Carnival Recap


Buggy Showcase

We brought out Inviscid, Kingpin, and Seraph for showcase. This year, our very own Thomas D. Felmley the Great was invited to speak on the Buggy Alumni Association alumni panel. He gave the audience a history on Quantum Leap and shared his insights on the sport. We didn’t compete in design comp this year as the team prefers to enter when we build a new buggy.

Hype Session

The annual hype session brought the team, alumni, staff advisors and supporters together in a SRS-only space. Spirit Buggy chairmen Chris Fulton and Matthew Swain encouraged the team, announced each race team and reviewed the rules to not get DQ’d (there was a call and response to ensure retention) . The drivers Beichen, Chloe and Nina present the chairs with a thank you gift from all of the mechanics and drivers which adorned the truck for the weekend.  As always, the session ended with a spirited (yes, yes, “ha ha”) cheer led by Alum Evan Moss.



Watch the livestream here.

Day 1

We raced 5 teams: Womens A,B and  Mens’s A, B, C. Women’s B ran a 02:52:88 which put them in 11th place. They were later disqualified for lane interference. Women’s A spun in the shoot but reached a 33.62 mph speed.

Men’s B team posted a 02:17:16 time and moved on to finals. Men’s A spun in the shoot but reached a 36.2 mph trap speed. Men’s C received a 02:24:09 putting them in 11th place for the day.

Day 2

We had two exhibition heats: Driver and Men’s D. Check out the pass on the Men’s D race! Men’s B posted a time of 02:15:22, beating out Fringe A and SDC B with a trap speed of 34.76 mph. This earned us 6th place overall! You might wondering if there were any substitutions for Men’s B since Men’s A didn’t compete on Saturday. Nope! In fact, Men’s B pushed with B team pushers and 1 C team pusher!

Congrats to the team for doing their best and leaving everything out on the course!

Watch the Livestream


(video listed as Friday Part 1 on CMUtv): Women’s B: 33:46 | Women’s B: 1:01:45

(video listed as Friday Part 2 on CMUtv) Men’s A: 1:13:30 | Men’s B: 20:06 | Men’s C: 1:41:30|


(video listed as Buggy Day 2 on CMUtv) Drivers: 18:17 |Men’s D: 9:50 |Men’s B : 2:58:57


Place Team (Men's) Time Top Speed
1st SDC A 2:06.61 36.44 mph
2nd Pika A 2:06.79 35.8 mph
3rd CIA A 2:10.62 35.96 mph
4th SigEp A 2:14.05 36.45 mph
5th Pika B 2:14.86 35.13 mph


Spirit B


34.76 mph

7th Fringe A 2:15.79 34.83 mph
8th CIA B 2:16.87 34.87 mph (Reroll)
9th Apex B 2:18.39 34.66 mph
10th SDC B 2:20.43 35.67 mph
11th CIA C 2:25.61 34.34 mph

View the full raceday results here.


The Carnegie Mellon Black Alumni Association (insert link)(CMBAA) held a lunch and business meeting on Saturday. CMBAA invited the students to give attend and to provide a sweepstakes recap.

On behalf of the students, Spirit Buggy co-founder Robert Bowie presented CMBAA with a custom wheel covered signed by the students and gave a speech. This is a small token of appreciation for the consistent support that CMBAA has provided for over ten years!

Black alumni association picked it up. Obviously Spirit Buggy is a multicultural very diverse organization so we always had the challenge was: If you were black on the buggy team could you also come to the Black Alumni Association because we did not want to alienate our white, our hispanic and our asian friends.

So the last 11 years the alumni association has opened up their hands to us. And that was a gap that was there for 20 years. I lived it. So we appreciate it.

Obviously, I’m in an interracial marriage. I didn’t know if I could bring my wife here to be quite honest 15-20 years ago so i appreciate opening it up and setting an example for the university. Diversity wins.

We proved it. Our women’s team took first of course in ‘86. 87 we took it home and won and then we set a record for 20 years. But it proved that people of color, if you open up and do that, you can make anything happen. Anything.

And like i said for me and the folks, we meet and come back. I’ve only missed 1 year. 1 year in 30 years in the military to get back. Bring my family bring everybody here. And we have an extended family, ok?

This year marks the biggest I’ve ever seen Spirit Buggy. The potential is here to get back in and get the trophies. But more importantly is, is that you’re having a worthwhile and positive experience.

Many people of color do not come back to this university because they don’t have that positive experience. They used to call it (I think Russ is here, very good). It was a business exchange. You got your degree and never came back. Ok? That’s changing now folks. This is building the team So, I appreciate everything the [Carnegie Mellon] Black Alumni Association has done and I’m all emotional, but this is good stuff.


Awards Ceremony

For their years of service, Ann Witchner was presented with a Lifetime Chairman's Choice Award and Tom Wood received a Lifetime Spirit of Buggy Award. Beginning next year these annual awards will bear their names. (More on that here). Though we didn’t win any additional awards outside of our 6th place trophy, we got some fly pics out of it.


