the 3rd annual Obtainium Cup Contraptor's Rally

Rowan Sinclair, 8, of Vallejo, tries to wake up the sleeping mouse by crashing cookware during the third annual Obtainium Cup Contraptor's Road Rally at Mare Island, July 27, 2014, in Vallejo. (Steve Reczkowski/Daliy Republic)

Solano County

Artistic ingenuity unhinged at Contraptor’s Road Rally

By From page A3 | July 28, 2014

MARE ISLAND — They pedaled for the metal.

An eclectic mix of human-powered vehicles rounded a course fraught with danger Sunday as Obtainium Works hosted its third annual Contraptor’s Road Rally on Mare Island. Dressed in costumes from an imagined era, racers brought their clunky creations of recycled parts and gears to the starting line in hopes of claiming the Obtainium Cup.

Katherine Becvar and Samuel Coniglio of Oakland returned to this year’s rally with High Spirits, a side-by-side tandem ride complete with a canopy and drink bar in the back.

“We’re keen on beverage service, whether it be tea or spirits,” she said. “We prefer to be able to travel in style with beverages at our fingertips.”

The duo built the contraption at the Obtainium Works art studio in Vallejo using two Dahon folding bikes. They added a canopy and installed the “all-important chandelier” above the rear table with beverage storage.

“It’s not built for speed,” Becvar said. “It’s built for style.”

Sparky Jewell, of Oakland, and his 8-year-old daughter would race The Flaptor, a moped capped with a metallic cover inspired by the anime movie “Castle in the Sky” as well as another film.

“It’s powered by ‘Soylent Green’ gas,” Jewell said, citing the 1973 science fiction movie starring Charlton Heston. “It’s people!”

He said the contraption is one of three vehicles that his wife and him plan to build, and there was still some work in store for The Flaptor before it would head to next month’s Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.

“It’s not quite done,” he said. “It doesn’t fly yet.”

At the starting line, High Spirits and The Flaptor joined a couple dozen other mutant vehicles, such as a full-scale “horseless carriage” with lounge-chair seats and a mobile magic mushroom. The vehicles would roll through a four-mile course encountering “flying monkeys” – or stuffed animals shot from air cannons – and zombies in the graveyard at Shoreline Heritage Preserve. Afterward, the racers would return to The Coal Shed Studios, Building 153 at Fourth Street and Waterfront Avenue, where a celebration would carry the evening.

Kathy and Shannon O’Hare, owners of Obtainium Works, were inspired to start a Contraptor’s Road Rally after participating in a massive kinetic rally in Arcata. With its relatively flat roads, the Mare Island Naval Shipyard seemed like an ideal setting.

“Mare Island is a repurposed place,” said Kathy O’Hare. “Obtainium Works is all about repurposing and using recycled materials.”

A following of fellow artists and friends gathered for the inaugural Obtainium Cup in 2012, and the festival grew to include an “Americana” performance stage and vendors hawking steampunk art and vintage costumes.

Obtainium Works, 510 Pennsylvania St., will host its Haul O’Ween Murder Mystery Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 and Mad Hatter Holiday Festival Dec. 6 in Vallejo. For more information, call 510-292-5879 or visit www.obtainiumworks.net.

Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.

Adrienne Harris

Adrienne Harris

Adrienne joined the Daily Republic in September 2009. She earned her journalism degree at the University of Florida in 2005 and has worked at newspapers in Fort Pierce, Fla.; Las Cruces, N.M.; and El Paso, Texas.

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  • Kathy O'HareJuly 29, 2014 - 9:02 am

    Thanks for the great article and so glad you could join in the madness this year!

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