Fun Fun Fun Fest cannon launches Torchy’s tacos


The Associated Press

Torchy’s Tacos Taco Cannon will be shooting off bandana wrapped tacos all weekend during Fun Fun Fun Fest. 

Eli Watson

The Fun Fun Fun Fest taco cannon stands proudly on all-terrain wheels. It is coated in jet black paint, with its long barrel pointing high towards the sky. The cannon’s controller shoots off three tacos in rapid succession. The explosion excites cheers and claps from people hoping to catch one of the tacos. One by one each taco is grabbed, unwrapped and eaten. The smell of drizzled cheese, sizzled chilies and grilled chicken invade the nostrils of its catcher.

Matt Mandrella, Transmission Events marketing director, maintains a stern face as he describes the cannon specifically made for this year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest music festival. It’s an invention born out of whiskey nights at the Mohawk, and regardless of how comical it sounds, Mandrella takes the cannon very seriously. It follows FFF tradition: transforming harebrained ideas into successful realities.

“The cannon has been a couple of years in the making,” Mandrella said. “We wanted to have it at last year’s FFF, but the technology was not available at the time, and we felt our fans deserved something better than a modified potato cannon.”

Undeterred, Mandrella, FFF co-founder James Moody and Brittany Platt, director of marketing and communications for Torchy’s Tacos, devoted the months following last year’s FFF to create a taco-shooting machine.

“I seriously envisioned a warlike cannon shooting tacos at people,” biology senior Waytao Shing said.

Shing, who attended the FFF Aqua Olympics, an event catered to getting FFF patrons excited for the festival, was surprised to see what the cannon really was: a 12-chambered T-shirt cannon, redesigned to project delectable tacos.

At 750 pounds and powered by a car battery and pressurized carbon dioxide, the cannon has serious muscle.

“It takes 40 pounds of carbon dioxide to get through three rounds of Gatling gun-style shots,” Mandrella said. “12 barrels in each round, so 36 shots total per round.”

The cannon can shoot tacos around 200 feet if the wind conditions are ideal.

Inevitably, Mandrella and the crew experienced problems with the taco cannon during its early use, including deciding what material to properly wrap the tacos in and angling the cannon for the best trajectory results. Those involved went through multiple test runs to utilize the cannon’s full potential.

“We disintegrated several hundred dollars of tacos before our homies at Torchy’s helped us figure out how to make [the taco cannon] shoot perfectly,” Mandrella said.

After working with different materials, Platt realized that bandanas were best to wrap the tacos.

FFF begins Friday, and the cannon will be launching tacos on each of the festival’s four stages. The cannon will shoot an assortment of tacos, vegetarian and nonvegetarian alike.

Mandrella is enthusiastic about the cannon’s future. He hopes to create a Taco-Copter and, although unrelated, hopes to have jet packs for FFF’s PIP (VIP) patrons. Although the latter is highly unlikely, the helicopter may actually be plausible.

The future is still a million taco launches away. For now, Mandrella and his taco-catapulting cohorts have only one goal in mind: to shoot explosions of savoriness into the arms of FFF attendees.

Printed on Thursday, November 1, 2012 as: Torchy's Tacos launches taco cannon for festival
This article was originally titled "Torchy's launches taco cannon for Fun Fun Fun Fest" and was changed for accuracy