Makeshift chariots race for the finish line in Red Bull sponsored event

Makeshift chariots race for the finish line in Red Bull sponsored event

Jackson French

Cheers rose up from a makeshift racetrack outside Smith Stadium on Thursday night, where student teams raced homemade chariots at the Red Bull Chariot Race.

Catherine Platz, a 2006 graduate and a field marketing specialist for Red Bull North America, said this was the first event Red Bull has hosted on WKU’s campus.

”It’s open to anybody who wants to participate,” she said. “We target individual students as well as groups.”

Six teams, some of which represented larger groups such as the WKU ROTC program and the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, gathered outside Smith Stadium before the event.

Platz said the chariots could be made out of anything as long as it can maneuver the course.

“You have to build it (the chariot) yourself,” she said. “You’ve got to have two wheels and two guys pulling it or girls pulling it and one person riding it.”

Designs for the chariots were diverse and included a seemingly unmodified hand dolly, a library chair with strings attached, and a shower seat with training wheels and crutches used as makeshift handles bolted to its frame.

The racetrack was made out of rectangular hay bales, with an inflatable arch that included the Red Bull logo in its design marking both the starting point and the finish line. Two rows of hay bales down the middle of the racetrack guided the contestants in a figure-eight leading back to the arch.

Though the competition started as a contest between six teams, a seventh group made a late entry before the fourth round.

By the eight round, all teams save the Bucket Boys, whose chariot was a wheeled trash can, and the Magic Seans, who used a chair with strings attached, had been eliminated. The eighth round started with the two undefeated teams taking their places at the starting line underneath the inflatable arch.

The eighth race ended with the Bucket Boys crossing the finish line first and winning the event.

Platz said the Magic Seans, for coming in second, won a case of Red Bull and some “Red Bull swag,” which included hats and headphones and the Alpha Tau Omega team, the third place finisher, received a case of Red Bull.

“Our first prize competitors won a case of Red Bull each as well as an all-expense-paid trip to Chicago to be VIP at a Red Bull-branded event,” Platz said, adding that the type of event depends on what the Bucket Boys are interested in but the trip will most likely take place on a weekend next semester.

After the race, the three members of the Bucket Boys, Gallatin, Tenn. sophomore Tremaine Smith, Murfreesboro sophomore William Cantrell, and Murfreesboro freshman Lamar Brown received a trophy shaped like the Red Bull logo.

Cantrell, who designed his team’s chariot, said he felt happy and excited to have won the competition.

He said Brown found a flier for the event and convinced him and Smith to compete, despite their initial reluctance.

The Bucket Boys, in addition to the trophy, won an all-expense paid trip to Chicago to attend a Red Bull sponsored event. Platz said what event will be up to the winners and will most likely take place on a weekend next semester.