The First Lady of Splendid Teapot Racing -USA

It gives me great pleasure to introduce  to you the ‘First Lady’ of Splendid Teapot Racing: USA Lois Wallace. It also gives me great pleasure to state that her rig ‘Little Bird’ is the first recorded teapot racing rig in the USA.  Little Bird was made in response to Lois viewing a video on Dave Lee’s page, after he came back from the Oamaru Steampunk Festival NZ in June 2015.


In our interview today, a giggling Lois confided to me that “she had never laughed so much in her life and couldn’t stop laughing”, and she knew that she wanted to have a go, so she built Little Bird. Even in our interview  Lois’s  great sense of humour shone through – so I can see how this appeals to her – a bit like the Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks.

bullet case

Lois is a manufacturing jeweler, she has lots of handy bits and pieces and also makes steampunk jewelry which she sells in her shop, Victorian Magpie. Lois also made the medal for the first racing. She has also taught soldering to the Virginia group, “so that their teapots will stay together on the course!”

Little Bird

Her rig has lovely details, a steering wheel, a stick shift ( gear lever in NZ ) and even a tiny gauge. Little Bird – we might have to call Big Bird, unfortunately can’t get around the nasty Ramp of Doom, a bit heavy for the unit, so is undergoing a ‘chop’. I am really looking forward to seeing Little Bird Mark 2.  Lois loves the tea party theme and thinks it’s a great fit with steampunk. Lois was attracted to steampunk because, “there are not really any rules,” – it is a personal interpretation of a theme.

the Alice hat- Lois

Lois met Daniel Lee Hawk at an art exhibition that he was in and they have struck up a great friendship. Lois has been very involved in the organisation of the Virginia Chapter, but was unfortunately overseas – in France ( so we will forgive her)  for the very first USA event hosted in August by the Virginia group. Lois has been successfully working behind the scenes to get Splendid Teapot Racing to the Steampunk Worlds Fair  in May 2016 – so look out for this event.

Bette's medal

Thanks  Lois for your mahi (work) and matangareka (enthusiasm) in establishing Splendid Teapot Racing in the USA.

“Gracie’s tea time table” – The first official USA Teapot winner of Excellence

Congratulations to the first winner of the Splendid Teapot USA Racing and a Lady Driver!  “Gracie’s tea time table” built and raced by Bette Cornette Smith from Virginia Beach, Virginia.  It was Bette’s first time ever racing her rig.  Bette who loves having fun, built it a week before the race with her granddaughter in mind as her inspiration.

Gracies tea time table

I chatted to the lovely Bette today, who confided to me that she is a pirate. She has a pirate shop and designs hats, jewelry and clothes! How cool is that! She did not really know what steampunk was until her grandchildren commented on her creations as steampunk. ‘Aunty Peaches,’ they said, ‘this is steampunk!’ Bette said, ‘Whats that?’ and went off to do some research. Unbeknown to me, Bette found Countess Simona’s site and then the Splendid Teapot Racing site. Bette befriended  Daniel Lee Hawk at a Comic Con and over several afternoon tea parties the subject of Splendid Teapot Racing came up and Daniel explained that he was going to host a race event. To which Bette duly attended, apparently with bribes for the judges. Yes, we are impressed!

Bette's medal

Bette Cornette Smith said  that she is in it for the fun and the friendship. Dressing up and meeting others is what motivates her and she didn’t set out with any competitive thoughts at all. When it was announced that she had won the overall award Bette was not expecting it. The beautiful  medal   was made  by Lois Wallace of Victorian Magpie! She said she can make them for $30 USA shipping included, please contact Lois.

Winning words from Bettte – ‘Remember to love what you do. And share that love. Always be kind and gracious.’

Bette sitting

We have the pleasure of adding that Bette’s beautiful photos were taken by LJ PHOTOS   by John Hudson – thank you John they are fantastic photos.

A Jolly Good Rig – the Earl Grey

I have to say that I am really impressed with what is happening in USA with Splendid Teapot Racing.  The Splendid Teapot Racing USA – Virginia  Chapter hosted the first race last weekend. And I also found this excellent blog from Over the Crescent Moon about the building of a rig called the Earl Grey. And this is what teapot racing means – inclusion and fun. Thanks Blaze and Mum for a job well done!

what it started life as ....
what it started life as ….

I really enjoyed this blog and I hope it races really well, it just goes to show that you can make something very simply.  You can read about it here.

USA with Daniel Lee Hawk

So, it was with great excitement the Captain Various Miscellaneous BitsandpiecesDaniel and I finally got to skype Daniel Lee Hawk from Chesapeake, Virginia.     The population is estimated to be 232,977 making it the third-most populous city in Virginia, so it’s a bit bigger than Wellington City and a bit smaller than Christchurch City area and it looks nice and green like the Nelson area. We are thinking that there is room for potential and great growth. So there we were, 10pm for us and 4am for Daniel – grown adults talking about international teapot racing….Added bonus, Daniel didn’t even think our accents were too bad….what accents….?

Daniel with some wonderful others has started a Splendid Teapot Racing Chapter in the USA – our first international affiliated group. (OMG – right? Awesome) Daniel, met Lois Wallace, co owner of Victorian Magpie, Virginia Beach,  who was the one to find the NZ videos and was inspired. She thought it was a great idea and Lois made the first teapot racer in the USA, the one titled Pretty Bird. Thanks Lois, ou get the big thumbs up! We also know the Steampunk Convivial in Surrey is also running an event but we haven’t seen a UK Chapter emerge – this position is vacant if any hardy  Brits want to take up the challenge.

How did you find us?

DLH:  Through Dave Lee, and Lois Wallace they come from around this area – (Big thanks Dave and Lois !) I was looking for something to get involved in. I am so excited I have been getting up at 3am to do stuff!

We also have Jamestown very close to us- the first English settlement in the USA (settled in 1606) – so that must be the link to tea!


What do you like about Splendid Teapot Racing?

DLH: It gets a lot of people together that might not get together. I was working on a submarine for 20 years and when I retired I didn’t want to be around people much or travel. I have travelled to nearly every country in the world except NZ and Hawaii.

Oh – was that because it was a nuclear sub? yellow

DLH: Yes

Us: oh wow!

DHK: so I have hung out in my garage with my business and making stuff and this has got me out and about again. (Daniel showed us some cool stuff he had made)

How many people are involved in your area?

DLH:  About 20 people including assorted small children. My son can control the teapot way better than I can!!! We have a weekly Sunday afternoon tea and I make crumpets.

Us: Yum……. P.S. We have  the recipe.


What’s in the future?

DLH: we are looking for a historical venue in over in Gloucester for the last Friday in July 2016 to run a Splendid Teapot Racing event.

Us:  Yay!!!! Much excitement!!!!

What do the locals think?

DLH: People come over and look and think it’s curling, they don’t realise they are motorized. Then they laugh!

Thanks Daniel Lee Hawk 🙂

So What is going on in the USA?

2015 Dragons Viper
Dragons Viper

The Captain and I have to report that we are astounded with the uptake of Splendid Teapot Racing International.

2015 Royal Tea
Royal Tea

The kind folk at Splendid Teapot Racing USA have organised a wonderful page with tons of information on it.

2015 DSC09239 Lois Wallace
Pretty Bird – by Lois Wallace. Under good authority this is the first racing teapot in the USA.

I have included some photos of their rigs and we will be interviewing them soon about their experiences.

2015 Steam on
Steam On