Kinetic King detonates stick bomb in Union


The Kinetic King from NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” detonated a stick bomb in the K-State Student Union courtyard yesterday. The event was part of Union Program Council Week: Events Down to a Science.

Tim Fort, aka “the Kinetic King,” builds gadgets out of tongue depressors woven together under pressure. When one stick is quickly removed, a chain reaction causes the gadget to explode shooting sticks, ping pong balls, rubber bands and other objects into the air.

Fort started building his “chain reaction art” at 8 a.m. yesterday and continued until the detonation at 4:30 p.m. Fort put on his white lab coat and decorative goggles before pulling the string to start the eruption of pieces.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Keeli Gibson, sophomore in elementary education, said. “I’ve never seen him before.”

His designs take hours to build, yet less than a minute to explode.

“I never do the exact gadget twice,” Fort said. He incorporates different building techniques like the stick bomb, the clever level and the cobra weave.

The crowd appeared to be impressed as the room filled with applause.

“I can’t imagine how long it takes to do all that,” Josh Nolan, sophomore in art, said.

The event had a favorable turnout according to the UPC staff. Hannah Henning, senior in mass communications and entertainment co-chair on UPC, said that the event took less time than she thought.

Fort said people are usually surprised who see his gadgets for the first time.

“People don’t believe you when you say they’re just sticks woven together,” Fort said.

Fort has been practicing this form of art for over a decade. After Fort graduated from college and married, he said he decided that the working scene was not for him.

“One day I decided I’m going to be an artist,” Fort said. “That was back in 1999.”

Since that time, Fort has appeared on the semifinals of “America’s Got Talent” and a Russian television show called “Minute of Fame.” He also set two world records.

“I got them to start the stick bomb category,” Fort said. He also mentioned that he might be attempting another record next month.

Fort said his degree in engineering helps him understand the basic physics of the gadgets he builds, but the most useful knowledge has to come spontaneously.

“What really helps is knowing how to improvise,” Fort said.

Fort faces different challenges with each gadget that he builds. Sometimes the floors are uneven, or the size of the table he works with is problematic. However, the hard work becomes worth it for Fort when his gadgets create excitement in his fans.

“I’ve had a whole studio full of people waiting to see my gadget,” Fort said.