What is buggy?
Buggy (also called Sweepstakes) is a race held annually since 1920 at Carnegie Mellon. Teams of five athletes (the pushers) push an un-motorized vehicle (a buggy) containing a driver around a 0.84 mile course in a relay format where the vehicle serves as the baton. Roughly half of the course is uphill, during which the pushers run and shove the buggy uphill. During the other – downhill – half, drivers are on their own to navigate tight turns at speeds of up to 35mph.
Show me a buggy race!
Here is the 2017 Men’s Championship Race in which SDC set the all time record.
Who is involved?
Over 400 Carnegie Mellon students (both men and women, mostly undergrads) per year participate as part of one of the 12-15 organizations – about half of which are greek. The race is run by a volunteer student committee called Sweepstakes.
When is it?
- Raceday: CMU’s Spring Carnival in late April on Friday and Saturday 9am – noon.
- Practice: Sept-Nov and Feb-April on Weekends Sunrise – 9am.
Where is the race?
The course is mostly located behind CMU’s main campus in Schenley Park. It starts at the intersection of Margaret Morrison and Tech St near Margaret Morrison Hall, loops around Flagstaff hill turning right, and finishes at the intersection of Tech St and Frew St. See Course and watch CMUtv’s Meet The Buggy Course Video for more detailed information.
CIA’s drivers pose with their buggies during design competition 2010
Teams are generally broken down into three major roles: pushers, drivers, & mechanics. Pushers train on and off the course to improve their times and their exchanges, watch the Pushers Video. Drivers gain experience navigating the course during the weekend “free roll” practices. Mechanics do the engineering, designing and building new buggies from the raw materials and then maintaining and tuning them to be as fast as possible. Of course, you can participate in more than one of these roles. To see how buggies are made, watch CMUtv’s Apex Build Video.
Why should I join?
We’re not trying to tell anybody what to do, but we did buggy while we were in school, and it meant so much to us that we had to start the Buggy Alumni Association and make this site. If you’re curious about it, you should definitely give it a try and we’ll bet you get hooked.
It’s cooler than anything else around
The main reason to get into buggy is that it’s something you’ll never find anywhere else, and it’s been an integral part of the CMU experience for over 80 years. Think about what you want your college experience to be and whether you would like for there to be a category of memories in addition to classes and drinking. How many of your classes give you the opportunity to build things with your hands? How many of your classes give you the opportunity to fly downhill at 35mph just an inch off the ground? Are you bored of telling your friends back home that you mostly just work a lot at CMU? There’s more to the experience.
Being on a buggy team is like being in the real world except that it’s fun. Working in teams, managing a budget, making decisions based on data, motivating yourself and your peers to succeed. These are things employers care about. Engineers even get to brag about how they personally designed and manufactured vehicles using cutting edge technology. And it really is cutting edge. Alumni have gone on to work for small and large aircraft manufacturers, racing yachts, submarines, and spacecraft using the exact skills they learned in buggy.
College is about the people and the experiences you leave with. You do learn some stuff, and hopefully it will get you a job, but in the end it’s the people and the experiences you remember. Buggy is obviously not the only social network at CMU, but it is a great one. Over 400 people participate every year, and you’ll have something in common with all of them.
Get off your butt
It’s really easy to pack it on in college. Too much time at the computer. Too many beers. Too much food you’re not paying for. Buggy is a good motivator to get out there and stay in shape. Buggy teams give you the reason, the organization, and the friends that it takes to stay in shape during the ramen and beer years.