Photo from Battlebots.com
Team Members: Mark Demers (Captain), Zac O’Donnell (Weapons), Gary Gin (Driver), Jeff Hayashida (Mechanical), David Kennedy, Rob Frankovich, Matt Bailey, Rob Masek, Dave Solomon, Jerome Johnson, Tim Bayne, Daniel Suchomel, Roland Saekow
Team Lucky Canucky is made up of a large and diverse group of characters. Team members are spread all over North America: California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Ontario Canada. Skillsets include professional manufacturing and design, software development and project management, digital fabrication and instruction, and wireless technology sales. Collectively members have competed in seven weight classes and earned dozens of trophies in untelevised competitions since 1999. Until the actual filming in 2016, nobody on the team had met every other member in person.
Mark Demers was the initial seed for the team. Long before Battlebots returned to TV, his team created a very successful 340 pound machine named Ziggy. With the revival of the sport in major media, the spark ignited again and he wanted to get back into the game.
Mark started by pulling in a few teammates (David K, Jeff, Jerome, and Tim) he worked with on other projects and working on ways to design and fabricate a machine. He realized he might need some additional help so he pulled in Matt from Design 1st in Ottawa as well. Matt was just one of several new faces on the team.
Zac was added after having an impromptu lunch with Mark at the Battlebots filming in 2015. The two started talking about Ziggy and how Zac had created a thirty pound flywheel-powered 4-bar flipper modeled loosely after it. Months after the fateful lunch, Zac got a message asking if he wanted to help out on the project for Season 2.
Six Weeks to Lucky
Rob M joined the team a little later on after meeting Mark for dinner while he was in Boston on business. He pitched in with the rest of the team on designing a brand new, highly optimized, and compact machine through many late-night design sessions.
Once the design work was done, a build weekend was scheduled in San Jose, CA at Jerome’s shop for mid-March. Mark, Rob M, and Zac all flew out. Jeff drove in from an hour away and brought a friend with him named David S. David brought his young son as well. The whole group worked for several long days. Robert F stopped by on Sunday to see what was going on and was immediately enlisted to help. After the weekend was finished, the machine and spare parts all made their way to be stored with David S and he, Jeff and Robert continued to work on it late into the night for many nights..
While all the work was being done on the primary machine in California, Rob M was fabricating a lighter spare frame in Boston. He also made up several spare parts and packed the shipping crate with tools and equipment. The frame itself made its way to the show as a piece of checked baggage.
In one of the many conversations that took place to organize spare parts and additional modular attachments the team ended up discussing who was going to drive the machine at the show. After much debate, it was decided that Gary should be approached as a “hired gun”. He said he would do it after he won Robogames again, and brought Roland along with him.
The two stopped by Lucky’s current build space, which was now Jeff’s garage, to help organize and pack everything for the trip. They loaded the robot and all the parts up in the back of Robert F’s truck and he drove it down to LA for the filming. After getting caught up on some much needed sleep they flew down for the filming as well.
The rest, as they say, is history