Riverdale's Annual Lindy 500 Approaches
The second annual Lindy 500 race is fast approaching, and Lindenbaum is a hive of activity as contestants are designing and building their kinetic sculptures. Unfamiliar with kinetic sculptures? They are sculptures that move and in the case of the Lindy 500, these sculptures have to roll over a grassy field without tearing the field up. Joshua Merrow, Riverdale’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Coordinator and Founder of the Lindy 500, said that teams are given free range to design whatever they want and may utilize any materials at their disposal. “Students have collected old bicycles and scooters and built their sculptures out of wood, chicken wire, paper mache, cardboard, and junk parts,” he said. Anyone is welcome to enter the competition, and there are entrants from all three divisions of the school: the Lower, Middle, and Upper schools. The Lindy 500’s participants are students in engineering electives, art classes, and various school clubs. Others put together independent teams and used their free time to build their sculptures. As of now, there are fourteen teams slated to race.
The Lindy 500 race will take place on June 1, 2016 between 11:00 am and 1:30 pm on Alumni Field. The use of the word “race” is a misnomer because teams are not simply judged on speed. The judges, who have not yet been finalized, will be awarding teams points for many different criteria, and speed is just one element that will be scored. “Style, creativity, engineering integrity, and wit are also attributes that earn points,” Mr. Merrow explained. Teams range in size from one person to twenty people, and the types of sculptures are also wide-ranging. Mr. Merrow said, “there is a group of seniors building a twelve-foot diameter monowheel with a pilot pedaling a unicycle inside.” A team of ambitious sixth grade students is building a coconut with a forty-foot circumference. Other entries are a giant coffee cup, a digestive tract, and a treadmill-powered earth rover. Although several teams have been working on their sculptures for a few weeks, others are just beginning, and some teams are still in formation.
The event was a huge success last year, exceeding all expectations, with over ten people participating. Mr. Merrow said, “there were so many inspired entries that it was hard to pick the winners.” Three Creativity and Engineering Awards were given to The Brainmobile, designed and built by a fifth grade team, El Taco, designed and built by a group of sixth grade girls, and The Hamster, designed and built by a group of Upper School students. The grand prize—named the Cuthbert R. Farrowe Memorial Grand Prize for Sustained Inspiration, Creativity, Discipline, and Mojo—was awarded to The High-Top, built and designed by Upper School students Sung Joon Kim and James Karr. The winners received five free school breakfasts, and their names were engraved on the Lindy 500 Victory Cup. However, this particular race truly isn’t about winning, but rather it’s about the fun that everyone has in building their kinetic sculptures and participating in a wildly entertaining event.