PSU competes in Red Bull soapbox race

| Audrey Dighans copy editor |

Pittsburg State students seem to have a healthy habit of getting the university’s name spread nationwide for a variety of reasons. The latest reason, including one RV, one soapbox in the shape of a gorilla and four friends, called Pittsburg State #SOKB (Straight Outta Kansas Baby) made a few heads turn at the Red Bull Soapbox Race Seattle in Seattle, Wash., on Sunday, Aug. 24.
“It was great to accomplish something so big,” said Ian Youvan, junior in finance and the team’s driver.
Youvan’s teammates included Gabe Harris, graduate student in business, Curtis Ebert, senior in communication and Austin Clay.
#SOKB took fifth place out of the 40 teams there to compete from around the country.
“Can’t really describe how amazing it was to do so well,” Youvan said.
His teammate Harris, however, did have a way.

Ian Youvan, junior in finance, Gabe Harris, graduate student in business, Curtis Ebert, senior in communication and Austin Clay compete in the Red Bull Soapbox Race Seattle in Seattle, Washington, on Sunday, Aug 24.

Ian Youvan, junior in finance, Gabe Harris, graduate student in business, Curtis Ebert, senior in communication and Austin Clay compete in the Red Bull Soapbox Race Seattle in Seattle, Washington, on Sunday, Aug 24.


“It was surreal,” he said. “Performing in front of tens of thousands of people, yes, surreal.”
Harris added he also enjoyed the actual traveling involved on the trip.
“The opportunity to get out and see the West Coast was awesome,” he said. “ We had a chance to meet a ton of great people.”
Prizes for the winners of the race ranged from a trip to the Red Bull Air Race Las Vegas, where pilots battle in the skies at speeds up to 230 mph, to indoor skydiving at iFly Seattle.
The Red Bull Soapbox race is for amateur drivers with a need for speed. Soapboxes must be completely powered by gravity; no stored power or external forces are allowed. Drivers must be at least age 18 but other members of the team may be any age.
“One of the things we had to do was submit our technical drawing,” Youvan said.
He added the team’s soapbox is designed as a gorilla to represent PSU and add some creativity to the entries, gaining them notice.
“Everybody loved our craft,” Harris said. “We scored super high on creativity.”
“We hope to represent Pittsburg with speed, style and ingenuity,” Youvan said.
#SOKB went straight out of Kansas on Friday, Aug. 22.
“We’re the team with the longest drive,” Youvan said, helping his teammates load the RV for the trip. “We want it the most.”
The races began at 1 p.m. on Sunday, with awards presented after two and a half hours of competition.
“For awhile we were sitting in first place,” Harris said. “Unfortunately, there were a few cars at the end that flew down the course and got on the leader board.”
Youvan says the team plans to continue racing and entering other Red Bull events.
“We want to see how many we can compete in,” he said. “The real prize is just getting to compete.”

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