Jem Roadie at Great American Ball Park
Monday, 2 June 2003
Jem Roadie at Great American Ball ParkPhoto courtesy of Great American Ballpark.
USA - In early April, the official christening of Great American Ball Park, the new home for baseball’s Cincinnati Reds, was more than the usual annual celebration of Cincinnati baseball. It was a chance to showcase the unique features of the city’s new $290 million ballpark.

One of the more popular features is a re-creation of a paddleboat complete with 20-25ft high smoke stacks. Officially known as the Pepsi Power Stacks, these erupt when home runs are made, there is an outstanding play or the home team wins.

Capital Manufacturing was contracted to develop the new ‘home run effect’ and, in turn, contacted Entertainment Services Group, Inc (ESG) of Allentown, Pennsylvania, to provide the Jem Roadie X-Stream and LightJockey control system. Bob Schermerhorn, vice-president of sales at ESG, worked with Martin’s Southeast regional sales manager Jamey Brock. Schermerhorn was responsible for programming and acted as a consultant on the project. "When it came to control, the system had to be capable of simultaneously executing a number of different looks for a pre-determined amount of time, not to mention being simple to operate," he explained. The PC-based LightJockey controller - operated via a touchscreen - controls the keyed output from the Roadie, releasing bursts of smoke when prompted. Smoke is channeled to fill each stack and then assisted out by a blower. Once the Roadie finishes emitting smoke, the blower continues until the smoke is cleared from the stacks. The LightJockey also controls the LED illumination of the smokestacks, as well as the LED and neon illumination on each arm of the paddlewheel, a chasing neon effect that makes the wheel look as if it is rotating. As an added effect, a blanket of mist - also LightJockey controlled - emanates from the deck of the paddleboat onto the crowd below.

(Ruth Rossington)

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