Saturday, July 30, 2022

Proposal for Bourbon Festival: Bourbon Barrel Trebuchet Toss


The 2017 World Championship Bourbon Barrel Relay® Race
at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, Bardstown, Kentucky.
The World Championship Bourbon Barrel Relay Races are the highlight of the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown. Teams or individual competitors push full, 53-gallon bourbon barrels (full of water, not bourbon), which weigh about 500 pounds each, around the course. In addition to speed, competitors must enter the barrels into the rack so they end in a 'bungs up' position. Success takes strength, speed, and skill.

The 2022 festival is September 16-18. The official schedule of events has not been released but the barrel races are usually on Saturday morning (9/17), starting at about 10:00 AM. In recent years, the festival has converted many events into ticketed money-makers, but the barrel races are still free, open to everyone, and family-friendly. From time to time, the emcee might toss 50 ml bottles of bourbon to the crowd.

It is the best, most fun event of the festival. But this is the festival's 30th year, so it is time to up the ante. It is time for the World Championship Bourbon Barrel Trebuchet Toss. 

A trebuchet is a type of catapult that uses a long arm to throw a projectile. It was first used in the 12th century. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "large trebuchets, powered by 10-ton counterweights, could hurl 300-pound (136-kg) wall-smashing boulders as far as 300 yards (270 metres)."

The basic design of a trebuchet.

Although wall-smashing sounds like fun, a distance competition would be sufficient. Entrants must build a trebuchet using traditional materials (wood, rope, stone) capable of flinging a full, 53-gallon bourbon barrel.

The ideal venue would be a high school football stadium, but any large field will do. 

The Kentucky Bourbon Festival World Championship Bourbon Barrel Trebuchet Toss. What could possibly go wrong?


Richard Turner said...

Hmmm. Tossing a Bourbon Barrel with a trebuchet? I hope you're kidding, Chuck! A trebuchet is no joke, as I'm sure you're aware. Sounds waaaaaay dangerous; hut, maybe I'm just being an old fuddy duddy.

Also, you have a small correction to make in paragraph one where you mention the approximate weight of a full barrel as; '500 gallons' instead of pounds.(Please delete this last paragraph after said correction.)

Chuck Cowdery said...

Thanks for the catch.

I would say the proposal is semi-serious. I think it could be done safely but they'll never do it.

Chuck Cowdery said...

But it would be awesome.

Michael Lazar said...

You know how this could be even more awesome?

If there was actual spirit in the barrel and it was on fire.

And the event was held at night.

Unknown said...

Yes, a trebuchet would be fun to watch. Would a barrel hold up after being thrown 300 yards?

Chuck Cowdery said...

Only one way to find out.

Tom Johnson said...

FLAMING barrels. If you're going, go all the way.

Shane Campbell said...

A friend dragged me to the bourbon festival a few years ago. I enjoy bourbon and it's readily available in the Louisville area. The event open to the general public in Bardstown didn't provide access to any bourbon not available in any typical bourbon bar in Kentucky. What a waste of time.