About a hundred Medieval-vibing folks gathered in Bushwick on Saturday for the second annual Great Trebulation, which was both a friendly competition among 12 teams — who brought homebuilt siege engines of varying degrees of effectiveness — and a great excuse to day drink with a bunch of people in Maria Hernandez Park.
Even in the rain, which went from annoyingly steady to slightly-less-annoyingly misty, the pleasures found in creative camaraderie and enthusiastic revels far outweighed any weather-inflicted discomfort.
Great Trebulation organizer Reed Worroll (Scott Lynch)
The event was once again organized by Bushwick resident Reed Worroll, an archaeologist and teacher by trade who built his first trebuchet during the early pandemic. “I spend a lot of time on Wikipedia going down deep holes,” he tells Brooklyn Magazine. “And there’s universal praise for the trebuchet for being the most mechanically efficient version of the catapult. Once I got into making one I wanted to have all my friends do it too because it was so much fun.”
The rules to the Great Trebulation are pretty simple. Each team arrives with a hand built counterweight trebuchet (which means only gravity can be used to propel your payload, no springs or elastics), with a maximum size of three feet by three feet. All competitors are given three chances to throw a single unwrapped Lindt chocolate truffle as far as they can.
That might seem like a random projectile to hurl around the park, but since the counterweight on a trebuchet should be around 100 times the weight of the payload, tossing a 0.1 pound candy means that you only need a ten pound weight or so on your siege engine. Plus, the chocolates are round, and wouldn’t really hurt even if you got accidentally nailed in the face.
There were three trophies up for grabs on Saturday. The “most historically accurate” award, which went to the trebuchet that best replicated the engineering and construction of yore, was won by the Iron Horseman, a one-man team.
The Iron Horseman, who most the most historically accurate award, lets one fly (Scott Lynch)
The prize for best overall aesthetic went to the Midas Plague Guild, who were decked out in gold and accessorized to the hilt. Their trebuchet wasn’t just cool looking; it also delivered the second longest throw of the afternoon.
The MIdas Plague Guild celebrates their award for ‘best aesthetics’ (Scott Lynch)
The grand prize, for the purely ballistic “farthest throw,” was taken home by the Dry Heavers, whose trebuchet, emblazoned with the Eye of Sauron, tossed the chocolate over the fence and into the plaza area of the park. It was an astounding achievement that would have terrified the denizens of any olde castle or keep. The prize: two tickets to Medieval Times in New Jersey.
The Dry Heavers prep the contraption that won farthest throw (Scott Lynch)
Of course, everybody’s a winner when you’re goofing around with trebuchets in the park. The rambunctious Medieval Knievel team brought a big crew to the festivities. “We’ve created a trebuSLAY,” Jet Harper says of the team’s bright pink contraption, decoupaged with erotic imagery. “It was an exercise in art therapy I guess. We spent more time decorating it all together than we did building it. We’re hoping for the Cuntiest award: creativity, uniqueness, nerve, and talent.”
The trebuSLAY from team Medieval Knievel (Scott Lynch)
The trebuchet of team Pu$$y Goblin$ looked like a tiny gnome village.
The Pu$$y Goblin$ and their wee village (Scott Lynch)
The Whorelords of Bushwick adorned their siege engine with peacock feathers, because, as team member Jasha Aitchison puts it, “peacocks are super fierce.”
The peacocking Whorelords of Bushwick (Scott Lynch)
And the Midwest Coast Wenches brought their trebuchet on the plane all the way from California before assembling it in Brooklyn.
Midwest Coast Wenches (Scott Lynch)
“There’s just something really nice about throwing something very far through the air,” says Worroll. Or, as is often the case, not very far at all, depending on your trebuchet.