Bourjaily Meets Mr. Wrist Rocket

When I was a kid, I used to give my friends Wrist Rocket slingshots as birthday presents. My friends loved them, although looking back, I doubt their moms were equally thrilled.

So, it was a real treat to me to meet Mark Ellenburg at SHOT today. Ellenburg is the inventor the Wrist Rocket, which turns 55 years old this year. Ellenburg himself barely looks 55. He started inventing the Wrist Rocket when he was 12 years old, putting a wrist brace on a slingshot intended for throwing snowballs at his friend's snow forts back in Norfork, Nebraska. Evidently playing with slingshots your whole life keeps you young.

After he developed the wrist brace, Ellenburg came up with the idea of using surgical tubing instead of a flat rubber band. He was inspired by a straw Chinese finger trap he got at the county fair. Surgical tubing, like the finger trap, slid onto the arms of the slingshot easily, but wouldn't slide off.

At the age of 15, Ellenburg revolutionized the slingshot. Now 70, he has a booth at the show, and several new slingshots including the "Bat" (shown) which has fiber optic sights (to use them you have to turn the Wrist Rocket sideways, gangsta style), as well as a hole in the handle the holds a Mini Mag Lite for night shooting. Trumark slingshots are made in Boulder, Co., and you can see them all at slingshots.com