The First Weekend of Rolls is Here!

Welcome back to another fall semester at CMU; we are 4 weeks into the semester and students are knee deep in their first round of midterms. It’s the perfect time to bust out the Buggies! The first day of Rolls will be Sunday the 23rd, with the first buggy scheduled to hit the course at 7am. We look forward to an amazing start to all sorts of Buggy-goodness.

In other news, the BAA HQ is abuzz with activity where we are hard at work prepping some awesome things for Buggy’s 99th year. Our head of communications, Aileen, is collecting updates and articles for our fall newsletter and for the first time in a long time, our Treasurer is preparing a high level financial summary that will be put out as its own post here to give all of our member a peek behind the scenes.
And if you’re around for Family Weekend (Oct 12-14) or Homecoming (Oct 26-27) this fall, come join us at Rolls for coffee and doughnuts both weekends as well as the always fascinating History of Buggy  by Tom Wood!

Welcome to the 95th year of Buggy!

Hey guys,

Orientation is almost over and classes are about to begin which means that we have a few weeks before the 95th year of buggy rolls! Are you ready? We will be, and we’ll be making a few adjustments to the site for this year.

First off, for any of you freshmen that made your way here, Welcome! We hope you found the “What is Buggy” event informative and we encourage you to look through the Video and gallery sections to help you get an idea of what it’s like to be a part of this amazing sport. If you have any questions, feel free to post them here and our community would be more than happy to answer them for you.

Along those lines, our current forum system has been having some troubles, so we are going to try turning the reddit based Project Zone into our new forum system. If this works well, we’ll keep it there, otherwise we’ll use that until we can fix our current system. We will be freezing the current forum and keep it accessible for anyone that wants to peruse the old conversations.

Lastly, before rolls possibly happen, we are planning our own Globally plaid event that will mimic the design comp panel we had last carnival. The only difference is this time we will be doing it over a google hangout with Buggy people from around the globe. We are still figuring out who all will be involved so if you’re interested in participating, please let us know!

That’s all for now, What are you looking forward to this year?

2011 Raceday videos now online!

It’s the time of year when exciting buggy things start happening pretty much every day.  I hope you’re not trying to get any work done, because today is one of those days.

Since we unveiled 2.0 just over a year ago, the video section has been one of the less talked about, but most used new parts of the site, tallying 47,300+ videos watched.  The deal we have with cmuTV is that we wait a year before we add their excellent coverage to our ever-lasting online archive.  Hopefully many of you have already bought a DVD from CMUtv to add to your personal collection, but now we’ve also got them all organized, online, and for the most part integrated with our history database. Without further ado, I give you:’11

If you prefer the native youtube experience, you can find the full Raceday 2011 playlist here.

Sneak Preview of upcoming excitement …

  • Sat & Sunday : Truck weekend
  • Monday : Members-Only Raceday Preview is emailed to supporting members
  • Monday 10pm : Heat selection meeting
  • Tue 9am : Lead Truck Auction begins
  • Wed 9pm : Lead Truck Auction ends
  • Thur : Design Comp, Carnival starts, …. woooooo!

Live Streaming for the last rolls of the year

Rolls on Saturday have been canceled on account of wintery temperatures, but Sunday is still on, and it’ll be the last day of rolls.

Last Sunday’s experiment with live-broadcasting rolls didn’t turn any heads at ESPN, but I’d call it reasonably successful, so we’re going to try it again.  If you don’t want to brave the TSA or the November winds to catch the last day of rolls, just tune in between 7-9am on Sunday at:

I’m planning on trying a different perspective or maybe even moving around a couple of times, so comment if you have any fun ideas.  Suggestions are also welcome for conversation topics to serve as the commentary on the broadcast.

A new year, new ideas; your help wanted

I know I don’t want to admit it, but the reality is that the end of summer is in sight, and the Buggy Alumni Association wants to be ready for another big year (our 4th!).  After the buzz from raceday died down, we all took a healthy break from buggy madness, but a few things have been coming together on those rainy days.  The theme of these projects is that we are hoping to get more of our members actively involved this year making the BAA and better and better.

Buggy Orientation Event

For the second year, current students will be holding a multi-org, non-partisan introduction to buggy for the incoming class near the end of orientation.  This is exactly the kind of thing that we want to be happening on campus, so we want to support it any way we can.  Right now the agenda includes buggies on display, an intro talk explaining the sport and basic terms, and an outdoors demo session.  Want to help pull the next generation into buggy?  Help is needed advertising the event, setting things up, and talking with interested freshmen, etc.  Current students are especially important to have involved. Contact Ben Matzke ( if you want to help out.  Details:

Saturday, August 27th
3:30 – 4:30 @ UC Connan : basic Q&A
5-6 @ CFA Parking lot / base of Hill 1: rolling buggy demos

BAA Project Zone

Continue reading

2010 videos now on cmubuggy!

