front hills, and those two orgs went into the freeroll together. Junior and Centennial “had a bumper car race” from the start of Hill 2 until the stop sign. Possibly as a result of that, both buggies weren’t travelling particularly fast, which gave CIA’s Stealth a chance to catch up. At the transition flag, CIA had caught up to the other two and driver Michelle Plesko (nee Ungerer) decided to pass. To do so, she made a risky move to the inside, and successfully passed the buggies by going between the Fringe flagger and the curb. Interestingly enough, she would repeat that pass when the heat was rerolled on Sunday.
- A Wild Chute. Because the Men’s races were held with spotty coverage on Sunday, we don’t have a ton of specifics from the races. But there is one particular race that we have done detail on. It involved Fringe A’s Bachi going up against Spirit B and CIA A’s Conquest. Fringe had the lead going into the Chute turn, but Spirit was right on its tail, and Spirit attempted an inside pass in the Chute. Fringe took a particularly wide line into the Chute, and ended up losing control. The buggy spun out and began heading for the inner bales just as Spirit had pulled even. Bachi ended up colliding with the Spirit buggy, with the nose of Bachi traveling left-to-right and hitting the back half of the Spirit buggy. The Spirit buggy swerved as a result of the collision, but managed to stabilize and make it through the Chute. Bachi came to rest in the middle of the Chute, perpendicular to the road. CIA’s Conquest was not stopped, however, and made the Chute turn. The driver managed to see Bachi just as she entered the Chute, and somehow managed to swerve to the inside to avoid t-boning the Fringe buggy, and then swerved back towards the middle of the Chute after passing Bachi in order to avoid hitting the haybales. If that sounds confusing (or exciting) to you, or you’re wondering how we know these specifics, we’ve got good news…We have the video!
- Other Sunday Men’s Races. Outside of the Fringe A spin, we don’t know much about the specific Men’s races in 1999. But what we do know is that the poor weather, combined with the changed schedule, continued to play havoc on Men’s buggy teams. Spirit’s Buggy Chair was quoted in the April 19, 1999 Tartan as saying that “the weather played a serious effect on the morale of our team. Everyone expected to be done by Saturday.” In total, 4 teams scheduled to race never even made it to the Starting Line, as SigTau and DTD elected not to race at all on Sunday and the Pioneers C team didn’t make it to the Starting Line either. In addition, both CIA B and PhiKap D were DQ’d for making illegal roster substitutions. There were a mix of other DQ’s, including Pushbars, Drops, Interference, and even a Pacer, and in total, 7 teams were DQ’d. And the wet roads did a number on the freerolling buggies as well, with PhiKap A, PhiKap C, and Spirit C all spinning out and earning DNFs (in addition to Fringe A). PhiKap A’s spin was a clear sign of the condition problems, as their spin came not in the Chute, but rather right after the Hill 2 shove into the freeroll. The big winners of the day were PiKA, who finished 1st and 3rd with their A and B teams (and had the 5th fastest time with their C team, but was DQ’d for interference), and SDC A, who finished 4th, suggesting that they were the top team on the rise.
- 1999 Videos. We’ve got multiple videos from 1999! The first shows the Chute turn and rollout from a Spirit vs. Beta Women’s heat, revealing Beta’s very unique Chute flag location. The second shows Fringe Men’s A’s Bachi spinning out in front of Spirit B.
- 1997 Photos. Below are a number of photos from 1997:
- 1998 Photos. Below are some photos from 1998:
- 1999 Photos. Below are a few photos from 1999: