One of the things I learned at OctRoperFest was to trust my gut more. Yes, I consider myself a new roper, but I can still spot a potential issue, and should feel confident enough to speak up about it.
One of the riggers was setting up for a performance on a pagoda style freestanding suspension frame. His ring was secured towards the the side of the frame, though it was centered in the other direction. My first thought was I wouldn’t put it there and I had heard those type of frames can be unstable in a specific direction.
Halfway through the performance, with the gal suspended, he put extra weight on her in a pulling motion – which brought her closer to him and caused the frame to start to fall towards him – it was now up on two legs instead of the stable four legs. I was at the end of 2nd row near the stage, and there were two fellows in black cowboy hats directly in front of me. They both dove onto the raised stage grabbing a leg of the pagoda, and I went around them up the stairs grabbing the side of the frame. The performers were unfazed and carried on with the excellent show. Cowboy hat #1 stayed on the stage with an arm hooked into the rig ensuring it wouldn’t go over again, though it did raise the other leg once or twice. It might be a really good frame design, and I’m still thinking of building one like it, but you must keep the ring dead center.
So what did I learn – if I see something questionable contact a DM or somebody – even if it is a performance. I have no idea if the performer is familiar with the nuances of that equipment or not. Just because I consider myself new doesn’t mean I can’t spot a potential issue.
Learning and confidence go hand in hand.