"Coaster Dad" Gives "Stick Bomb" a Roller Coaster Ride

Building a roller coaster just wasn't enough for Will Pemble, aka "Coaster Dad"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Building a roller coaster just wasn't enough for Will Pemble, aka "Coaster Dad." The 50-year-old wacky inventor/father from Orinda, California, had to up the ante this weekend, by building a 180-foot-long "stick bomb" out of Popsicle sticks. He then gave the stick bomb a ride on his homemade, backyard coaster. (Published Tuesday, May 13, 2014)

    Building a roller coaster just wasn't enough for Will Pemble, aka "Coaster Dad."

    The 50-year-old wacky inventor/father from Orinda, California, had to up the ante this weekend, by building a 180-foot-long "stick bomb" out of Popsicle sticks. He then gave the stick bomb a ride on his homemade, backyard coaster.

    (A stick bomb, in case you didn't know, is a spring-loaded device, made from flat sticks woven together that explodes under tension.)

    "I saw this beautiful stick bomb on YouTube," Pemble said. "And I thought the only thing cooler would be to give a stick bomb a ride on a roller coaster."

    So he did. And his neighbor pal, Keith Klohn, documented it with several cameras, which Pemble uploaded on Monday to share with the world. The video shows the arc of the sticks exploding in real time, and in slow motion, too.

    According to Pemble, who took a month to plan the idea and at least three hours meticulously weaving Popsicle sticks on Saturday afternoon to make it work, the stick bomb was a success.

    "When the thing went off," he said, "I got every bit of that little kid excitement and joy. Even better, was the participation of the kids in the  neighborhood."

    Pemble's been getting his share of attention - and more - lately.

    Ever since hackaday.com first reported a story April 27 about his homemade roller coaster, news agencies, including NBC Bay Area, "Sunrise Australia," and "Good Morning America" have been airing his backyard antics. George Stephanlopoulos even said Pemble was the "early favorite for father of the year."

    Pemble said his website, CoasterDad.com was so popular last week, it crashed with "tens of thousands" of eyeballs all wanting to see his invention at the same time.

    Pretty ironic for the former CEO of Web.com, a web hosting company he sold in 2007 before launching out on his own as a chief strategist at Extensible Management.

    He has since boosted his website's juice to be able to handle the thousands of viewers who want to see his YouTube videos and tutorials.

    He's hoping that the spotlight on his love for science and zany experiments isn't over just yet.

    His son, Lyle, who turns 11 this week, wants to challenge Jimmy Fallon of "The Tonight Show" to ride his favorite roller coaster, the Kanda Ka, in New Jersey. And if Pemble could have his way, he'd show off his zany inventions on Ellen, whom he thinks is just the ultimate "goddess."

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Author Lisa Fernandez watched Pemble set off his stick bomb on Saturday with her children. Her son and his friend appear in the first bit of the stick bomb video. She and her daughter appear on the rooftop.