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Motorcycles used to test storm shelters - KOAM TV 7

Motorcycles used to test storm shelters

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A local non-profit company has found a unique way to test tornado shelters. They use motorcycles.

Imagine a pitching machine in baseball, that uses motorcycles to hurl projectiles.

It's a tornado simulator that uses rows of rotating wheels to project 2x4's.  On Thursday in Chanute we watched as it hurled the pieces of wood at a car.  See it in action yourself in a video posted on YouTube.com.

The device is used to test out cement enforced walls, part of Project JOMO's unique tornado shelter.

"About eight years ago I built a famous motorcylce for Patron Tequilla that actually runs off Patron and some other bikes and so I got to thinking - I need to build this machine, if I power it by a motocycle, I can use my resume to help get this thing built," says Russel Gehrke of Project JOMO.  "Is the bike the best thing to shoot two by four's with?  Absolutely not.  But it's cool."

Gehrke is owner and founder of the nonprofit company that gives away tornado shelters and he says building the machine they call "the shredder" was cheaper than driving to Texas where he tested out the shelters, about a $3,500 difference.

Now all he has to pay for is the wood and gas for the bike.

It's a Honda motorcycle that can reach more than 140 miles per hour, which helps when they're trying to fire wood at concrete walls.

"It's a way to get people interested in the tornado relm basically," says driver and lead technician says Matthew Musgrove.  "You could see this with an electric motor but it's much more exciting when you've got a loud bike on top of it."

Musgrove from Kirby's Super Sports says he was glad to help out with the test and that people watching were excited to see what it could do.

"They're just kind of pretty surprised on how damaging a two by four can be, you wouldn't think a piece of wood would go through a car, but it will," says Musgrove.

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