Games Equipment – Barrels

Blue Ridge Games blew some of our hard earned money and purchased 8 barrels!  Well, to be accurate, they arrived in the form of blue Brute trashcans. But with a little magic, they can be transformed into games barrels.

Eight barrels is enough to run 4 lanes and makes it possible for us to play games such as Bottle Shuttle, Litter, Hug-a-Mug, Toolbox, Tackshop, Rubber Ducky, and  Association.

The transformation from trashcan to games barrel is a pretty simple one.

The first step is to purchase a trashcan, preferably a sturdier plastic one, and it should fall between 2 feet – 2 feet 5 inches tall and no wider than 21 1/2 inches wide.  We picked ours up from Zoro Tools. They have a variety of them but to meet the standards we selected 27 1/2 inches tall, 22 inches diameter, 32 gal, blue ones.  They came to $19.99/each with FREE shipping.  I ordered them on Friday morning and they were in my driveway waiting for me  when I got home from work Monday afternoon.  Super fast!

Next you want to pick up a sheet of wood and some paint.  Cut out the barrel tops from the sheet of wood, sand the edges and paint.

To finish the project, all that needs to be done is to attach the wooden top to the trashcan.

And boom, you have successfully transformed a trashcan, into a games barrel.

Rich and I discussed marking the Blue Ridge Games barrels with BRG or the BRG logo to fancy them up a little.  I told him I had seen that Tami Anderson had stenciled the games pony logo on the top of her barrels.  He liked that idea and said he could do our BRG logo which is the games pony with a mountain over it.

Rich said he needs to touch the ponies up a little so the legs are not as lumped together, but we didn’t have time for that since we had a competition in two days.

I think the logo looks just fine the way it is though.

Destruct-O Pony

Destruct-O Pony – innocent he is not.

I have mentioned a few times that Simon is mischievous and likes to get into things.  If he is turned out in the field with the games equipment he promptly knocks it all over.  Same with jumps.  Or really any items he can get at.  Sometimes I find a broken flag or a crushed mug, and a few times he has disbursed the equipment all over the field.  

He has been spending most of his time in the barnyard lately, which provides a very limited amount of grass, thereby preventing him from getting too fat and cresty or foundering.  But every few days I let him out into the riding field for a few hours to get in some light grazing.  The grass is pretty dried out and not too high in sugar content because of all the hot dry weather we have been having, and Simon is also not the type to just eat eat eat.  He wonders around while he grazes and eventually returns to the barn yard to make faces at the chickens and wait for a person to come entertain him.  

He must have been chowing on clover during the night.

He kept trying to eat the camera when I tried to take a nose photo.

Yesterday I let him out into the riding field for a few hours and as usual he had knocked every pole, barrel and cone over.  He also dumped the water tubs, which are not currently in use anyway, and rolled them down the field too.  I meant to get a photo of them and then put them back but I forgot and will have to do that tomorrow. 

At 6am this morning I walked down to the bottom of the field with Simon and started to right all the equipment to get in a quick ride before work and I found the black barrel destroyed.  I am not sure if he knocked it over and then stomped on it over and over again, or if he tried to climb inside of it and then thrashed around, but I found it in a few large pieces and a ton of tiny bite sized ones.  Last year Simon destroyed the other black barrel in the same fashion.  The two blue barrels are still intact, although I found them on their side and squished. 

This is how I found the larger pieces of the barrel. There were small pieces spread out over a large area.

I might have to invest in sturdier barrels.

Games Equipment for a Not-For-Profit Group

We have our own little games group, Blue Ridge Games, which is part of MGAA – Mounted Games Across America.  MGAA is a non-profit 501c3 national organization, with the sole intent of promoting, educating and providing mounted games opportunities.  BRG is also an all volunteer group, that tries to offer mounted games opportunities in an area where games is a bit new.

We need to have our own set of games equipment to really operate.  So far BRG has been able to barrow equipment for our competitions and we use my own personal equipment for practices and we have been able to make that work.  But it really adds an obstacle to hosting a competition and it’s a lot to ask of other people.

Creating your own personal set of equipment is not an inexpensive task, but some things can be skimped on and fabricated, although often to a not-quite-standard degree.  Which does not always work for a competition set of equipment.  For a competition set, you need to have 4 -6 sets of each item, and they all need to match and be to specifications.

There are also a lot of heavy metal, specially made pieces that are expensive to purchase and are a bit difficult to find.  There are two current games people that create and sell these metal items.  One, The Steel Pony, is the original artist for metal games equipment in the USA.  Operated by Mark, he originates in PA but recently moved to FL.  The other seller is a family in Kentucky.  They both make excellent equipment that lasts a life time.  We are talking about items you can gift to your kids who will then in turn gift to their kids.  Once you purchase these items you are set for life.  Although because of location, handing over equipment is a task that can take a year or more to arrange.

When it comes to expense, these items add up.  With the rise in metal prices the cost of a single bending pole has shot up some, being close to $60 each, and metal costs continue to rise.  Each set requires 5 poles.  So at last year’s $60 price, one set costs $300.  Our little BRG group needs 4 sets of everything to make the cut, which would run us $1200.  Wow right!

Because our little group can hardly afford to purchase one or two poles in a good year, we decided to check with the local vo-tech center that operates as part of the public school system.  They agreed to make the bases for us at cost!  Score!  We could still only afford two sets, 10 bases total, but it’s a start.  I have a set of matching poles as do two others in our group, so between us and the new bases we actually have five lanes!  Crazy!

Of course we still need to save up for the wooden poles, which will cost about $70 for both sets.  But shoot, we are just happy to have the bases for now.

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