Someone passing by would never guess that Westar Manufacturing’s 10,000-square-foot facility, situated deep in the fields of central Wisconsin, is home to one of the robot battling community’s most influential families. Wrapped in gray corrugated metal and speckled with a handful of dirt-dusted double windows, the building stands inconspicuous among the area’s handful of manufacturing buildings.
But within its interior concrete walls and among its rows of towering machinery lies the heart of Team Whyachi, a major contender in the second season of ABC’s hit summer series “BattleBots.”
This year will be the second time the Dorchester-based team has appeared on the show, which pits battle robots against one another for three-minute fights. The goal? To decimate the opponents and become the ultimate “BattleBots” champion. Last year the Wisconsinites competed with their heavyweight class champion Son of Whyachi and Warrior Clan, a bot built specifically for the network competition. Like last year, Team Whyachi has split into two teams for the competition.
The work of these local engineers isn’t confined to “BattleBots.” Team Whyachi Robotics has in recent years landed props seen on The CW network show “Nikita.” The team built a motorized ATV chariot that was featured in an episode of “Bert the Conqueror” and weapons props for the young adult fantasy film “The Mortal Instruments.” And they are most famously responsible for Mjölnir, more commonly known as the hammer from Marvel’s “Thor” franchise.
There are around 10 members of Team Whyachi, including team leader Terry Ewert, his wife Lisa and four sons Jake, Clint, Luke and Reese, as well as several family friends. Most of them began competing in the robot battling world around the early 2000s through the Comedy Central show. Despite that small screen background, Clint Ewert said building and battling with deadly robots on TV is only a hobby.
“We’re not TV personalities,” said Ewert. “We’re from Wisconsin. Most people who hate us think when we show up we have a ton of money, but we put a lot of our personal time into this. We’re very family-oriented around here.”
The full article was published in the Wausau Daily Herald on July 6, 2016.