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Trebuchet places second in contest

Physics class flings ball 333 feet to place second

ARTHUR—The lessons that come with building a catapult cross over into many areas of physics, a few of which might include motion, gravity, energy, rotational dynamics.

But the seven members of Erin Duncan’s physics class in Brady didn’t see building a trebuchet for a contest as a physics lesson. They looked at it instead as a fun way to put knowledge to work outside the classroom.

The Brady class competed in the first-ever Thrills in the Hills contest at the Arthur County airport on May 8.

There were seven schools involved: North Platte, Ogallala, Axtell, Anselmo-Merna, Platteview, Arthur County and Brady.

The teams were given a few regulations to meet with their catapult but were not limited on imagination.

The catapult had to have a trigger of at least 20 feet and could not be larger than 25 feet long, 15 feet wide and 15 feet tall, excluding the lever arm.

Each team was allowed three practice throws and then three competition throws, competing for the longest distance reached by a 16-pound bowling ball.

The best throw for each team was considered in the final scoring.

Brady’s catapult was a trebuchet, according to Duncan.

“It had a counterweight on one end and a sling and pouch on the other,” she said. “The sling starts under the throwing arm and as the counterweight is released, the sling swings around and one end of it is released opening the pouch and allowing whatever projectile is in the pouch to be thrown.”

The Brady team, nicknamed the Ball Slingers, had official throws of 333 feet, 312 feet and 327 feet.

They finished second to the host Arthur County team, which achieved 348 feet on their second attempt.

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