Buggy Alums hosted a cookout on the Terrace of the Marriot Residence Inn. Over 60 students and alums came out to swap stories, advice and to enjoy food and each other’s company. A big shoutout to Robert and Sue Bowie who held it down at the grill!


The chairmen gave a “State of Buggy” address where their shared their intentions for the year, how the team measured up, what they’ve learned and a few “thanks you’s”.

Three alums (who are incredibly good looking and definitely don’t run this this website) gave a speech about the new alumni structure and how all alums can help the team.


Chris Fulton (CF): Hi everybody. Thank you all for coming out. Thank you to the alumni for putting on this event. We were asked (the chairmen were asked) to give a state of the union. But, it’s called the State of Buggy. So we’re going to sit up here, look at our phones and talk.

Matt Swain (MS): This year started off... last year we were kind of upset with the way that we rolled. So we started reaching out to alum and alum started reaching out to us and that really helped us. So we started off the year creating a mission, vision... we created some team values as well. We didn’t create a motto but we just officially stated a motto, I guess, in a formal document.

The mission we kinda took from Spirit and morphed it into bringing excellence and inclusivity to buggy. The values: we came up with things that we thought were dear to the team. The vision that we came up with was B.U.I.L.D.

(Let me mention that it’s a two year vision.) We want to Build buggies ("B"), we wanted to build understanding ("U"). We felt like there was a large gap in our technology and our understanding of our technology at the end of last year. We wanted to build integrity ("I"); everything that we need to do needs to be sound. We wanted to build leaders ("L") because if you don’t come out of buggy being a leader or with leadership skills I should say, then we didn’t do a good job as your chairmen. And then also discipline ("D"). I’m pretty bad at discipline. And then we also set some time goals for ourselves. We wanted to get back to sub 2:10 and get sub 2:35 for womens.

Out of those, the vision is still working. The sub 2:10 and sub 2:35 did not happen but we did prove to ourselves this year that we have the technology and personnel to go faster than that.

I’m going to pass it to Chris now. *tosses fake ball to Chris*
CF: *Catches fake ball* Got it.

The two chairs have needed a lot of help throughout this entire year. The alum have been putting so much time and energy into helping us, making sure that we stay on the actual course or just being successful in a buggy year.

Kristen, Josie, Cherlisa: all three of you have been an amazing help making sure that we stay on task and making sure we get things done as necessary. You’ve also been, for lack of a better phrase, like the bickering mother who constantly asks me if things are done and I’m like, “Yeah, 'Matt did we do those?' and Matt’s like 'No.'"


The chairmen alumni group the we have started for interfacing so that way when we have these crazy ideas of like, “Hey, let me build a six-wheeled buggy," they’re like, "Probably shouldn’t do that.” Very thankful and very helpful for us throughout this year.

MS: We were also reminder to like not stop thinking about buggy. Because there was times when I would wake up and there would be a message at like 5:04am and it would just be Bowie and it would just be like “thinking about buggy” and that was it!

CF: He sent, “Thinking about buggy", I think Friday morning and we were just like, “Me too!”

One of the biggest things that I’ve learned is to be adaptable to every single thing that’s getting thrown at you. It’s like we have an emergency that needs to be handled right now. Or you can get a phone call at your hype session and they’re just like 'right now we need to handle this.' You’re like “oh, this isn’t working?” “Oh, custom ink sent you the wrong sweatshirt?” We sat there at the end of prelims the U-Haul just decided it just didn’t want to turn on.

MS: Shoulda got a Penske, right?
CF: Shoulda got a Penske.

Additionally, as Matt mentioned earlier, I think we’ve learned that we have the technology and personnel to keep up [with] and surpass other teams.

(Turns to Matt) What did you learn?

MS: I learned a lot. This is my second go around but, I still knew nothing coming into it. Khalil and I last year, we were, like, learning as we went. But being in a position where you are still having to learn and bring someone else up to speed... Having to go through that and transition them at the same time was very interesting. So, you know what to do. So you’re like waiting and then you do it but then it’s like there is a lesson that Chris needs to learn in that. There’s a lesson that the team needs to learn in that.

I also learned that success happens over years. I’m coming back next year to see him because whatever successes he has are like my successes as well. I learned a lot about family and bonds that are built like apart from blood.

CF: Ah, things to change for next year. Organization is the first thing on my mind. He is very disorganized. I think just having like a clear plan for the year. Looking at race day and working our way back is definitely going to help us just stay on task and making sure that we get things done.

MF: Next year - more alumni. Start opening up conversation between mechanics and old mechanics, drivers and old drivers. We get a lot of good information in the chairman but it’s hard for us to relay it to everybody and it's much better when people are sharing their personal experiences with people who are going through the same experiences.

