46th Annual Kinetic Grand Championship

Humboldt County has hosted a kinetic sculpture race for 46 years, now called the Kinetic Grand Championship.

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Scott Cocking's Star Trukkers makes an award winning big splash as they enter Humboldt Bay on Day Two of a three day, 42-mile race called the Kinetic Grand Championship.
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2014 Kinetic Grand Champion winners Tempus Fugitives: Drilling for Glory, passing the Carson Mansion in Eureka on their way to finishing Day One of the three-day "Triathlon of the Art World."
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2014 was June Moxon's 34th race! Her "Steam Pump" is a metal shoe with two pilots, June and race founder Hobart Brown's daughter Emily Brown.
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There are two water crossings in the race, the first is here in Eureka to start Day Two. Scott Cocking's Star Trukkers won the award for Biggest Splash.
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Each year, the race starts with three laps around the Arcata Plaza at noon on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Dozens of machines compete "For the Glory" each year.
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After the noon whistle blows, pilots and pit crews circle the plaza to the cheers of thousands, waiting for the 42-mile course to be opened.
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Land Shark!
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Ken Beidelman's Steampunk Shark delighted people young and old. The teeth moved independently from the metal skin, giving the biting action a very realistic quality. Super fun!
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Ken Beidelman has been racing for 30 years, with many awards amassed over that time. Speaking of awards, Ken also makes many of the trophies handed out at the awards ceremony after the race.
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Machines travel the roads through the Arcata bottoms before hitting Manila, a small beach community where the Manila Community Center serves as a gathering place for racers to take a break and switch wheels if necessary for the sand crossing.
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June Moxon placed a turtle on the front of her machine this year in honor and remembrance of Bob Brown who recently passed and was the winner of the first Kinetic Sculpture Race in 1969. Back then, the race was down Main Street in Ferndale, where the finish line still is.
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Bob Brown's daughter Kathy recently posted this Neil Gilchrist photo on her facebook page showing the end of the first race in 1969. Brown made a smoke-spewing turtle that laid eggs, and crossed the finish line first.
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As you can imagine, the race has changed dramatically in the last 40+ years. In the 1970s, the course went off road and ended up lasting three days. Hundreds of machines have been built since, but new things are still being created each year. Here a member from the Cloud of Unknowing works on the (very cool) tracks for the sand, designed and built by Tom Duffy III.
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Cloud of Unknowing is a 12-person machine built from 2013-2014 by Tom Duffy and sons Dan, Chris, Mike and Tom III. It is 20 feet long, 7 feet wide and 6.5 feet tall with pontoons.
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After tackling the sand dunes, and traveling a few miles along the beach shoreline in Manila, teams must take on Dead Man's Drop, a three story hill of sand surrounded by spectators. Here Pigasus reaches the precipice of no return.
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Carl "Captain Cletus" Mueller's Lost Coast Mutineers at the edge of Dead Man's Drop.
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Chris LaBonte's Canalifornia Dreaming looked like a scary way to take Dead Man's Drop, but he managed with just a fall into the boat.
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After Dead Man's Drop, teams continued on the sand through some trees before hitting pavement.
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Brian Slayton pulled his Hell on Axles up the hill after Dead Man's Drop. Of the dozens of machines to enter the race, only 11 got an ACE medal, which means they were never pushed, or pulled, they only used their own pilot power to complete the race (and they flawlessly followed a bunch of other rules as well).
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Once teams hit the road, they had to cross the three-legged Samoa Bridge, then a turn past the iconic Carson Mansion in Eureka before hitting the finish line by Halvorsen Park. Here Chris Shmatovich's Think I Can rounds the corner.
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New Belgium Brewery sponsored the race, and set up a beer garden after party at Halvorsen Park, with views of the Carson Manson/Ingomar Club to the right, and the Humboldt Library to the left. Duane Flatmo's Doomed Buggy, seen here, lived up to it's name with a tumble down Dead Man's Drop, awarding Flatmo with his second Golden Flipper Award, this time in the sand and not water.
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Pilots, pit crew, family, friends and admirers gathered at the end of Day One for some wound healing, story telling, and beer drinking.
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At 10:32am Sunday, one-by-one team take the cold plunge into Humboldt Bay for the water crossing along the Eureka waterfront. Here Doodle Bugs go in the drink.
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Here's a look at Canalifornia Dreaming on land...
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...and hitting the water.
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Ironically, the only time Chris LaBonte wasn't assuming the position of a gondolier was when he was actually in the water.
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Jenny & Billy got wrapped up in a cult since the last time we saw them. A Blue Oyster Cult to be exact.
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A group of devoted followers in blue and white were close at hand, warning that the end was near.
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From time to time, you could even see inside the rare giant blue oyster.
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Think I Can takes the plunge.
