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/6 September 2000
BattleBots by E.C. Ostermeyer




"The quest for the Giant Nut continues. Two robots fight. One robot dies!"

Welcome to the Robot Killing Fields.

It's time for your weekly dose of tungsten-flavored whoopass.
Week 2 (6 September 2000) of the BattleBots Tourney is coming to you live on tape from the Bay-side BattleBot Arena, San Francisco's Bay-side "Festival Pavilion"
This week, the Opening Round bouts continue, with two Heavyweight contests and a wild smash 'n' crash from the Super Heavyweight division.
Your hosts are ESPN sportscaster Sean Salisbury, and the lovely Bill "Dear-Hair-Club-For-Men" Dwyer.
Arena-side, you've got the evil Doublemint Twins Jason and Randy Sklar. "Baywatch" star Donna D'Errico's here in her role as eye candy, and "Science Guy" Bill Nye serves up a steaming helping from the Dark Side of Technology, just to keep the techno-weenies happy.

The rules are simple. Two robots square off in the "BattleBox", a death zone just chock full of kill saws, steel spikes, sledgehammers and flipper ramps. They have three minutes to either kayo their opponent, or inflict as much damage as they can, scoring points for ramming their opponent (Slams), use of their primary weapon (Jabs), and shoving their opponent into the aforementioned saws, spikes, etc. (hazard damage.)
The winner advances to the next round. The loser advances to the scrap pile.

Match #1 Voltarc (HW210) d. Bender (HW193), (time expiration/decision on points, 3:00)

The first match is a battle of Heavyweights Voltarc, and Team Tatar's awesome-looking Bender.
Bill Nye's tech-specs on Bender are impressive. The pride of the be-fezzed Team Tatar mounts a 1-meter wide hardened steel saw blade, spinning at 16,000 rpms, powered by a 1 kilowatt motor.
"It's designed to impress, distress, and destroy!"

A biopic featuring a day in the life of Team Voltarc's Chief Designer, San Francisco's own Stephen Felk, makes you wonder just what that quiet guy who lives by himself at the end of the hallway is doing right now!
Felk likens himself to a sculptor, except that his creations are a whole lot nastier than your normal statuary. He considers having what amounts to no social life for four years a decent trade for being the proud owner of a wedge-shaped, lifter-armed killer robot.
The match opens with Voltarc ramming Bender into the Lexan wall of the BattleBox. Bender, in retreat, exposes its trailing guide wheel, and Voltarc whacks it right off. The loss of the guide wheel renders Bender's primary weapon, that mean-ass saw blade, ineffective against its low-profile opponent. Voltarc scores a couple more hits, and even dangles Bender for a time from it's spike-tipped lifter arm.
The rest of the match involves Bender running around the ring in "Avoid" mode: avoid Voltarc, avoid the kill saws, avoid the ram spikes, avoid everything.

Match Stats:
Voltarc had an impressive winning score of 8 Slams, 2 Jabs, and 4 Hazard Damage hits.
Bender's losing it's trailing guide wheel crippled it's chances for victory, as the saw-bladed monster was only able to score 1 Slam and 1 Jab.

Bill Dwyer says that Bender's going to need some major design changes.
Steve Felk (and son?) says that, though he got an ugly victory, it was a victory anyway.
Team Tatar, dragging off the carcass of the defeated Bender, comes up with a great idea: "Next time, we won't use a rear wheel!"


Match #2: KillerHurtz ( HW205) d. Knome II (HW126), (K.O. by decapitation/immobilization, referee stops contest, 1:03)

KillerHurtz, an tortoise-like entry built by the United Kingdom's John Reid, sports a Lexan carapace, and wields a mean-looking gas-driven battleaxe as its primary weapon.
Team Duct Tape's entry, Knome II, looks more like your typical construction 'Bot, complete with hard-hatted cranium and "Caution"-taped scoop-shovel blade. It's designer/operator Jerome Miles, is only fifteen years old, and hails from Provo, Utah.

Pre-match, Jason Sklar corners Mr. Miles, and sticks a mic. in his puss.

"This is your first heavyweight fight?"
"Have you been eating lots of stuff to bulk up?"
"Has the robot done some bulking up?"
"Yes, it has."
"How do you feel?"
"Are you excited?"
"Wanna relax?"
"Want some No-Doz (tm)?"
"Want a sedative?"
"You gonna win?"
"No-o-o-o-?! (To the camera.) I'm THAT good, people!"

The match begins with KillerHurtz ramming into Knome II with such force that the hard-hatted 'Bot's head goes flying off! A vicious swipe from the gas-powered battleaxe smashes the right-side shovel arm. Another whack from the battleaxe chops a big piece out of Knome II's torso. KillerHurtz backs off, then rams full-tilt into Knome II's already damaged starboard side, and then unleashes another vicious wallop with the battleaxe, before careening off a raised flipper ramp and into a BattleBox sledgehammer.
Killerhurtz spends some time dueling with the Arena's sledgehammer, and gets the worst of it.
It rapidly becomes apparent that Killerhurtz has somehow wedged itself under one of the safety barriers. Coincidentally, it has also managed to pin the still-operational remains of Knome II against the barrier as well.
The two 'Bots continue the struggle to free themselves, but it's no use, and the referee stops the contest due to immobilization of the two contestants.

