in Los Angeles for the shooting; got a tour of the junkyard and I was fitted
for my uniform. I was introduced to the team, the Jet Doctors,
at dinner where they proceeded to interrogated me on my background and
history. By the end of the meal, they were thoroughly confused since
my background is so varied; I repair accordions, blow things up, have
done the pyro at burning man; as well as being an active member of SRL.
I felt that the pressure was on since these teams have been in several
challenges undefeated and this was the finals.
At 5am I got the wake
up call to start the day of the build. It was already getting warm by the
time we arrived at the yard. I was a bit nervous as we piled out of the
van and headed for the buffet set out for us. The food was amazing. After
breakfast we were lead to the set where we were introduced. I had to look
serious for my close up, and then the teams ran back and forth to set up
the show's intro. People would trip, tools would fall off belts and we
had to do it over again. This took several hours and I was getting into
the mood of the things.
|It seemed like
we were not getting much done. All the parts were being assembled
but not put together yet. The camera men and producers were constantly
interrupting us as we worked. Annoying as it was,I had to keep
reminding myself that it was show, even after we had to do the
same task over and over again for TV. I realized from my experience
with SRL, that a lot of interesting actions got lost since it wasn't
being filmed. My teammates were even surprised since in their past
experiences, there wasn't as much documentation of the build. By
the end, we were all a bit on edge to get the vehicle built.
||The first day
ended by us getting finished pretty late in the evening. By then
everyone was thoroughly trashed. The High Flyers,
our compilation, seem to be worse off than us, it looked like they
had been rolling around in grease. We all wandered off to get some more food and snacks. They had margaritas in paper cups with
salt on the rims waiting for us. We lounged for about a half hour,
then headed back to the hotel to crash. At the motel, I almost
fell asleep in the tub.
day we were bused back out to the set. After a breakfast and
more chatting we proceeded to beat down all the sharp edges of
the vehicle with padding and duck tape. Replaced duct tape, string,
and tie wraps with real welds and hinges. My dad was actually
able to assist us in this which seemed to bring him great joy.
After finishing up all the loose ends, we were let off to enjoy
The day of
the competition, we passed the vehicles we built on the freeway,
as they were being carted to the final set. They looked like
particularly unfortunate car accidents being towed to the wrecking
yard. We arrived at the site had breakfast and proceeded to paint
and decorate our vehicles, while the crew set up. I had brought
along a rather large and unplayable accordion which I wired to
the front of the vehicle. Since the Jet Doctors all
worked for Delta Airlines, we named it "The Delta Duster".
We had an American flag on it also, since we did the Build on
the anniversary of 9/11.
The races were about
to start. We elected Kirk, the guy with the most golf experience
to always be with the vehicle, and we'd rotate the drivers. I drove
first. The first two shots,we used the power driver, the ball launcher.
It was amazing, It rolled right were I wanted it. The second rolled
past the green, but two more puts got it in the hole. We were one over
par. The other team ended up being 2 over par. It seemed that their
putter wasn't as adaptable as ours, and their vehicle alignment seemed
to be more critical than ours for its proper use. Theirs could shoot
the ball much further than ours though.
was apparent that our accuracy was more important to the game,
instead of the power. I think if the High Flyers had
more time to practice it would have been a much closer match.
It was boiling out and we had no shade. I'm glad I insisted on
keeping the roof to the Delta Duster, so we had a place to rest.
As it was the three holes took all day, we made the last hole
just after sunset and we were losing light. On the last put,
the ball actually bounced back out of the hole! We made it in
the second shot to win the competition. After we won, we sprayed
each other in the traditional champagne drenching, and had the
awards ceremony. The trophy was passed out, awards given and
more champagne dispersed.
was a great experience. I'm happy that my dad convinced me to go. I
still hear from the people who make Junkyard Wars periodically. Maybe
I'll be able to do something with them again in the future.