Fraternities and sororities raced their hand-constructed chariots down a wet and slippery Fairmount Avenue on Friday afternoon for the Red Bull Chariot Race.
Greek Week Public Relations Overall Chairwoman Marissa Knaus said the chariot race is an event deeply rooted in the greek community.
It’s not just exclusive to Penn State but is a national Greek Week tradition, she said.
“It’s important to keep the tradition alive,” Knaus (senior-communication sciences and disorders) said. “Everyone works hard towards putting the chariots together and they’re proud of their work in the end.”
Though it was raining –– and even snowing –– throughout the afternoon, the greeks lined Fairmount Avenue and enthusiastically cheered on 22 teams of chariots, which were constructed by triads of two fraternities and one sorority.
Red Bull sponsored the event as a part of Greek Week for the second year in a row, providing free Red Bull and music by DJ Pete Butta.
After two hours of single elimination races, the Sigma Pi, Sigma Delta Tau and Delta Sigma triad won the Hermes Prize for overall speed. The Alpha Tau Omega, Theta Chi and Alpha Omicron Pi triad came in second place, winning the Greek Spirit Award for having the most creativity and enthusiasm.
Sigma Chi, Pi Beta Phi and Beta Theta Pi won the Archimedes Award for best engineering and chariot construction.
The People’s Choice Award was given to the Delta Gamma, Theta Delta Chi and Lambda Phi Epsilon triad based on the votes of attendees –– those watching the race were able to submit Red Bull tabs to vote for their favorite chariot.
Alpha Tau Omega fraternity member Lorenzo Massaro helped pull his triad’s chariot down the racing track and said he was confident about the performance of his team’s chariot.
“Our house is full of engineers,” Massaro (junior-crime, law and justice) said. “I was nervous at first, because of the curve at the end, but I used the traction of the hay –– I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”
Several minor tumbles and collisions occurred during the race, and those riding in the chariots said the slick conditions and competition made the race slightly nerve-wracking.
“The curve at the end is basically a fight for the inside,” said Jen Picache, who rode in the chariot for Pi Kappa Alpha, Phi Kappa Tau and Alpha Xi Delta. “Our chariot was sturdy, but you never know what will happen.”
But overall, Knaus said the race was a success.
“The weather wasn’t as great as last year, but we’re glad we still got a great turnout,” Knaus said. “For the most part they all looked great.”