Sunday, November 11, 2007
The Kinetic Sculpture Race has been an annual event in Ferndale, California since 1969. It began when local sculptor Hobart Brown "improved" the appearance of his son's tricycle, and was challenged to a race down Main Street by Jack Mays. Soon, another twelve machines entered to inaugurate the first race. Neither Hobart nor Jack won; instead, the first winner of the Kinetic Sculpture Race was Bob Brown of Eureka, California whose sculpture was a smoke-emitting Turtle that laid eggs. The race became an annual feature of Ferndale, California's annual Art Week; later became a cross-country event and one year had two races; hence the 39th running in 2007. In addition, other ongoing kinetic sculpture races happen around the world including the Balitmore Kinetic Sculpture race which is officially associated with the California race.
In this context, kinetic sculptures are cross-country, human-powered vehicles made to go on sand, water, pavement and other surfaces encountered on the annual 3-day World Championship of the sport held on Memorial Day weekend (last weekend in May) in Humboldt County, California. Hobart Brown passed away last week at the age of 73.
A Hobart Brown Quote: "Money doesn't always bring happiness. People with ten million dollars are no happier than people with nine million dollars." -- Hobart Brown