Kinetic Skulpture Race gets moving this weekend

PORT TOWNSEND — Only in America does a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.

Only in America do people order a double cheeseburger, large fries and a diet Coke.

And only in America do banks leave the doors open and chain the pens to the desk.

And only in America can you see 12-year-old Gabe Montgomery of Port Townsend “Go for the Glory” in the Great Port Townsend Bay Kinetic Skulpture Race.

Or, if you live in the United Kingdom, on a CBBC children’s television program.

“The name of the show is ‘Only in America,’ ” said Michael Bittman.

“They mainly want to focus on teams with kids on board.”

Seven-mile course

Bittman is Kourse Kommissioner for the race — we’re in the krazy world of kinetic phonetics here — that pits homemade, human-powered vehicles against a grueling, 7-mile course over water, sand and mud.

This Sunday, a film crew from Britain, along with the pop-culture celebrity hosts of the show “Only in America,” will be in town to capture the excitement of this annual excursion into counter-culture transportation.

“It’s kind of cool,” said Janet Emery, Kinetic Skupture Race president, of the international exposure.

“We have other big festivals, but it’s the real home-grown event that brings them in.”

Last week, Bittman took the CBBC pre-production crew on a tour of the course, which starts in front of old City Hall at “low noon.”

From there, racers go spinning down Water Street to Quincy Street, where they will launch their vehicles into Port Townsend Bay.

After paddling their way back to the Monroe Street boat launch, they’ll head out to Fort Worden State Park, where they race through a slalom course of mannequins stuck in the sand.

“Since the theme is ‘Putting on the Ritz,’ the mannequins will have on formal attire,” Bittman said.

“It’s a lower tide this year, so we’ll have a larger course.”

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