Sunday, May 27, 2018
News Roundup

33rd annual Brooksville Raid Re-enactment is Jan. 19-20

Ron Gilbert has a penchant for things that go boom. He likes shooting off fireworks, guns of all types, and he enjoys tinkering with other small ordnance. And when it comes to sending a 100-pound chunk of heavy metal skyward, he's the man with all the answers.

Gilbert is one of the country's pre-eminent experts in the art of "anvil shooting." He travels all over the South putting on what can only be described as the ultimate gravity-defying stunt.

"It's something of an art mixed with science," Gilbert said in a phone interview. "I guess you could say there's a little magic involved, too, because most people just can't believe they're seeing an anvil flying 150 feet in the air."

Gilbert, who will demonstrate his anvil-shooting this weekend at the 33rd annual Brooksville Raid Re-enactment, spends his days working as a pyrotechnic supervisor for building demolition. About 20 years ago, however, he found himself enthralled with one of America's oldest forms of public spectacle. So he decided to give it a try.

"Long before there were fireworks shows, you had people shooting anvils as a way to celebrate a holiday or event," said Gilbert, 49. "Soldiers did it often during the Civil War. It's got that wow factor that people just gravitate to."

Though the anvil-firing process is fairly simple, it's dangerous and must be done using only established procedures by someone qualified to handle high explosives.

Gilbert uses steel-forged anvils that are more than 100 years old and stronger than those made of cast iron. Preparation for a shoot involves turning one anvil upside down and filling the base cavity with black powder. Next, he places an inverted powder-filled anvil sealed with a paper gasket on top of it. To fire the anvil, Gilbert uses a type of electronic fuse allowing him to remain a safe distance away.

His shows also involve firing several anvils at once — a sort of finale.

"It's pretty spectacular to watch four or five of those things flying through the air at the same time," he said. "The crowds love it."

Though most of Gilbert's anvil shoots are in the 100- to 150-foot range, he knows some experts blast them 500 or more feet up.

"The trouble is, when they come down, they tend to get buried . . . and you have to dig them out," he said. "I hate having to do that."

In his all of his years of shooting anvils, Gilbert says he has never had a major mishap. But it does happen to others. And when it does, as it did in a Discovery Science Channel taping of a Missouri anvil shooting competition a couple of years ago, he regrets it.

"There's a right way and a wrong way to do it," Gilbert said. "Mistakes usually happen out of carelessness. And that hurts everybody."

• • •

The Brooksville Raid Re-enactment is Saturday and Sunday on State Road 50 at Sand Hill Scout Reservation, across from Oak Hill Hospital. (352) 799-0129; brooksvilleraidreenactment.com.

Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.

Comments
None injured in Trinity rehab center fire

None injured in Trinity rehab center fire

TRINITY — No one was hurt Sunday morning after a fire broke out at a rehabilitation center.According to Pasco County Fire Rescue, Trinity Regional Rehab Center at 2144 Welbilt Blvd. is running on generator power after the blaze broke out about 10:30 ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Part of Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard closed through at least 5 p.m.

Part of Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard closed through at least 5 p.m.

Both southbound lanes of Bayshore Boulevard between W. Barcelona and W. Rubideaux streets are closed while the Tampa Water Department repairs a water main break.The repair and roadway restoration work is expected to be completed by 5 p.m. Sunday but ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Meteorologists are calling Alberto a ‘subtropical storm.’ What the heck is that?

Meteorologists are calling Alberto a ‘subtropical storm.’ What the heck is that?

We’re all waking up to the impacts of Alberto: dreary rain, gusty wind, the reluctant change of Memorial Day plans.But while the effects are routine for storm-weathering Floridians, the category of storm Alberto falls into is a little less familiar. ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Temple Terrace applauds progress on downtown project

TEMPLE TERRACE — A round of applause from the audience followed the recent vote by the Temple Terrace City Council to negotiate a contract with a company that plans to build and manage luxury apartments in the long-idle downtown redevelopment area.Th...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Troopers looking for driver in New Port Richey fatal hit-and-run

Troopers looking for driver in New Port Richey fatal hit-and-run

NEW PORT RICHEY — Florida Highway Patrol troopers are looking for a driver who hit and killed a 46-year-old bicyclist then drove from the scene.Shawn Michael Grady, of New Port Richey, was biking south on Rowan Road south of Massachusetts Avenue abou...
Updated: 5 hours ago
FHP: 30-year-old motorcyclist killed in Hudson crash

FHP: 30-year-old motorcyclist killed in Hudson crash

HUDSON — A 30-year-old man died after he was struck by a car and thrown off the motorcycle he was riding.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Derek Fingerle, of Hudson, was traveling south on U.S. 19 in the center lane about 8:20 p.m. Saturday. M...
Updated: 5 hours ago
A wet Memorial Day weekend continues as Alberto treks north

A wet Memorial Day weekend continues as Alberto treks north

Subtropical Storm Alberto continued its trek north-northeast overnight and is expected to make landfall in the northern Gulf Coast late Monday.The storm was about 85 miles north of the Dry Tortugas as of Sunday morning, producing winds up to 40 mph a...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have had to get creative in how they start games. Now, after Friday's trade of closer Alex Colome, they might have to get creative in how they finish them.How they handle the ninth inning going forward will be a fluid ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

What in the name of the 0-26 Bucs is going on here?The breathtaking Vegas Golden Knights are the greatest expansion team in professional sports history. They are the best (or worst) thing to ever happen to our games, having won 51 times during the re...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

THE BASEBALL LABORATORY IN ST. PETERSBURG — Up is down. Down is up. Hello is goodbye. Goodbye is hello. A reliever is a starter. A starter is a reliever.These are your 2018 Tampa Bay Rays.You never know what's going to happen. And just when you...
Published: 05/26/18
Updated: 05/27/18