Team Blomenberg places second in chicken throwing contest, and that’s no “Buell”!


Posted 6/22/09 8:30 AM

Updated 6/22/09 12:10 PM


IDS-sponsored “Team Blomenberg” (Tim and son Andy) scored a podium finish just behind “Team Hot Pants” (Tim’s stepson Ben and his friend Andrew) in the first annual Friedheim Rubber Chicken Toss Contest on June 20, 2009.  The winners clearly had the inside track, employing their tried-and-proven home-built 2-year-old tebuchet to launch the rubber hen an impressive 85 feet on their best of three tries. Team Blomenberg placed second with an official measurement of 75 feet from the line of scrimmage (Team Blomenberg accepted a 20’ handicap at the start of competition due to setup requirements; actual best distance was 95 feet). Team Heckman (Tim’s first cousin Dale and his son) placed a respectable third using their home-built “Trebu-pult” (Andy’s name: cross between at trebuchet and catapult) which went from concept to competition in less than 7 hours.




Team Blomenberg used a farm tractor with loader, a baseball field back stop post, 1/4” surgical tubing, scraps of wood and cloth and, of course, copious amounts of duct tape. “We had some difficulty with the Chicken-Machine Interface Unit (CMIU). We did not have access to the official chicken until 5 minutes before the competition, too late to make significant changes to the CMIU,” said Tim in a post-competition interview. “We had modified our own rubber chicken by injecting the head and shoulders with DDFI-3 potting compound. We designed the CMIU with that bird (dubbed SuperChicken) in mind. We were consistently putting SuperChicken 150’+ down range with only a 25-degree elevation on the launch system. When we were told that our bird was not qualified for competition and we had to use the official bird, we were of course disappointed because the CMIU was not designed for a bird of such poor aerodynamics and ‘fowled’-up weight and balance.”






The “official” chicken dubbed “The Friedheim Flying Fowl


Team Blomenberg showed up at the competition unannounced and a bit late, so the other teams had more time to set up. Teams were allowed one test launch with the “official” bird. The Friedheim Flying Fowl simply refused to conform to the CMIU and complained loudly on this and every subsequent shot. “We had to significantly reduce preload on the launch system because the Flying Fowl had such poor launch stability”, said Andy. “We had plenty of reserve power; we just had trouble putting it squarely to the back side of the Friedheim Fowl.” Our best shot was the third and final official launch. We shoved the bird’s head and feet into the crease between the taped-on bean bag and its own body (with approval of the other teams…they had been doing it all along!) to make the bird more aerodynamic, then launched with about 45% of max tested preload at a 28-degree launch angle. That gave us our official 75’ placement (95’ travel) and put us just short of the best launch by Hot Pants. Tim was happy with the second-place finish, but Andy was sure we could have done better with by changing the launch angle…


IntelliRay, Inc. co-sponsored Team Blomenberg and Blomenberg Farms, LLC provided the tractor for the event.



The event organizer, Shirley Drier. Would you trust this person to make and enforce official rules?



Preparing for competition. Team Hot Pants has the large weathered Treb;

Team Blomenberg sets up using the back stop as one anchor point



Team Heckman prepares their machine. The bucket was weighted with 3 heavy log chains.

The bucket handle failed during one shot, but Team Heckman persevered and came up with a work-around.





Team Heckman’s awesome 7-hour creation…with Pastor Dahling documenting the device. The official chicken is in launch position.



For more on the contest and the church picnic in general, visit:



Here are a few to shots Kris took…


The Hitzfield show horses preparing to strut their stuff






Some of Tim’s Amish friends showed up with a horse-drawn covered wagon and gave rides all evening after the show horses were done for the afternoon.



One of our Amish friends tries out the Titanic slide





Solo Deo Gloria!