CF: Documentation. I think that’s something that we also did a better job of this year than in previous years but still we need to improve on that. Just writing down what we’re doing , putting it in a drive, typing it, as opposed to just passing it down by word of mouth will save us a lot of time, and energy... and frustration...and anger... and sadness... depression. Asking questions when we need to as opposed to sitting there and being like, “I can figure this out, I go to carnegie Mellon” when we have so many people who have done it before us. We don’t have to sit here and reinvent the wheel. The wheel was already invented. We have three of 'em.

MS: Thanks everyone who helped out, everybody who lended a helping hand, whether it be snacks before the races, breakfast, monetary donations throughout the year, and everything like that. Yeah, thank you.

If you are an alum and you did buggy and you understand buggy and things of that nature. We need representation in sweepstakes. It sucks that we would not be able to be affiliated with the team when we come back but it’s really nice to have some judges in the room sometimes.

CF: Additionally as you know, we are not a rich team. I think donations would be helpful but I understand the fear of donating and not knowing what your money is actually going to. If you would say, "Hey i want to donate my money to this like great cause” and you just don’t see anything actually occur from that, it hurts. it sucks. You don’t want to do that.

One of the things that myself -- I believe Matt shall be helping me with this -- is, like, planning a budget for the things that we need for a general buggy year to help us be successful. But, yeah, I think I’m out of things to say off the top of my head.

MS: Thank you all for coming out. There’s no words I can like say that say how much I appreciate you.

Matthew Swain: So there’s these wonderful three people Josie, Cherlisa and Kristen and they’re part of this group called Rebirth. And they’ve been like really pivotal and instrumental in getting our alumni relation back up.and making sure we’re not crashing and burning. They have some stuff they wanna say so I’mma let them do that now.

Josie: I’m Josie.
Kristen: I’m Kristen.
Cherlisa: Cherlisa.

Cherlisa: As the chairs mentioned, we’ve been just trying to facilitate communication between the alums and the students, and just trying to help out where we can.

I think I have the experience of a lot of folks where we come back, we see the kids race, it’s really exciting, we’re super pumped and we’re like, “We’re going to help next year!” And then a week goes by and we go back to our lives and we do the same thing again next year.

Last year, for whatever reason we were sitting, the alums were sitting, doing whatever we do the night before everybody goes home and the three of us got together and were like we really wanna try to do something.

What we are asking the alums to do now, we have a bunch of new alums now so seniors welcome to the club. What we wanted to do is give you guys some tangible ways to be part of the solution with us. You know, we always say, “We want to help, we want to help, but what can we do?” And the first thing people always say is, “Well, you can donate” And you can donate, don’t think that you can’t, there are many ways for you to do that. If you are interested let us know. But there’s other ways that you guys can help too.

One of the things that we’ve been trying to do is increase communication, helping the students have a great presence on instagram, we’ve started a newsletter, the website’s been kept up to date. So you’ll find out things about the team that way. Check out the website, look at those posts when they come up. Give us your email address and we’ll send you the updates for the team.

Just read them. It doesn’t cost anything.

Follow us on instagram, see what the kids are doing throughout the year. It will answer some the questions that you guys have on raceday when you’re like, "Why is X happening?"

Crowd: “What’s your instagram handle? I’m sorry.”

Various: Spiritracingsystems, Spiritracingsystems, Spiritracingsystems, Spiritracingsystems, Spiritracingsystems...Spiritracingsystems.

Cherlisa: The other thing you can do is just contact us. We’re If you have questions about what’s going on with the team, just get involved. The other thing that we’re asking folks to do outside of connect is support. There’s opportunities for mentorship with the team either, you know, temporary, short-time things or over the whole year like we’ve been doing. Matt, Bowie, Tom have come out of the woodwork and have been part of the solution for the whole year.

Kristen: Bowie’s using emojis now.

Cherlisa: It’s been fun-...

Kristen: ...-a learning experience.

Cherlisa: Show up in person if you’re in the area for a day or two or if you live here, come out to rolls. Bring the team some donuts or whatever and just watch them roll, cheer them on.

Lastly you can always donate, You can do a one-time donation, you can do it over the year. If you’re like, “I don’t have $200 to give," $25 to help the kids get donuts for the morning is a great great just booster. Those are the ways that you guys can help.

So connect, you can support, be part of the solution. If you have questions just ask us.

You guys know we’re a team that don’t impose ourselves on the students. If they want our help that’s great, if they don’t that’s also great. But you guys [the chairmen] stuck with us, dealt with us nagging you to get things done that you need to get done anyway and we really appreciate you for that.

[Alums,] please give us your information so we can keep you involved. Students, you too, so that you can just keep plugged in what we’re sending out to the alum.We are good for doing raffles and giving away things. We’ve given away t-shirts this year. Aight, cool.

Enjoy yourselves, peace out.

By the way: 2020 Sweepstakes are on April 16th

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Kristen SmithComment