September 26, 2009

I Was a Judge Again, but Nobody Called me “Your Honor.”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 4:31 pm

Today I got to be a judge yet again, although it had nothing to do with things legal. As in years past, I was one of the judges on the Truck Rodeo course. This year I was the Left Turn, Right Front Tire Guy.


Here is how my station looked. The idea is that, after completing four previous tasks on the course, the drivers had to make a sharp left turn and come as close to the rubber duck as possible without hitting the duck with the right front tire. You can see the scoring pad on the ground. The score was based on the portion of the scoring pad run over by the tread, not the bulge, of the right front tire. The drivers were not permitted to stop; they had to line this all up while moving from the previous task (which involved making a left turn and rolling the left rear tire over two similar scoring pads) — My buddy, Da Chef of da Future, was the judge for that one.


Here’s a better look at the duck and scoring pad. The duck was equipped with a string so that I could pull it out of harm’s way if it was clearly going to be run over. I had to yank the string three times, but the duck got squished a couple times anyway. I suppose a live duck would be more dramatic, but way too messy.


Here is the boundary within which the drivers had to stay while making the left turn.


The Truck Rodeo includes a fork-lift competition. That was going on to my left.


Here is a driver in a tractor-trailer doing one of the problems at the beginning of the course (Sorry for the bad lighting and lousy picture. I couldn’t leave my spot, and I was using a cell phone camera while the sun was hidden behind a cloud). The drivers had to pull out, swing right and then back in between two barricades, which permitted only five inches on either side of the trailer. These guys are good. I don’t think I could have done as well with my car.

The drivers’ families attend, and there is lots of food, prizes, and games for the kids (e.g. a water balloon toss), a small car show, a dog contest, a hot dog eating contest followed by a pie eating contest.

It’s a rather tiring day, but da Chef of da Future and I do it every year, because our friend Ken, (my bodyguard), is involved in managing the event and because it is a genuine slice of Americana.

These days, we have to protect those slices to keep them from disappearing.

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