Thursday, June 26, 2008

Missoula Marathon Sponser of the Week

Missoula Marathon Sponsor of the Week


There’s nothing like starting with a “bang”, and the ROTC Cannon offers the best of that for the Missoula Marathon. The cannon gained its local notoriety for firing at the U of M Grizzly football games. The cannon first started shooting at Griz games around 1965. It was donated to the ROTC in 1970. The cannon is a black powder muzzle loaded 3-inch bore cannon. The ROTC uses about 3 ounces of black powder or pyrodex powder, packs it with one sheet of newspaper, and sets it off with a shotgun shell primer. If produced just right, they can get a smoke ring for the end of the National Anthem. (Rumor has it that it will launch a golfball above the top of the “M” on Mount Sentinel, but the man in charge claims to have no proof of that.) The history of the cannon itself is obscure: Nobody knows who manufactured the cannon and there is no date stamped on the barrel. In fact, there are no markings whatsoever on the cannon. The cannon is fired for each touchdown, each good field goal, and at the end of the game “win or lose”. That’s because firing is the only way to unload the cannon.

Now the tradition of shooting off the cannon at the beginning of the Missoula Marathon is underway. Thank You to the ROTC Cannon Crew.

For the Missoula Half Marathon we needed another cannon. Race Director Jennifer Straughan lives next door to cannon hobbyist Ted Soldowski. Building cannons as a hobby is not an easy fact to disguise: When Ted tests his cannons you can hear it all around the Nine Mile Valley. When asked, Ted was happy to participate as the cannon start for the Half Marathon. Ted was so enthusiastic after the Inaugural Missoula Marathon, that he has produced a brand new (and larger) cannon just for the Second Missoula Marathon. He’s been testing it and it’s certainly working.

So put in your earplugs and get ready for the start of the Missoula Marathon and Half Marathon, Sunday July 13th, 6 am.

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