Jay Maynard (jmaynard) wrote,
Jay Maynard

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Flinging fruitcake

The Fairmont Fruitcake Follies went well yesterday. It's amazing just how far a simple machine can fling a pound of fruitcake.

I got there a little after 8. Nobody noticed me until I went in the restroom, took off the street clothes I had on over the unitard, and put on the armor. Once I did that, though, I was instantly recognized. (Wonder how that could happen.) People trickled into the terminal building, while others were outside setting up their flingers.

At 9, I made the first fling of the day, with the committee's trebuchet. It wasn't a big device, and so the fruitcake only went 100 feet or so. I skinned my knuckle on the armor on the other arm through the glove, and didn't notice till later when the blood seeped through. It rinsed out well, though.

That was the only time all day I went outside in the costume. It was 25 F out there, and I was freezing! I watched the rest of the competition from the warmth of the terminal buiding, which had big glass windows and a good view of the ramp where the competition was being held.

They had distance throwing contests for men, women, and kids, and a decorating contest with one entry. They'd announced an eating contest, but nobody signed up. (I wonder why.) Finally, it was time for the main event: distance and accuracy competitions for mechanical launchers. Most were trebuchets; there was one crossbow-style device, and one device that used a falling weight and a free-floating arm, with a pivot that flung the arm up near the bottom of its travel.

Two of the trebuchets used massive weights. One had an 800-pound weight. That one came in second, with a best throw of 459 feet. The winner was the floating arm device - which had a best throw of 624 feet! This was the third year of the competition, and nobody had broken 400 feet before.

The accuracy competition was fairly close. The target was a trailer set up about 300 feet from the firing line. This limited the number of entries, because it took a fairly good launcher to even make that distance. The floating arm device won this competition as well, getting within 42.5 feet of the trailer.

I helped present the awards when it was all over. There were about 100 people there at the finish, and they all seemed to be having a good time.

The crowd was generally impressed by the costume. I got a lot of positive comments on it, and more than a few questions about details and what it was like doing TV. One lady told me she'd heard about it a month or so before the Sentinel article came out; she didn't believe that anyone on TV would be from Fairmont at first, but then she saw one of the segments.

There was one 3-year-old kid who kept feeling me, I guess to see if I was real or something. He also commented on how full my tummy was. His father scolded him gently for that; I told the guy that he was in good (or bad, depending on your outlook) company, as Mike Tyson had done something similar.

Several folks asked if I minded them getting a picture with me. I don't object to that at all - after all, I was out there to be seen. They were all smiles when they walked off.

Things broke up right after noon. Paul had come out with my camera, and got a few pictures; we stopped and had some yummy barbecue on the way home. On the whole, it was a fun morning.

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