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"Icing Down a Silo..."

5 years 9 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, February 09 2016 Feb 9, 2016 February 09, 2016 6:58 PM February 09, 2016 in Pat Shingleton Column
By: Pat Shingleton

The silo ice climbing championships began on January 16 and Don Brigg invented the idea.  Don is a renowned wrestling coach and years ago was working on a neighbor’s farm when he created a winter recreation in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Briggs duplicated a sport that is usually confined to steep mountains – ice climbing.  With a garden hose and shower heads he watered down a 70-foot grain silo and with temperatures ranging from zero to minus 17, he instantly created an ice mountain.  Briggs believed that if you build it they will climb it and that has certainly been the case for many years. Climbers are tethered to the silo as they straddle stalactites of ice.  In addition to the dozens of adventure seeking climbers, some as far away as China, the iced-up silos have offered  and additional attraction as ice sculptures. Also, during the early days of firefighting, getting the wet stuff onto the red stuff was a task.  Bucket brigades were recognized as the best method of firefighting and “stand pipes” were positioned and attached to the municipal water systems.  Freezing weather became an obstacle to fight the fire and to prevent a frozen line; traditional fire plugs were covered with manure, tanbark or straw. As the plug evolved to the hydrant, above ground nozzles were configured to avoid mud, snow and ice. Antennas are also attached to a hydrant for firefighters to easily recognize their location in case of heavy snowfall. Years ago, we shoveled snow from sidewalks and driveways as it was also our responsibility to clear the snow from the hydrant on our property.

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