Teams of three raced homemade vehicles for Red Bull and Vandal Friday Thursday night, unofficially bridging the gap between Greek and Residence Life students.
These two-wheeled chariots ranged from trashcans to wheelbarrows, mop buckets to dog kennels and some were even expected to break before the race began.
Cory Cramer, a marketing employee for Red Bull, said these Red Bull Chariot Races are a great way to represent your Greek house, but also show incoming students what the University of Idaho is like and how collective it can be.
“We hope to bring campus together,” Cramer said before the event. “(We hope to) do something fun and unique that we haven’t done before. Something everyone can participate in.”
Cara Lehman, who does marketing for the dorms, said they had five teams competing as well.
“This event isn’t just for Greeks, it’s an entire university thing,” Lehman said.
Matthew Kurz, Fraternity and Sorority Life director, put similar emphasis on the fact that the event was completely dry.
“All the students are coming together at an event that is completely sober,” Kurz said. “And, I mean, relatively safe.”
While the event may have been relatively safe, Emergency Medical Technicians were still on standby and most chariots fell apart while racing their hardest.
Teams of three gladia- tors raced around a hay bale course for the win and chariots were made to be pulled by two members on foot, with one riding in the back acting as a pilot.
The designs for chariots were widely varied, as were the team’s runners. Co-Ed teams, teams in costumes and teams from each housing option on campus participated.
Last year was the first Red Bull event and the turnout was great, Cramer said. This year, they expected the number of those in attendance to grow even further.
“We expect 1,000 to 2,000 people this year,” Kurz said.
There was Red Bull available for everyone in attendance, though the Red Bull ran out by the time the event was finished.
The race used a bracket-style system — there were 21 teams competing in this year’s event, Cramer said.
The race had three winning teams: first for Ancient Greek Spirit and Team Creativity, in which the racers were judged for their overall attitude and performance, as well as their ability to inter- weave the ancient Greek theme this year’s chariots had to contain.
The second award was called the Archimedes Award for Inventiveness and Design and judged racers on their craft’s design and originality.
The third and final award for the Red Bull Chariot Races was with the Hermes Award for Fastest Time. Winners of all three won a case of Red Bull and a trophy for their collection.
FIJI won the overall race, McConnell Hall took the trophy for design and Pi Beta Phi triumphed with the spirit award.
Students were encour- aged to be creative with where they get their wheels. Old bicycle wheels, trash can wheels and wheels from an old golf cart were just a few of those used. Red Bull did not provide any materials for the chariots.
“There was people packed around the course last year,” Cramer said. “Everyone had a great time.”
This year was no different. Students whooped and hollered and actively participated in the race. Despite the cold and wet parking lot, teams and audience members maintained a spirit of exhilaration.
Several teams came with unique themes and costumes for their chariot. Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach manned their “All Gold Everything” chariot, though they said they ex- pected the right wheel to fall off their chariot — which it did, after their first race.
Regardless of how well their chariots stayed togeth- er, teams did well improvis- ing with repairs.
The Red Bull Chariot Races hopes to encour- age the sense of Vandal community and teamwork along with some friendly competition. Kurz and Cramer said they hope to make the event annual and anyone interested is encouraged to sign up.
Alycia Rock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org