If you’ve been on cmubuggy in the last 5 days since our new site debuted (and over 2,000 of you have), you’ve undoubtedly checked out its biggest new feature: the video library.  For the launch we had 264 videos capturing buggy from the 1950’s through raceday 2009.  Thanks to our partners in this project over at cmuTV, we have been able to share all of their terrific (and constantly improving) coverage from 2003 onward.

Part of that deal is that we keep each year’s races “in the vault” for a year while they sell DVDs which help to pay for the production.  Well guess what folks, it’s been a year since raceday 2010.  With no further ado, we give you …

This year’s installment comes with 40 videos including a great set of cmuTV-produced buggy promos  composed of footage from rolls and set to kickin’ beats.  Put a link to your favorite video on facebook and spread the word to folks that don’t yet know that all of this is online!

Other notes while I’ve got your attention:

  • The Lead Truck Auction will end at 9pm tonight.  Get in on the bidding.  Riding in the lead truck is a great way to experience raceday, and a great way to support the BAA’s financial contribution to the dual jumbotrons we can no longer do without.
  • Our Members-Only Raceday Preview has been getting rave reviews from our members.  And I quote:  “wow, loving it, awesome”   and “its awesome … you should make sure more people read it bc i didnt even realize what i was missing.”  Join or renew your membership here and forward us your confirmation email to
  • If you sent us an e-mail yesterday and didn’t get a response, try again today, we fixed a problem with the join@ address and weren’t sure how many people were affected.
  • If you have emailed about other problems with the website and haven’t gotten a response, I’m really sorry.  We’re a little behind here in headquarters.  I’ll try to get everything fixed up before raceday.  Oh shit, that’s the day after tomorrow.

Here comes raceday + mini truck weekend report

I hope the rolls report faithful weren’t too distraught today given the lack of rolls report following an exciting truck weekend.  As you may remember, after truck weekend the large and well compensated BAA staffers spend the night producing an in depth and comprehensive report for our generous supporters: the Members-Only Raceday Preview.  Lucky for you, there’s still time to become a member or renew your membership via our new and improved membership page.  Starting this year, there is no set or minimum contribution to become an official member.  If you’re willing to throw something in the pot, you’re on the team.

The preview has just gone out to members, and it’s about 100x better than what compubookie slapped together, so don’t miss out.  If you didn’t get a copy of the Raceday Preview and you think you are a member, check our new roster of members to confirm and then let us know.  Remember if you become a member now, forward your gift confirmation email to so that we can get that Preview right out to you.

In other week-of-raceday news, the heat selection meeting was held Monday night.  We’ll get the heats incorporated into our system soon. 49 teams is 6 fewer than last year but just one less than in 2009. There accordingly 2 fewer heats overall.

With all of that business taken care of … it was an interesting truck weekend, so I won’t ignore it entirely.

In attendance
Everyone was in attendance, it was truck weekend!

Observations (Saturday Gallery, Sunday Gallery)

  • I didn’t do much observing on Saturday as we were doing a dress rehersal of the timing system.  I will be head timing again this year, operating the same system we rented last year.  It took a while to remember how everything plugged together, but once we got it figured out, it worked like a charm.  Hill 5s, practice your best frozen profile poses, they’ll be part of the official record.
  • SAE had a gnarly wheel failure while entering the chute on Saturday.  It looked familiar in many ways to the failures Spirit and CIA had and it ups the expectation that the road quality will inflict some casualties this raceday.  SAE has their act together though, and they whipped up a spare in time for rolls on Sunday.
  • Fringe and CIA both lost rear hatches in the chute.  Figure out those tape strategies before next week everyone!  On a general note, chairmen, take a moment and remind everyone in your org how they can avoid DQing the team.  Sounds simple right, but every year there are tons of DQs for stupid stuff.  Don’t be in the stupid club next week.
  • SigEp had some cool looking transponders on their buggies.  I’m guessing they were GPS or accelerometers of some sort.  Barracuda was flying all weekend so I’m guessing the data looks good no matter which variables they were measuring.
  • Both SigEp and Pioneers both had trouble at the finish line when they stopped the buggy by the pushbar and heard that terrible sound: carbon crinkling, breaking, crunching.  Pioneers’ problem looked to be in the top of Chaos’ shell while Mamba’s failure was a crack right across the composite pushbar.  Word from SigEp is that it’s already mended and stronger than ever.  I hope Pioneers is doing the same since they have no backup.
  • Fans in the chute were fairly well entertained this weekend.  Not to be lowbrow about it though, there was lots of speed on display and some thrilling driving. Both SDC and PiKA’s RD2011 are routinely drifting through the turn at full speed. PiKA was losing big chunks of rubber in the process but rolling out well. AEPi hit the inside curb after the hay bales in what looked like a visibility issue. SN’s Skua ended the semester of rolls with a distinctly squirrely entrance line and then a pretty quick spin that sent her into the bales tail first. SDC took the cake for most exciting incident without even stopping when Avarice swung out all the way outside and tapped the bales with her outside rear wheel with enough force to throw some hay in the air. The recovery was truly impressive though as she got back on track and managed to roll out a number of windows. Youtube of those three below.

