Chariot races come to Drake

Story by Hayleigh Syens

Photo by Luke Nankivell

redbull1_luke-w2000-h2000This year’s Relays offered a new kind of race for students to watch or participate in: a chariot race.

The Student Activities Board teamed up with Red Bull to bring the Red Bull Chariot Races to Drake University.

“Red Bull wanted to bring the races to Drake’s campus because they have heard about how incredible Relays are. The company wanted to be a part of the Relays experience for students,” said Carl Budenski, the Drake campus representative for Red Bull. “Red Bull likes to capture big moments on campuses and make them even more extraordinary.”

Teams of three built chariots and raced them in the Olmsted Center parking lot, with a chance at an all-expense paid trip to Chicago on the line.

Students who were more interested in watching took advantage of the DJ truck and free Red Bull.

Despite the rainy weather during the event, 10 teams showed up to race chariots, with plenty more students showing up to watch.

“The races were relatively successful considering it was the first year and the nasty conditions,” Budenski said. “We had a solid turnout of quality teams, and their organizations were there to support them. Everyone that was there said it was a blast, and they hope to see the event come back.”

The winning team was made up of junior Keegan Mechels, first-year pharamcy student Brady Oates and senior Adam Smith, who raced in a Top Gun fighter jet-themed chariot. The three credit the construction of their chariot to first-year pharmacy student Austin Arnold.

“I really enjoyed the event,” Oates said. “I think continuing this event in the future could add to the Drake Relays experience. Most students can’t say they participated in a race during Relays. Sure, some people run the half marathon or 5K, but it’s not every day that you get to pull a chariot you built with your friends in a race that you had no way to train for.”

“I thought the event was a huge success,” Smith said. “I think if the event happens next year it would draw an even larger crowd than it already did.  The combination of free Red Bull, music and entertainment was very fun.”

Budenski plans to bring the event back, and hopes it will grow into a must-see event over the years.

“I am hoping the races will come back to Drake because I know that they will only continue to grow in popularity and will grow into the role of being one of the headlining events of the week,” Budenski said.

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