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Think I Can on land, looking a bit more leveled.
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Even though it looked like they might be going down, they didn't, and Think I Can ended up ACE'ing the course for their sixth time in ten years.
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Scott Berelson invited his wife of twenty-four years Mary to join him for his eighth year, her first.
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Old Tec made a big splash as they entered the chilly waters of the Humboldt Bay.
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Tappy Nelson has raced in the Kinetic Grand Championship 34 times, with 25 ACE Medals, including this year. Melvin also won First Place Engineering this year and Second Place Time,
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Melvin took it nice and slow for their water entry.
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The "May Bees" Casandra Rhay (left) and Natasha Ray were the Tech Check crew, making sure, "everyone had all of their safety items and required items to ace, such as lifejackets, headlights, 1 toothbrush per pilot, teddybear for comfort (so their mom doesn't have to follow them around the course), etc." said Rhay.
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Steve McHaney's Tri-Lo-Bike had two bikes connected with a trailer to carry their supplies. If pilots want to ACE, racers need to carry all necessary equipment for the different conditions, as well as a host of other items.
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It was pretty impressive to see Steve McHaney and his Tri-Lo-Bike co-pilot fit all of their stuff into that little inflatable raft, then paddle down the waterfront. Shows that you don't need one of those fancy machines to compete in the race.
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Another interesting lower-tech entry was Brown Chicken Brown Cow, who won the Goddess Jen-O Award.
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Brown Chicken Brown Cow had two surf boards that were used as outriggers and it seemed to work quite well.
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For his tenth year, Marcus Schaible brought Easy as 3.14, who won the Golden Dinosaur award, as they were the first team to break down AFTER leaving the starting line of the Arcata Plaza.
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Breakdowns are nothing new to kinetic racers, who are regularly making repairs and fixes along the course or at night between legs.
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The 12-person Cloud of Unknowing in their inaugural race around the Plaza.
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Cloud of Unknowing celebrating a mid water entry fix. They won the You Klever Rascal prize, which might have been awarded for those cool sand tracks.
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This machine, called 8.5, got Third in Engineering, and they ACE'ed the course.
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8.5 hitting the water.
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Duane Flatmo's Doomed Buggy, with co-pilot Lucas Thornton, making the rounds at the Arcata Plaza before the noon whistle.
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A few years ago, Flatmo earned the Golden Flipper award for water, but not this time, despite Thornton's goggles.
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Thornton gives the all clear sign.
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Bounce For Glory is a machine that is powered by pushing down with two feet together and giving a little hop or bounce. It looks kind of funny at first, but is a very effective machine for the course, getting an ACE award this year.
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Bounce For Glory also won Second Place in the Spirit of the Glorious Founder category.
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Darren Droge's Zebra Muscle Invasion
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Zebra Muscle Invasion
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Doctor Pedal and Mister Ride got First Place in the Time category, and they also ACE'ed.
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This is the second year for Reed Lacy's Doctor Pedal and Mister Ride, and a second ACE Medal.
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Travis Bullock's Pigasus earned a second ACE this year, and delighted spectators when it passed by.
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Pigasus also won the Best Junior award. Here's a peak inside during the water crossing.
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Pigasus had a great pit crew, including one member who swam with the machine.
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This was the fifth year for Pigasus' Travis Bullock.
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From Santa Rosa, Dawn Thomas' Trikosaurus won the Best Pit Crew award, the Never Give Up award, and the One For the Little Guy award.
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According to the official paperwork, "Trikosaurus has 15 speeds per pilot, dual disc brakes, an off-axis paddlewheel, a roof rack, a gimble for the front pontoons, hand-laced dumpster dived rubber tires, plus an on-board, solar powered stereo system. It was designed, engineered and built specifically for the 2014 Kinetic Championship race."
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Bamboo Bomber on land.
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Bamboo Bomber hitting the Bay.
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Bamboo Bomber almost going over.
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Bamboo Bomber leveling off, but not moving forward too well.
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Bamboo Bomber getting hooked up for a tow.
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"Pedal hard and perspire," Scott Cocking would answer to the "Live long and prosper" greetings.
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Star Trukkers won a bunch of awards, including First Place Art, Best Bribe, Biggest Splash, Most Improved, Volunteers' Favorite, Invitation/Free Ride to DaVinci Days kinetic sculpture race in Corvallis, OR and 2nd Place Pageantry. Good going Scott Cocking and crew!
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Wiley Coyote getting towed through the Humboldt Bay.
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8.5 making their way across the bay.
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Spectators watching Clinton for President making there way through the water portion of Day Two.
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Trikosaurus moving right along.
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Blue Oyster Cult had a problem when they hit the water, so they got a lift through the drink.
