MELENDEZ/REGISTER FILE PHOTO|
|Getting set: John Whittaker,
professor of anthropology at Grinnell College hooks an
Atlatl to the end of a dart during Atlatl Club
|WHAT: The Raging
Cow atlatl (spear throwers) competition and fun
WHERE: Grinnell College Track
10 a.m. today, 9 a.m. Sunday ("if anyone shows
COST: Free; visitors
The list of events at Grinnell College's third annual "Raging
Cow" atlatl competition today and Sunday certainly stimulates the
Note: Atlatl (an Aztec word) is an early
spear-throwing weapon, a launcher, that preceded the bow and arrow
all over the world. It's about 18 inches long, with a notch in one
end where a 6- or 7-foot-long dart made of wood, bamboo, cane or
Here's this weekend's event
Raging Cow, Standing Deer/Flying Pig hunt, Tic Tac
Toe, Intercollegiate Toltec and International Standard Accuracy
Competition (ISAC) - all involve spearing targets with accuracy.
And wait, there's one more: Shooting at plastic
Grinnell College anthropology professor John
Whittaker and student atlatl enthusiasts will gather today for some
spear throwing that's both fun and lightly educational.
actually takes place, though, is still up in the air.
from Luther College, the University of Iowa, as well as atlatlists
from all over Iowa, Missouri and Minnesota are expected.
never know who will show up, and meeting interesting people with all
sorts of primitive skills is one of the pleasures of the atlatl
world, Whittaker said.
"With a sport revival of atlatls in the last few years, the
Raging Cow Atlatl Competition is a low-key competition," Whittaker
"We bill ourselves as the World's First Collegiate
Atlatl Team, although it's very informal and we are only a club
sport at the college."
But tell us more about the
"Let's see, I'm still making some of this up!"
The Raging Cow name comes from the club's
mascot. In lieu of mastodons (helped to extinction by the atlatl),
contestants target a cow made of foam board. Hit the cow in a fatal
spot and gain points, merely wound it and lose points.
Intercollegiate Toltec, which decides the college rivalries, is a
target modeled after famous carvings at Chichen Itza in
The Standing Deer/Flying Pig event uses a foam deer
target at 20 meters and a moving pig target on a high wire at 15
meters. Throwers get five shots at each.
Tic Tac Toe, as you
might guess, involves two-player teams that not only have to select
a square, but must be accurate enough to hit it to claim it,
The ISAC is the only event widely recorded and
"On Sunday morning at 9 a.m., we will have a
final ISAC - if anyone shows up," the professor said.
It depends what visiting Missouri atlatlist
Ray Madden has in mind. Bottles are a new game to