Match stats:
KillerHurtz scored 6 Slams, and 9 Jabs. It also scored a "decapitation" but that was a largely cosmetic loss for Knome II.
Poor Jerome Miles. His "Robliterated" Knome II scored no points at all.

Post-match, Randy Sklar talks with Team KillerHurtz' victorious drivers, John and Dominic.
Sklar: "Man, you went Henry the Eighth on that robot!"
Reid: " Well, you gotta go for it!"
Sklar: "You guys beheaded it, then you went Anne Boleyn on it! Congratulations, guys!"

Donna D'Errico consoles a morose Jerome Miles, keeping vigil with the remains of his creation.

Donna: "Were you hoping it would last a little longer?"
Mr. Miles: " Well, yeah..."
Donna: "Looks like your robot suffers from "premature devastation."
Mr. Miles: "Yeah, I guess you could say that."
Donna: "Would a little kiss make you feel better about losing?"
Mr. Miles (perking up noticeably): "Yeah, it would!"

Donna bends down and plants a big ol' smoocheroo...
Right on the robot's yellow construction helmet.

Mr. Miles' expression can only be imagined.

Bill Dwyer thinks that there's an Internet site devoted to pictures of Donna kissing helmets.


Match #3: Minion (SHW325) d. Gray Matter (SHW324), (time expiration, decision on points, 3:00)
Pre-match, we see Gray Matter's designer/operator Israel Mathewson removing a wheel.
Bill Dwyer hollers that this is no time to be rotating your tires; we got a match coming up.

Dwyer then gives us the fight card for this match:

The pride of Medford, Oregon, Team Gray Matter's entry looks like a hellish lawnmower that has a sixteen-inch carbide steel spike protruding from it's forward glacis.
Team Cool Robots' #1-ranked Minion comes equipped with two weapons, a 12-inch gas-powered circular saw, and a backup ram wedge.
It's designer/operator is Christian Carlberg, who designed and built last week's Heavyweight class winner, Overkill.
We get a short biopic on Team Cool Robots, revealing an almost guild-like feudalism at work here.
The Techs and Mechs are all subservient to Mr. Carlberg because, as Brian, the Head Mechanic says,

"He's got all the money!"

As the principals are introduced in the Arena, our cameras spot the Tilford Family, (aka the South Bay RoboWarriors,) lurking with intent in the bleachers. Looks like they're here to scout the competition, as well as pick up some design ideas.

The match opens with the 'Bots at each other's throats from the get-go. Gray Matter uses the BattleBox wall to protect it's left flank, while taking swipes and jabs at the very aggressive Minion.
A vicious assault by Minion's buzzsaw is deftly parried by Gray Matter into a BattleBox sledgehammer.
Contact between Minion's whirling saw blade and the Arena sledgehammer shatters the saw's mount, and sends the saw blade flying into the protective Arena walls.
Wow, look at those fans duck!
Bereft of it's primary weapon, Minion can only fend off the continual assaults of Gray Matter's steel spike by using it's backup weapon, the ram wedge.
Gray Matter, sensing victory, continues to jab and poke with the spike, penetrating Minion's Lexan armor at several points.
Carlberg's not giving up, though, as he deftly maneuvers Minion to ram Gray Matter against a safety barrier. Gray Matter gets in a furious charge and impales Minion on the steel spike. A shoving match ensues, as both 'Bot's attempt to shove each other onto the various kill saws, ram spikes, and flippers.
Minion's more powerful six-wheel drive horsepower manages to position Gray Matter over a kill saw array, with the resulting Hazard Damage shaking Gray Matter's spike loose.
Some more parry-and-thrust work results in Minion getting a near flip-over on it's opponent using it's ram wedge. Another shove sends Gray Matter into an Arena sledgehammer, which takes a couple of whacks at both Gray Matter and Minion.
Another ram by Minion leaves his opponent teetering atop one of the safety barriers. With a squeal of burning rubber, Gray Matter powers off the barrier, and makes a steel-spiked lunge at Minion, just as the buzzer sounds, ending the match.

Match Stats:
Minion scored 4 Slams, 6 Jabs, and 3 Hazard Damage points.
Gray Matter scored 2 Slams, 4 Jabs, and 1 Hazard Damage point.

Your winner by decision on points: Minion!

Post-match, Bil Dwyer says that Christian Carlberg showed great versatility in changing his strategy when Minion lost it's buzzsaw, and he was forced to rely solely upon attacks using the ram wedge. Still, Carlberg needs to upgrade his weaponry and mount design if he expects Minion to play with the Big Boys.

Our "Hit of the Week" shows KillerHurtz decapitating Knome II, then wielding it's battleaxe in a frenzy of "Robliteration!"
Big ol' chunks of robot are just flying everywhere!

See you next week.

E.C. Ostemeyer
[slash] wrestling

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Guest column text copyright (C) 2000 by the individual author and used with permission