The first annual “Splendid Teacup Race” took place Saturday at 4PM in the Sheraton Atlanta ballroom. Sponsored by both the Alternative History and Robotics and Makers tracks, this family-friendly event was well attended. Approximately 250 guests surrounded the small track around which ten entrants would soon be racing.
Begun in 2014 in New Zealand, teapot racing is governed by The Official Rules of Splendid Teapot Racing, which covers the specifications of the vehicles and course, how points are awarded, and a list of potential prizes. A racing vehicle must include a teapot which has been mounted onto a radio controlled car or other contraption. The teapot racer has to adhere to size dimensions which, should the vehicle exceed, will not disqualify the racer but will cost them points. The course consists of a ramp, a tunnel, a jump, and an obstacle course of breakable items. Each racer has two minutes to traverse the course with points deducted for every 10 seconds over time. Should the teapot racer be unable to complete the course in three minutes, it will be disqualified.
Points are awarded for the appearance of the vehicle, the negotiation of hazards, completion of the course, showmanship—including dress, joke telling, singing and dancing—and even bribery. Contestants lose points for physically helping their vehicle on the course, failure negotiating a course hazard, exceeding the time limit, exceeding the size dimensions, and not bribing the judges to their satisfaction or vexing them in some way. Prizes can include best vehicle, most entertaining, fastest vehicle, or just about anything the judges want to award.
There were ten entrants for the Dragon Con 2017 inaugural teapot race. Judges watched Mrs. Potts and Chip, Fatalitea, My Little Teapot, Tinker Troll Tea Trader, Little Freeze, George (with a bow), Little Dragon, The Metropolitan Steeped Beverage Delivery Service, Nau-tea-lus, and Sir Fis-T-Cuffs traverse the course. The contestants presented each vehicle in turn to the judges, telling back stories and plying the judges with food and beverage. After the judges looked over a racer, the contestant took their place and with a, “3–2–1!” from the audience, off they took. The teapot vehicles had varying levels of success, but ultimately there were winners.
Once the last racer crossed the finish line, judges deliberated for about ten minutes and announced the following awards:
Honorable Mention: Little Freeze, George, Little Dragon
Third Place: Metropolitan Steeped Beverage Delivery Service
Second Place: Nau-tea-lus
First Place: Sir Fis-T-Cuffs
Each winner received a handmade prize from the Alternate History Track while a trophy, designed by Rocky Sawyer of “The Friendly Mutton,” was awarded symbolically. To learn more about teapot racing, visit Splendid Teacup Racing. We hope to see your racers next year!