This article appeared January 23, 2002 in the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper:
January 23, 2002
It's not quite the same as racing motorcycles, but battling robots satisfies Michael Konshak's penchant for competition. Not only that, his new hobby puts him in the national spotlight. At 6 and 9 tonight on cable network TLC, the 55-year-old development engineer from Louisville will pit his Flexy-Flyer creation against other combat robots during the Robotica II Championship, a contest where competitors guide their metallic creations through three multi-level, multi-challenge courses. Tight spaces and treacherous obstacles -- a suspension bridge, a flip ramp, spikes that shoot up from the floor -- fill the different courses."Everything happens so fast that you don't have any time to know what's going on. You're just trying to keep your robot in control and get past the obstacles until the buzzer sounds," says Konshak, who raced motorcycles before becoming fascinated with battling robots. In May he appeared on Comedy Central's "Battlebots," where he lost in the first round. He was one of only 24 out of 1100 applicants to be invited to compete on "Robotica"; his win there in December advanced him to tonight's final round.Konshak is a threat with Flexy-Flyer, a 210-pound, four-wheel-drive all-terrain robot he built from scratch. His wife, Becky, and friend Norm Domholt will be with him on the show, filling out the rest of his team -- Robot Dojo. The final course, if they make it that far, features an 8-foot-high elevated platform where the machines square off in head-to-head combat, the loser falling to its doom. Konshak and crew will face some pretty stiff competition to get there, battling robots with names like "Kraken" and "Northern Fury." "You go in with the attitude that you're there to have fun," says Konshak, who began building robots last March. "But in the competition you do your best."
Thanks to Mike Konshak for sending this.