Sunday, September 30, 2012

Countdown to Hurl-time

There are now only six day until the 4th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival.

Other Activities at Pumpkin Chuckin' --

The Lamoille Family Center of Morrisville will be running numerous activities for children at the Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival including – face painting, bean bag toss, ring toss, noodle necklaces, corn pool, costume characters, and more. 
Our Annual Safety Message:

We once again want to remind all our competitors that safety must be a critical part of all your procedures for firing your trebuchet.

Hoisting your counterweight and arming your trebuchet is just as dangerous as the actual firing. For example, checkout the following video show the aftermath of a very severe accident that occurred during the filming of the reality TV show Little People, Big World.

The episode was entitled, "Trebuchet Trouble" and it had the following incident:
Jacob Roloff, 9, and Michael Detjen, 58, were injured when a 25-foot-high wooden trebuchet at Roloff Farms fired prematurely. The machine's 2,000-pound concrete counterweight dented Jacob's skull, requiring surgery, and repeatedly slammed into Detjen, a retired Beaverton engineer who needed 200-plus stitches.

 Wikipedia adds this account of the accident:
Jacob Roloff and family friend Mike Detjen, were seriously injured in an accident on the family farm on Saturday, October 28, 2006 (episode aired April 9, 2007). They were injured when the family's trebuchet (which they use to launch pumpkins as part of the pumpkin season promotion) prematurely triggered. Jacob was rushed to nearby St. Vincent Hospital and underwent surgery to relieve swelling in his head caused by a small piece of skull pushed into his brain. Jacob and Mike recovered from the injuries and were released on Monday, October 30, 2006.

Although a TLC camera crew were at the farm recording footage, they were not in the area where the accident occurred. The accident, therefore, was not recorded. Prior to the airing of two new episodes on November 4, TLC aired a brief segment with Matt and Amy acknowledging the accident and thanking everyone for their support. Jacob was shown with what appeared to be an injury around his right eye.

Footage taken shortly after the accident occurred on the farm was shown December 16 in the final minutes of the season finale, "Farm Overload." A crowd had gathered around Jacob, who was lying on the ground near the trebuchet. The first two episodes of season 3 focus on the accident, and how the local media reacted to it.
Fortunately everyone survived this accident. But, the moral is that trebuchets are dangerous and fragile weapons. They are war machines. Happily, VTPC does not allow 2000-pound concrete counterweights, but any of of the machines in our three weight categories (20, 100, and 500 lb) can still put a big dent in your skull if they malfunction.  If you need more reasons to pay attention to safety, go back and checkout one of our old videos of Dave J's trebuchet having a massive failure before last year's VTPC.

Be safe out there all hurlers.
To be safe and stay injury free,
There's a way your trebuchet must be,
Well set-up and inspected,
With no hazard neglected,
Do-it-right, that's your best guarantee.