The Steampunk Olympics kicked off on Saturday with the mandatory training for Umbrella fencing, followed by Nerf Duelling, Penny Farthing races, Croquet, and Dirigible races. The costume contest also took place, with results covered separately.
“This is a bad idea” is the official motto of Umbrella Fencing, which is why it was scheduled first thing Saturday morning, less than six hours after the end of the Fireball Federation Friday Fracas. After a mandatory safety meeting at 10 AM, participants signed waivers agreeing that any injury incurred was a result of their own bad judgement, and not because the inherent danger of the sport had been misrepresented in anyway. The duels were then fought in single elimination brackets, with the last person standing winning not only the points for the airship, but their very own unbreakable umbrella. First, second, and third place were all secured by members of the FFS Mutineer, a victory that can only be attributed to their not having had enough jello shots at the previously mentioned party.
Hamilton had ten dueling commandments, Steampunk Symposium has only five. 1: imagine some slight your opponent has offered. 2: choose your pistols. 3: stand back to back. 4: walk five paces. 5: turn and fire until someone is dead. Nerf dueling is played in elimination rounds; once dead you cannot compete again and the last man standing wins. Wind blowing your darts away and frequent jamming are all part of the hazards of this sport, and the judges have no sympathy for such circumstances. This year’s change of venue removed the need for the traditional human shield, significantly reducing airship casualties.
First place — FFS Mutineer
Second Place — Vernon Havoc of HMS Queen Elizabeth XV
Third Place — Victor Alexander of Caduceus
Dueling pistols were provided by the competing airships, and their design was also judged. Winners were:
First Place — HMS Queen Elizabeth XV
Second Place — Richmond Steampunk Society
Third Place — Friggle P. Brigadiggle of Cadaceus.
Nerf pistol design was judged by the owners of Dogwood Pass, and the first place winner received tickets to their steampunk weekend this July.
Penny Farthing Races
Penny Farthing Races are simple. Decorate a child-sized tricycle, put an adult driver on it, and pushing it around an obstacle course and see who can go the fastest without falling over. Since it is impossible for an adult to peddle a child-sized trike, two “engines” provide momentum for the course, while enthusiastic volunteers fire at them with dueling pistols. This year’s penny farthing race occurred without injury, with the following results:
1st place — Fireball Federation at 7.62 seconds
2nd place — FFS Mutineer at 8.78 seconds
3rd place — HMS Queen Elizabeth XV at 9.31 seconds
The tricycles were also judged on stylization, with Fireball Federation coming in first, QEXV second, and Mutineers third.
Croquet brings to mind well-dressed ladies and chaps on a green lawn, sipping lemonade and delicately rolling balls through hoops. But in the steampunk work, we decide to make it a game of infinite frustration by using inflatable, spiky balls on a hard, flat surface. Three teams competed for over an hour to see who would be the first to give up on on persuading the balls to go where they were supposed to, and who would be favored by the universe and magically win. The final results were:
1st Place — HMS Dauntless
2nd Place — Team Crab Croquet, representing Airship Caduceus
3rd Place — Fireball Federation
There was also a contest for best croquet racket design. First and second place went to Mike Cushing, affiliated with the Fireball Federation, while third place went to Bret Daly, also of the Fireball Federation.
Also known as the dirigible amble. There were only three entries in the dirigible race this year, resulting in one of the shortest races in Symposium history. As always, the airships behaved with a mind of their own, more inclined to explore distant corners of the room and introduce themselves to audience members than in finishing the course in a timely manner.
1st Place — FFS Mutineer, with a time of 1:03
2nd Place — Fireball Federation, with a time of 2:13.
3rd Place — Caduceus, with a time of 5:06
Airships were also judged on innovative design and artistic presentation. The judging decision was a close one, with Caduceus coming in first, Fireball Federation second, and FFS Mutineers third.