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  • Writer's pictureKL Forslund

Splendid Teapot Racing (Part 3)

Houston suffers from Dallas Envy. It’s been a subject on KUHF’s show Houston Matters. In the steampunk scene, we’re a bit uncoagulated compared to our well accomplished peers to the north. Until recently when a few stalwarts started putting together monthly meetups and planning bigger events. The timing is starting to be right, so I pitched running a Splendid Teapot Race. We did it, and at the time of this writing, my feet really hurt from hauling equipment.

If You Build It…

Field of Dreams inspired a lot of things. In my case, I wanted to see some regular steampunk activities for Houston, and Teapot Racing looked like a good add-on format to other events. Once I got buy-in on the idea from the other doers-of-things, I went to work with my team. We put together obstacles and management tools.

The Picnic

Fifteen or so steampunks converged on Stude Park in Houston. We had cookies and finger sandwiches, croquet and a ring tossing game. Sadly the tea dueling suffered an equipment snafu. Then came my team’s event, the racing.

Texas Splendid Teapot Racing (TXSTR)

We came up with a trendy brand name, in case this takes off. Ideally, we’d get known for running the best races and attract a following. We had two entrants show up and two renters, enough for an hour long show. The renters used my rig so they could participate. I think that idea has legs to enable newcomers to try it out.

The Obstacles

Nicole came up with the Cursed Candlesticks, a tricky slalom stage made difficult by hard to control cars. That got a lot of laughs and the price was right on parts from thrift stores. Next came the Ramp of Doom. A four foot wide u-turn on a ten inch incline. Most of the rigs had trouble handling it without rolling back and needed a running start. Last came the Bridge over the River Chai. It looked easy, but without rails, quite a few drivers slipped off the edge and flipped. I built the bridge with scrap wood, but the ramp cost about a $100. I used nicer wood.

The Outcome

I’ll want to fine tune how we present it, but overall everybody had a great time, we drew a few non-steampunks into the audience. Our guest judge did great. We built three trophies and our rules covered insuring a contestant would only qualify for one. Quite a few said they were thinking about making a racer, so we’re on the way to building a league.

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