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Ohio State Greeks draw chariots down 15th Avenue

Caitlyn Wasmundt / Lantern photographer

Music blared from the portable DJ booth and fraternity and sorority members sat on their lawns waiting for the races to start.

The annual Red Bull Chariot Race was back on 15th Avenue Thursday.  

Teams, that were mostly of fraternity members, participated in the event and built their own chariots with materials such as large bins, lumber and bicycle parts. Sigma Phi Epsilon used parts it already had around its house to determine the design of its chariot, said Max Dawes, a second-year in industrial and systems engineering.

“We … found a bunch of random stuff in the basement and put it all together,” Dawes said. “The design probably changed four or five times while we built it. … It just all came together in the end.”

Inspiration for chariot designs included a fighter jet, an American flag, a red Solo cup and “Mario Kart.”

The video game-themed chariot, built by the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, was complete with Koopa Troopa shells and its own Princess Peach. It won the award for most creative chariot, winning the fraternity two cases of Red Bull.

The champion of the race was determined through a bracket setup, with a total of 10 teams participating. Teams consisted of a rider and two members to pull the chariot.

Once the races began, spectators cheered for their teams as they raced through the track. Some fraternity members ran with their flags up and down the street to show support.

Spectators were given free Red Bull drinks while watching the races and cheering for their teams.

Brennen Tucker, a first-year in mechanical engineering , came to support his fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, but also came to see the results of the races.

“I like to see a little friendly competition and such,” he said.

Although most chariots made it successfully through the one-turn course, others, such as that of Delta Tau Delta, toppled over when going through the sharp turn.

Some teams developed a racing strategy to avoid this setback.

“Our racing strategy is (to get) out of the gate, to get as fast as we can and then slow down so people can’t pass us … then gun it to the finish,” said John Bell, a third-year in aviation and Phi Gamma Delta brother.

Some competitors had a more relaxed approach to the race.

“We don’t have a strategy,” said Rhett Dalton, a third-year in business economics and brother of Alpha Sigma Phi. “It’s go hard or go home.”

Pi Kappa Alpha, the overall champions, used the first round of races to develop a successful racing strategy.

“After the first race, we knew it was all about hitting the turn first and getting in the inside of the turn,” said Gary Folino, a fourth-year in economics.

As winners, the fraternity won a $500 tab at The O Patio & Pub, the location of the event’s official after-party, in addition to five cases of Red Bull.

Team FMA,  composed of three Tau Kappa Epsilon brothers, took second place. Its winnings included three Red Bull soccer jerseys and scarves, along with three cases of Red Bull. The Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, which took third place, won two tickets to the Red Bull Thre3Style freestyle DJ competition at The Bluestone May 12 and one case of Red Bull.

The racers for Pi Kappa Alpha thrust their championship belt into the air as the top three teams stood on a Red Bull-inspired podium, Queen’s “We Are the Champions” playing in the background.

“It’s awesome,” Folino said of the win.

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