Annual Sweepstakes competition whips through campus
The 95th annual Sweepstakes competition — better known as Buggy — was a memorable one despite Friday’s preliminary races being washed out due to rain. Fog on Saturday morning delayed the races by thirty minutes, but the streets were soon crowded with enthusiastic campus community members to see one of the biggest events on the Carnegie Mellon calendar.
The Student Dormitory Council (SDC) buggies came out on top in both the men’s and women’s races, with a margin of over nine seconds in both. This year marked the third year in a row that SDC has won both races in the competition.
There were a total of nine organizations that took part in the races; traditional powerhouses, such as Fringe and Sig Ep, made significant strides from last year. Sig Ep had an exceptional day in the men’s category, finishing second by over two full seconds ahead of Fringe A.
Sig Ep’s B team gave Fringe A a run for their money, coming in only a fraction of a second after Fringe to take fourth place. In the women’s races, Fringe A finished second and were around seven seconds ahead of SDC’s B team, who finished in third place.
The weather was beautiful once the fog cleared, and the performances from the teams were top notch. The SDC men’s team finished with a time of 2:04.473, which was just a second off the course record despite the challenging conditions of this year’s race.
The weather has been bad all throughout the semester, and rolls did not start nearly as early as it was hoped. Even though the Sweepstakes committee did their best to organize weekend rolls with cones for the drivers to follow the new path, it was hard for the drivers and pushers to get enough practice.
Head mechanic for Fringe junior Vivek Nair said “I don’t think any of team’s drivers got enough practice on the course and it made race-day all the more challenging.”
One of the most talked about topics through this year’s races was the several potholes on hill two, which made the driver’s task exceptionally difficult and resulted in several “Did Not Finish” (DNF) classifications, especially in the men’s category.
There were two major crashes during the races. The Fringe C team buggy, Banyan, crashed into the curb rather than the hay in the women’s race, and the driver was hospitalized overnight for her injuries. The buggy could not be used for the men’s race later. In the men’s race, SDC B buggy, Vice, lost both of her wheels during the chute turn and spun into the bales.
Besides the top positions, there were several interesting performances from other teams amongst the lower ranked teams too. In the men’s races, SPIRIT A and PiKA B came in fifth and sixth with strong performances, with SPIRIT less than two seconds off of Fringe in third.
PiKA A looked to be going strong with their sleek buggy and could have competed for a place in the top three, but spun out at the end of hill two. SDC’s B and C teams spun out but looked fast enough for places in the top 10.
Even their D team gave others like the Fringe B team a tough fight. SPIRIT C, CIA A, CIA B and SDC D rounded out the top 10. The likes of SDC B and C, SigNu A and PiKA A not finishing in the men’s races made the morning dull for some but extremely good for others.
In the women’s races, SigEp’s A and B teams came in fifth and seventh respectively,with PiKA A sandwiched in between, rounding out an excellent day overall for the organization. CIA A finished in fourth place after a reroll improved their time by eight seconds. SPIRIT A came in seventh, while SDC C beat Fringe B to take eighth place.
The difference between the fifth and ninth places was a mere five seconds, which meant the positions changed throughout the morning. APEX B finished 10th, but were approximately 12 seconds behind ninth place.
First-year mechanical engineering major Aditya Krishnan summed it up perfectly when asked what he thought about Buggy, saying “I have, in my seven months of staying on campus, never seen so much excitement and passion for any single event on campus.”
The alumni website said of the event, “If you aren’t here for buggy, you’re the one losing race-day.”