Alive & Unedited: Blue Jackets cannon sentry Pete Quint
During the Civil War, Columbus was a major manufacturer of uniforms for the Union army. That's where the Blue Jackets got their name. That's also why a large cannon fires during home games. Pete Quint, the sentry who mans the artillery at Nationwide Arena, spoke more about the oddest job in town.
Name: Pete Quint
Day job: Coordinator, Nationwide Children's Hospital
Alma mater: Ohio State University
The way I got my job is that I got real lucky. I literally knew somebody who knew somebody. They hired me to be the Blue Jackets bugler and cannon sentry. We tried the bugling thing for a couple games. It just didn't quite fit.
On the day they hired me, they gave me a full sheet of factoids about this particular cannon. It's a replica, a showpiece, of an 1857 Napoleon cannon. The United States eventually copied and commissioned them right before the Civil War. This was the deadliest weapon of its day.
Basically, the cannon fire is a light show. In the barrel are small cylinders full of flash powder, just like magicians use. That's where you get that fire and smoke effect. Up in rafters, we have a charge that's detonated at the same time. It's a real detonation. A lot of people think it's piped in through the speakers.
Being the cannon sentry is amazing. I don't think there's any job like this in the United States, maybe the world.
At Ohio State, I was in the marching band. That was something else. My senior bowl game was the Rose Bowl in 1997 - an amazing way to cap off a frustrating, Citrus Bowl-laden band career. The 1993 Holiday Bowl was the most fun we had. The Rose Bowl meant the most, by far.
Words don't describe marching onto the Ohio Stadium field. Think of the euphoria people felt when Cie Grant tackled Ken Dorsey on the goal line of the national championship game, that explosion of excitement and thrills. That's as close as anyone will ever come who doesn't actually march down that ramp and listen to 110,000 people screaming their crazy fool heads off.
One thing I'm really good at is meeting people and making a good friend. How could you not be likable with this face? [Laughs]
When I'm not behind the cannon, I play in a little jazz band a couple times a month. We're called the Boki Quartet. There's actually six of us in the group. I call us the Douglas Adams quartet. A few people get that one.
My favorite thing about Columbus is that there's a lot to do. You might have to look for it a little closer, but there's a lot to do. It's fairly easy to get around town. It's pretty affordable. Columbus is just fast enough.
My wife, Jodi, and I have been married for six years. We even each other out. I bring her up, and she smoothes me out. She's like my ADD drugs, my lithium, whatever you want to call it.
If we weren't living in Columbus, we'd be in Summit County, Colorado. I would totally be a ski bum. I'd work in a ski shop during the day, in a bar at night. I'd hit the slopes in between, before, after, nights, weekends, Sunday mornings.
The best advice I've ever received is if someone wants to help you, let them. Not enough people do that. People are too proud.