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PSU, community gear up for Baja event - KOAM TV 7

PSU, community gear up for Baja event

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NEWS RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE UNIVERSITY

PSU, community gear up for Baja event

On what turned out to be a beautiful May afternoon, B.J. Harris spent time walking around the site of the Baja SAE – Kansas course just east of the Pittsburg State University campus, Thursday.

Other than a few workers putting on some finishing touches, the site was quiet.

“It was almost surreal,” said Harris, director of the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It was crazy standing there and thinking about just how much action will be at the site in just over a week. It’s exciting to think about.”

Harris’s thoughts echoed those of community and campus leaders as Pittsburg State prepares to host, for the second time in four years, the international Baja competition.

"Now just a week away from this truly worldwide event, the anticipation seems to grow by the second," said PSU President Steve Scott. "We're thrilled to again have the opportunity to host Baja SAE - Kansas, and I'm very proud of the campus and community leaders who have worked hard to get everything ready. We're excited to welcome all of the teams to Pittsbug State and get the action started."

Blake Benson, president of the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, said the entire Pittsburg community benefits from the event.

“The value of having world-renowned companies like Honda, Polaris, Briggs & Stratton and several others in our community for this event cannot be overstated,” Benson said. “The Baja event puts Pittsburg on the international stage both in terms of participants and businesses, and that exposure for our community and for southeast Kansas is priceless.”

Harris said Pittsburg was chosen again to host the event based in part on support and welcome the event received in 2011.

“The people in the community and at Pittsburg State work very hard to make events like this as close to perfect as can be,” he said. “We do a great job of hosting big events, which is why things like the Shrine Bowl and Baja continue to come back to Pittsburg. As long as we continue to work hard and support them like we have, they’ll keep coming back.”

Trent Lindbloom, assistant professor of automotive technology and a key coordinator of Baja SAE – Kansas, said he heard many positive remarks about the university’s first hosting of the event in 2011.

“One of the things that impressed them most (Baja SAE officials) was the community and how them made the competitors feel welcome,” Lindbloom said. “When the teams came into town, they saw welcome messages marquees and signs along Broadway. That’s not the case in many cities where the competitions are held.”

The Baja event, which will feature 100 teams from nine countries, is set for May 22-25. Teams from across the U.S., Egypt, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Argentina, Venezuela, Bangladesh and India are expected to compete.

The event kicks off at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 22, with a Bajas on Broadway Car Show in downtown Pittsburg, at which several of the teams will show off their competition vehicles.

The official public opening ceremony will begin at 8 a.m. Friday, May 23 on the north side of the Kansas Technology Center. Throughout Friday, teams will participate in a variety of inspections, tests and practice runs.

Various competitive events will take place on Saturday and Sunday, including the four-hour endurance event. This event is held over a one and one half mile course that is intended to test the capabilities of each of the off-road vehicles.

More information, including a full schedule of events, is available at pittstate.edu/baja.

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