On the cloudy Friday afternoon of E-Days 2017, a crowd gathered in Q lot to watch five trebuchet teams compete for glory. This year the teams were competing not just for bragging rights, but for prizes- with the first, second, and third place teams walking away with cash.
A trebuchet is comparable to a catapult. At the trebuchet contest the teams compete to try and hit a target a certain distance away. This requires a strong and accurate machine, typically built out of wood and iron pipes. The trebuchet is loaded with a gallon water jug for launching. Then, a pin is pulled, releasing the counterweight and launching the water jug.
“This is our third year competing, and the first year we built our trebuchet the night before and got second place,” contest veteran Collin Kinder said. “So we figured we could do even better with more time to design.” Kinder’s team came in third.
Last year Kinder and his team made a “floating arm” trebuchet, which looked awesome, but was difficult to calibrate. This year Kinder’s trebuchet was looking great up until the final round, when the frame dramatically snapped.
“We were hoping it would all come together this year,” shared Kinder, “but sadly, after a year of weather wear, the structural integrity of our trebuchet was damaged, and it just wasn’t as strong as it used to be.” While Kinder’s team was aiming higher than third place, they still walked away with a cash prize, and they did not let themselves get knocked out of the E-Days spirit.
“E-Days is a time I always look forward to,” said Kinder. “It gives us relief from our daily efforts here at Mines.” If you missed the trebuchet contest this year, be sure to check it out next year- or maybe even consider building one and competing!