New website arrives in time for raceday

While six of the buggy orgs were in their garage all winter building new buggies, we did some building of our own and attempted the first complete overhaul of our website since it was launched in 2008.

In addition to a visual re-design and upgraded forum, gallery, and news software, some of the exciting new features include:


This project has been at the top of our wish list since the beginning and it’s finally here.  We’re launching our video library with 263 videos that span all of cmuTV’s coverage from 2003-2009 as well as some older historic gems and some compilations and clips from this semester at rolls.  Our agreement with cmuTV is to give the DVDs one year of exclusivity before we put the content online.  DVD sales help fund the production itself, and we don’t want to undercut that.  In what we hope will become a new tradition, the 2010 videos will be unveiled online this week before the races.

Content Feed

Didn’t you hate when you came up with a clever comment on a picture in the gallery, but nobody ever saw it?  Now everything that happens on the site is sorted out and displayed chronologically so you won’t miss a thing.  Ok, so we ripped off the facebook concept a bit, but I think that site is really going to take off, so I figured we’d ride on the coat tails.

Reference Wiki

This one is going to take a while to reach its full potential, but I think it’s going to be cool.  Buggy is so full of quirky and specific terminology and ideas that it takes new teams, new fans, and anyone else that crosses our path a long time to figure out what’s so cool about it.  We have tried to offer a “What is Buggy” section on the site, but it’s too large a job for us to tackle well.  Luckily, the wiki format lets everyone add and refine the knowledge base as they’re able.  If you’ve never edited a wiki before, don’t be shy.  Just click edit anywhere you see it and start typing.


Wondering how your favorite team has been progressing over the last 1o years?  Don’t wonder any longer, just take a look at the “trends” tab on any organization page and check our our new graphs.  We hope these graphs are just the beginning, let us know what buggy data you think could benefit from some visualization.

Take a look around, check out the new digs, and let us know what you think in this thread in the forum.  All accounts from the old site should still work, but you’ll need to re-confirm your e-mail address.  Send an e-mail to if that process gives you any trouble.   Thanks to shafeeq and colugodriver for uploading pictures from rolls this morning.   The new gallery should be a lot easier to use, so hopefully we’ll have everyone contributing pictures this raceday!

Game on! Carnival & new website features to match

Classes are out (which implies people had been going recently), tents and trucks are accumulating around campus, and has just switched on a bunch of new features. It must be raceday!

Our front page has been updated with links to and descriptions of all of our raceday specific amenities, but I’ll recap some of the new exciting one here

  • Ask the Broadcasters – Our team of buggy alumni, WRCT sportscasters, and cmuTV producers have been preparing for a long time now to deliver another high-quality broadcast.  One thing they’ve wished for in the past was that viewers were able to “call in” with questions about the races as they’re going.  Now you can.  Just hit up the link above and throw out a conversation starter (it probably makes more sense to wait until the broadcast starts).
  • mobile – Buggy has always been ahead of the times when it came to composites and rubber compounds, but lately buggy fans on the move have been wishing they could follow the races from their phones.  Hit up from your web-enabled phone and you’ll get an assortment of raceday necessities in phone-friendly format.  It’s a bit bare bones on the aesthetics at the moment, but that way it’ll work on more phones. Continue reading

Buggy books 1965-2009 now online

Buggy books are one of our best sources for buggy history.  Just like old yearbooks, they’re just fun to browse through to see how much things have changed and how much they’ve stayed the same.  Teams no longer proudly describe their build process in detail as was common into the mid 70’s.  Check out this description offered by ATO in 1968:

The “Golden Goose’s” design is based on the aerodynamic features of a teardrop and is constructed of a plywood and steel frame with a molded fiberglass shell.  In 1959 air scoops were added to improve the aerodynamic qualities of the buggy … Despite good times last year, both buggies were disqualified because of failure to pass a brake test.  This year the ATO’s will add improved brake systems.”

and by Beta in the same year: Continue reading