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Tom Bedford's Banana Split ACE'ed the race, got Second Place Engineering and Third Place for the Spirit of the Glorious Founder award.
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Ken Beidelman's Steampunk Shark
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Chris Daugherty's Rat on a machine that has raced six times and ACE'ed twice.
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Race Like an Egyptian got the 6:32 Award, given to the first team ACE team to cross Day 1 Finish Line after course closure (loosing their ACE).
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Launched June 6, 1910, the Madaket has been making Humboldt Bay cruises for a long time. Each year, during the Day Two water crossing, the boat is chartered for The Queen's Cruise, with the Kinetic Cops and Rutabaga Queen's from this year and past.
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2014 Kinetic Rutabaga Queen Glitterina making the rounds at the Arcata Plaza with her entourage in tow.
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This Rutabaga Queen has been enjoying her crown for 30 years and she is a big fan of pigs, so she got a new pig necklace and was delighted to cheer on Pigasus.
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Fred Rounds' Trinity Terror gets ready to hit the land after the water crossing, followed by Pigasus.
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Those are some wet pilots who still have a dozen miles or so of peddling to do before Day Two is completed.
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Star Truckkers reach the shore.
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The Lost Coast Mutineers won First place in the Spirit of the Glorious Founder category, which often goes to a big machine with lots of pilots and over the top art and pageantry.
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Some machines can ride right out of the water and off to the next check point. Others need to reconfigure the machine, deflate pontoons and repack before heading out. This is where the pit crew comes in.
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Congrats to Tempus Fugitives: Drilling for Glory! 2014 Grand Champion winners, and winners of the Racers' Choice award.
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June's Steam Pump won Third Place in the Art category.
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A trail of bubbles followed behind June's Steam Pump.
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Also following behind June's Steam Pump, were the Mad Hatters, her pit crew / entourage.
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Wiley Coyote
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Kinetic Cops making their rounds.
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It isn't everyday where you see a pickaxe wielding minor chatting with a living garden gnome while a giant metal shoe cruises by. Must be Humboldt County!
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Pigasus' crew doing a routine for the judges before the start of the race in Arcata.
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Pageantry judges taking notes at the start of the race.
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Rampmeister is in charge of safety checks, both at the start of the race on Saturday, and at the water on Sunday.
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Justin Brown is the son of race creator Hobart Brown and when he isn't racing, he is still a presences at the race.
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The race is filmed and streamed live online for people all over the world to watch.
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Awful Waffle
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Bikin' Fool
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Funkin' Pizza Ship won my award for best name.
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Funkin' Pizza Ship had a crew of 1970s people like this guy who had a giant pizza slicer compas.
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Star Trukkers pilots Scott Cocking and Acacia O'Quinn making their laps around the Arcata Plaza.
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Undoubtedly, the back of the Star Trukkers helped them win their Best Art award.
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Here's a closer shot of the back of Star Trukkers.
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2014: A Space Idiocy
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Breaking Wind was an ACE machine this year, and they placed Third in Time.
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Banana Split was an ACE machine as well.
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This one was called Up! and it was an ACE machine.
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Acme Supply Truck was looking good making their way around the plaza until right at this point...
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...when something happened and they were the first breakdown, but they didn't get the Golden Dinosaur because you have to at least make it off the plaza for that.
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Hell on Axles
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Grand Champions Tempus Fugitives: Drilling for Glory
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Jeep
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June Moxon with Emily Brown surrounded by bubbles.
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Canalifornia Dreaming
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Fifi
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Kinetic Rutabaga Queen Glitterina waves to the passing machines.
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Lost Coast Mutineers hit the sand.
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Engineering judges checking out how the machines take to the sand.
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June Moxon making some adjustments before tackling the sand.
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2014: A Space Idiocy hits the sand with their wheels modified for the sand.
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The Steampunk Shark was a fun place for photo opps when the machine was stopped.
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Steampunk Shark hitting the sand.
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Portions of the race are broadcast live on the internet so people from around the world can join in the fun.
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Kristoffer Taylor, in purple, was working at NBC 3 in Eureka when he came up with the idea to broadcast the race years ago. Taylor now lives in the Bay Area, but returns each year to do the broadcast and soak in some Kinetic Glory.
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Rat passing the Carson Mansion.
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Kinetic Cops
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Best Camp winners Hell on Axles.
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This year a Canadian Discovery Channel show came out to film the race.
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On facebook there is a page called Kinetic Video Team, and they have been posting videos they've taken from all kinds of cool angles.
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I leave you with a celebratory shot from Day One of Tempus Fugitives: Drilling for Glory, your 2014 Kinetic Grand Champion. Special thanks to Local Coast Outpost who helped me fill in a few blanks in my reporting. they have great coverage here: http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2014/may/24/kinetic-grand-championship-2014-sculpture-photos/
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