Well Balanced Physics

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The Rodeo Game

Posted on 14 Jan, 2020
Tagged rodeoline, games, inventions

I’ve spent a lot of time surfing and swinging on big rodeo lines, and over the years I’ve sometimes thought about how to have a rodeo surfing contest. The basic idea is simple: who can do the biggest surf? To answer that, you need a way to measure, and again the idea is simple: you put something on the ground some distance from the line, and see if you can knock it over.

After carrying this idea around for years, I finally had a chance to try it out this winter when we got the opportunity to set up a weekly rodeo line in a gymnastics gym. We had lucked into the perfect spot: a rodeo line above a nice padded floor, and with foam pads to serve as the object to knock over that wouldn’t hurt if you accidentally landed on it.

There could be lots of variations of this game, but so far we’ve tried it like this:

surfin' USA
Making contact

Rodeo Game rules

Mark a distance from the line, and set up the pad. Everyone gets 3 tries to knock it over. Anyone who succeeds moves on to the next round, where the pad is moved a bit further from the line. Keep going until only one person remains!

We defined a try like this: you can kick off the ground to start the surf, but you have to do a full oscillation to each side without hitting the pad after kicking off. You need to pump up the surf to hit the pad. No touching the pad with your hands or arms, you need to hit the pad with your feet, leg or hip. Keep both feet on the line at all times. After knocking over the pad, you need to swing back to the opposite apex, and stay on the line at least until you start to move back towards the pad.

Other thoughts

One thing about this game is that the maximum surf amplitude you can possibly reach depends on the parameters of the line. The height of the anchors will be the biggest factor, but the length of the line and the stretch of the webbing also affects how the surf feels. So different competitions would only be comparable if they used the same line parameters.

One idea would be to try to settle on a canonical surf rodeo line height and length, to make lines in different places and times comparable. The biggest surf on the standard size could be a new world record, and we all know how much slackliners like those.

I also think it would be an interesting challenge to see who can do the biggest surf in absolute terms, with no restrictions on line size. How tall can the anchors be while still being able to pump the line?