Being the random thoughts of a middle aged overeducated physician, father, and citizen. James M. Small MD PhD. Send me a reply to jmsmall @ mycap.org.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

My brother came to town last night to visit his alma mater during homecoming. His son goes to Mines now. Last night we heard the story of the great parade float of 1978.

Seems the Mines fraternities make floats for a homecoming parade. The Betas had a new truck donated by an alum and covered it with decorations made of paper napkins. There was a mineshaft, a donkey, and miners. When passing the judge's booth, the idea was that one miner would light some black powder which would burn down into the shaft, there would be an explosion, and gold nuggets would fly out followed by the donkey with his orecart.

So my brother was in the mineshaft. A friend had made a "smokebomb" that he guaranteed would work; he now is an explosives expert. For the explosion, they decided (I am not making this up) to have another guy shoot a 30 06 rifle into a bucket of sand, on the truck, in the mineshaft. They had black powder mixed with sand which was supposed to make a nice slow-burning dramatic fuse, like a Roadrunner cartoon.

They pulled up to the judge's stand. Black powder lit, burned into shaft, unfortunately igniting many of the paper napkins on the way. Rifle goes off, my brother sets off the smoke bomb which goes off like one of those old flash devices and blinds everyone in the shaft and also sets IT on fire.

"Hit the gas!" Driver takes off through Golden, heading for the fire department, trailing smoke and flames. They nearly made it, too, when the flames burned the brake lines and the truck squealed to a stop. The guy with the rifle took off through the forest and the rest is history.

Oh, the judges disqualified them! I bet there was never a more entertaining float in the history of the parade. Spoilsports.

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