After days of obsessive Wikipedia research on medieval siege engines, Bushwick bartender Reid Worroll decided to organize a months-long catapult construction project called “The Great Trebulation.” The first introductory meeting will be held at 101 Wilson Bar in Bushwick on Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome. 

Siege engines are medieval weapons designed to tear through castle walls, like catapults or a battering ram. The Great Trebulation will focus on counterweight trebuchets, a special kind of catapult that uses gravity to fling projectiles through the air.

“These winter months can be a real slog for a lot of folks,” Worroll wrote in The Great Trebulation handbook. “Why not give yourself an umbilical through-line to spring in the shape of a long-form craft project?”

Flyer for the first ever "Great Trebulation," a catapult building and firing competition.
“The Great Trebulation” flyer, designed by Ash Highfill of Bedford-Stuyvesant. Worroll and Highfill connected over a shared love of typography and calligraphy. 

At the meeting, Worroll will go over an introductory presentation and soup from Soup Queen BK will be served. 

Watch for updates or event date changes on The Great Trebulation Instagram page.

All guests should bring proof of vaccination and an ID, which will be checked at the bar. Normal Covid-19 capacity protocols will be enforced too, according to Worroll.

In an interview on Zoom, Worroll said what he most looked forward to is seeing people gather in-person around a common interest of flinging objects through the air with a machine they created themselves.

“You can just throw an object a long way, and I think that satisfies a very primal urge to see things fly through the air,” Worroll said.

On Feb. 24 there will be a secondary meetup and trebuchet chat, or “trebuchat” as Worroll puts it. That meeting will also be held at 101 Wilson Bar at 7:30 p.m. 

Then on March 20, there will be the final launch competition at Prospect Park. Participants will be able to put their siege engines to the test and launch Hershey’s Kisses through the air. Each catapult will be judged on its launch distance, historical accuracy and aesthetics.

Worroll said that when he first posed the trebuchet idea on his Instagram story, he found many people were interested in taking up the new craft. Around 50 to 60 people messaged Worroll with words of support and interest.

“I think a lot of people need a craft and a time-eater,” he said. “Just something fun to do right now in this Covid situation.”

Worroll hopes The Great Trebulation will be a fun creative outlet and space where other creatives or history buffs can connect with their neighbors, make friends and geek out on medieval weapons. All people, regardless of catapult building skills or age are welcome to join. Young creators and builders are welcomed to join too. 

“If families get into it, I would be so delighted,” Worroll said.

The designer of The Great Trebulation flyer, Ash Highfill, said that she is excited to learn something new and start designing a trebuchet with a friend. 

“I haven’t encountered any type of groups who are really doing these kinds of out-there, unique and different types of activities,” Highfill said. “And I feel like I didn’t know that I needed it until it was put in front of me.”


Photo via 101 Wilson Bar website.

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