Intense mid-day sunlight cut through the thin, crisp fall air and glowed warmly on students crowded around a giant man-made ram — crafted by CSU Team Green Machine — on the Lory Student Center Plaza Thursday afternoon.
Team Green Machine, a group of CSU students, was on campus to give students a preview of the craft they will see on the track this weekend. Saturday is D-Day for the team’s ram, which, along with a slew of other Colorado soapbox racer teams, will be putting their nerves and their driving skills to the test at the Red Bull Soapbox Race at Red Rocks Park near Morrison.
Event gates open to the public at 10 a.m., and the opening ceremonies begin at noon with the Red Bull Air Force skydiving team jumping in at that time. The first team will be hitting the track at 12:30 p.m.
Admission to the race is free.
Team Green Machine will be representing the CSU student body at the race with their nearly life-like ram craft, decked out in green and gold.
“I’m feeling real good about it now that it’s done,” Todd Pashak, the team’s driver, said.
The other Green Machine crew members seconded his confidence.
“I’m pumped,” Logan Gamble, the team’s creative designer, said. “The steering works, the brakes work, everything works the way we planned.”
Corey Cocker, designer and team member, said the brakes remain suspect for the team but said he’s holding out hope that all goes well.
“I’m a little anxious, but confident,” Cocker said.
“Yeah, I’m still not sure I’m not going to die,” Pashak finally conceded.
Team Green Machine will face off against CU-Boulder’s soapbox team, which will take the track directly after the Green Machine ram streams across the finish line.
“We’re going to run right through them,” Pashak said. “Destroy them.”
Peyronnin said the rivalry match-up is one reason he hopes to make it to the track on Saturday.
He said he heard that the CU-Boulder fans will probably be out in force at the race and that CSU students need to outdo them.
“I don’t like those guys,” Peyronnin said.
While the team is certainly hoping Pashak and his co-pilot Rob Zimmer crush the CU-Boulder team and not suffer any lasting injuries, CSU students are looking for blood.
Peyronnin said he is eager to see some “gnarly crashes.”
“I want to see some blood and bones popping out! It probably won’t happen, but if it did I’d be stoked,” Peyronnin said.
Callie Magdziuk, a junior biology major, seconded Peyronnin’s excitement for the crashes and said the race “just seems like a lot of fun.”
Even Nick Leinen, an employee at RAMtech, said, although he cannot make it to Red Rocks, he is definitely hoping to see some carnage on the TV broadcast of the event.
This weekend’s race is the fourth and final U.S. stop for the Red Bull Soapbox race this year and Red Bull spokesperson Andrea Dorsett said they are “thrilled to be in Denver at the iconic Red Rocks Park.”
She encouraged onlookers to arrive at the park as close to 10 a.m. as possible and that free shuttles will be available for transportation to and from the parking area.
“Red Bull Soapbox Race embodies the spirit of Red Bull. It vitalizes body and mind. . And this event truly celebrates the witty, creative, daring and ironic side of all of us. It’s an absolute blast and we can’t wait for people to come out and experience it for themselves,” Dorsett said.
Senior Reporter Jim Sojourner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.