- City Guides
More Zaniness at Obtainium Cup Rally
A family airship, steampunk flying saucer and other artistic vehicles take to the streets
Monday, July 29, 2019
A wacky fleet of hand-built “sculptural vehicles” navigated an equally wacky obstacle course for the 8th Annual Obtainium Cup Contraptor’s Rally, held Sunday, July 28 on Mare Island in Vallejo, California. The event was produced by Obtainium Works, the steampunk-infused art car studio that makes its home in Vallejo. Several hundred people showed up for the free event.
The rally included mobile contraptions fabricated by Obtainium Works along with entries from other makers. Among the highlights: A steampunk flying saucer, a pair of flying broomsticks, a Gentleman’s Tricycle designed for Burning Man, and a family airship equipped with tea weapons.
The event also featured a steampunk festival with artisan vendors plus musical entertainment by McPuzo and Trotsky. The festival was held at Mare Island’s Alden Park, which also served as the staging area for the vehicles.
The course consisted of four challenges, beginning with Flying Monkeys, where riders were pelted with stuffed animals fired from air cannons. In the Robot Realm, riders left their vehicles to pilot radio-controlled robots in a variation of demolition derby. In Wonderland, they could sit for a Mad Hatter Tea Party, but they also had to perform a song or dance for the Queen, with the prospect of losing their heads if she wasn’t pleased. Spoiler Alert: All entrants departed with bodies intact. Finally, they had to contend with ravenous zombies.
Trophies were awarded for the best response to each challenge. One overall winner — “Wheels of Dharma” from Team Pineapple — was inscribed on the Obtainium Cup, which resides at the Obtainium Works studio. Judges also presented special awards:
• Best Artistry, to “Va-Alien”;
• Best Cheater, to Corporal Curmudgeon and the “Dahon of Death”;
• Mayor’s Award, to “Needs More Cowbell”;
• Major Catastrophe Award, to the “Blue Man Reverse Bike” (Major Catastrophe is the alter ego of Obtainium Works leader Shannon O’Hare);
• Little Nipper Award for young participants. This one went to Team Demogorgon for scooters inspired by the Netflix series Stranger Things.
Serving as judges were Vallejo Mayor Bob Sampayan and City Council members Katy Miessner and Robert H. McConnell. Miessner also portrayed a zombie.
See the gallery below for scenes from the event.