Pillbox

Brooms and umbrellas mark this year's Buggy competition

In addition to the usual sights on race day — Pi Kappa Alpha’s (PiKA) signature 1920s fire truck and onlookers with their cups of coffee — brooms and umbrellas marked this year’s Sweepstakes competition.

On Saturday morning, a Buggy-hungry audience braved Mother Nature, hoping for the second and final day of races through Schenley Park. However, continuous rain through Friday night rendered the course unsafe and postponed the race until 9:30 am. When it began to drizzle at 9 am, Buggy safety chairman Adam McCue canceled the day’s races. For the first time since 2002, Friday’s preliminary results were taken as the official final results.

The rain may have stopped the finals, but it didn’t stop Buggy participants from crowding into the main tent on Midway on Saturday afternoon to hear the winners announced. Teams held drivers, trophies, and — in PiKA’s case — brooms in the air to celebrate their victories.

But why brooms?

In Friday’s preliminary races, PiKA “swept” the competition, with winning times for the men’s A and B teams and the winning time for women. Not only did they enjoy victory, they also boasted the fastest men’s B team time in Buggy history: 2:09.79. As a result, PiKA’s B team placed second just behind their first-place A team at 2:07.30. The win marks PiKA’s fifth consecutive victory in the men’s division.

“I want to thank our B team for providing such stiff competition this year,” said PiKA brother and Buggy chair Matt Long as he collected a team award at Saturday’s ceremony.

Coming in behind the two PiKA teams were the men’s A-team buggies from Student Dormitory Council (SDC) in third at 2:09.94, Fringe in fourth at 2:10.59, and Sigma Nu (Sig Nu) rounding out the top five at 2:15.80.

In the men’s division, three teams’ times were disqualified, and three didn’t finish. Fringe B was disqualified because of rank — its C team had a faster time than its B team, which is a violation of Sweepstakes rules. Sigma Phi Epsilon (Sig Ep) A was disqualified because a piece of its buggy fell off during its heat, and the Beta Theta Pi (Beta) B team was disqualified due to roster violation: In the men’s fourth heat, Beta B nearly spun out in the Chute. As Spirit A slowed down to pass, the two buggies nearly collided, and a non-team member stepped in to push the Beta buggy to prevent it from crashing.

Spirit B, Kappa Kappa Gamma (Kappa) A, and SDC C did not finish their heats.

In the women’s division, PiKA continued to dominate, as its A- team took the first-place victory with a time of 2:38.50. Rolling in behind them was SDC A in second with a time of 2:41.10, Spirit A in third at 2:41.75, Fringe A in fourth with 2:42.19, and Sig Nu A in fifth with a time of 2:42.30.

Two teams were disqualified in the women’s division: Spirit B because of a missed transition between hills, and Sig Ep A, which also lost part of its buggy during the heat.

The team from Kappa A was the only women’s team that didn’t finish, after they spun out in the Chute. Even though they may not have crossed the finish line, Kappa bridged a gender gap in Buggy tradition. Whereas fraternity brothers typically push the campus’s tiniest girls, the only sorority to participate in Buggy squeezed a boy into their game plan — they pushed driver Peter Lynch, an 83-pound first-year.

Come Saturday, Buggy participants had more to celebrate than race times: Spirit took home the award for best T-shirt for their bright yellow design, the Carnegie Involvement Association won the team award for spirit, Fringe garnered the People’s Choice Award for their buggy Bantam, and Beta was named the Chairman’s Choice.

In the design competition, Fringe continued to keep the competition in check. Its buggy Bantam placed first — a position Fringe buggies have held since 1999 — and its buggy Blizzard came in at second. Pioneers’ buggy Quicksilver won third.

But it was PiKA who cleaned up the awards with their sweep on race day. As their winning teams went to collect their trophies on stage, some brothers whipped out their brooms and swept the stage in front of their victorious teammates.

“We’re not cocky,” said PiKA A-team pusher Jess Woods while navigating through the dense crowd outside the main tent after the awards ceremony. “We’re just better than you.”