Wisconsin family looking to flip their fortunes, regain BattleBots title

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 9:56 PM CST
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DORCHESTER, Wis. (WSAW) - A Marathon County family is once again making a name for themselves as warriors. Dairy equipment producers by day, the Ewert family is a staple on Discovery Channel’s “BattleBots.”

Terry Ewert got his engineering education in the 80′s. His company produces equipment that cleans cow udders, but in 2001 he found a hobby that channeled his creative side.

“My dad went out on his first trip and came back with the giant nut,” said son Reese Ewert. Ewert’s “Son of Whyachi” won the highest prize in BattleBots his first year out.

Since then he’s passed the passion for automated gladiators on to his sons. “This is the third year for Fusion, and I’ve been plagued with some issues. It started on fire a few times... like half the time,” Reese said.

Reese Ewert’s “Fusion”, and brother Jake’s “Hydra” are both competing in the tournament this year.

“She is, after last night’s episode, the most dominant flipper in BattleBots history,” Jake said.

The Ewert’s don’t just compete, they’re also designers. Jake says the goal of Hydra’s weapon is to flip another bot to the ceiling, but it has disadvantages to the more common vertical rotators.

“We started with these piano key hinges. We were the first ones to do it, so we picked up everybody else’s, and now this season, everybody’s starting to copy us,” Jake said.

Hydra uses a vertical rotator for flipping, and a horizontal one to inflict damage.

“It just keeps spinning and then hits somebody, flips them over, disorients them, and then this weapon is supposed to rip them apart,” Reese said. Over their 22 years, Team Whyachi has made parts and machines for other competitors.

“So if you ever see somebody sticking a handle in here and turning the switches on, you know it’s a team Whyachi part,” Jake said.

Jake said that it’s rewarding to make other competitors’ designs take shape, “We make bots, parts, and the best part is to get to go against them, and then rip them apart and then you get to fix them again.”

This is the fourth year of competition for Hydra and it’s still working with the same frame. The Ewert’s say they learn and adapt each year, and are looking to bring home the Giant Nut once again.

You can see them on the Discovery Channel Thursday nights at 8 p.m. and streaming on Discovery Plus.