Off the Clock - ROTC Cannon Tradition Blasts Echo in Memorial Stadium

Oct 28, 2016

EJ Gelvin, the officer in charge of the Mizzou-ka, helps another ROTC Cannon Crew member prepare the cannon before a Missouri football home game on Saturday, October 21. Other members of the crew await for play to begin.
Credit Garrett Giles

The ROTC Cannon, better known as the “Mizzou-ka,” made another appearance at Memorial Stadium at the University of Missouri last Saturday as the Tigers hosted Middle Tennessee State for the university’s 105th homecoming.

Today, the cannon sits in the northeast corner of Farout Field, waiting to be fired off when the Tigers score. One thing has changed for the Mizzou-ka though: It’s louder than it has been for a while.

Today, the cannon sits in the northeast corner of Farout Field, waiting to be fired off when the Tigers score. One thing has changed for the Mizzou-ka though: It’s louder than it has been for a while.

“A couple years ago we didn’t have the money for the rounds, so we were using the 10-gauge ones, and every single game we heard it from the fans, like ‘Why aren’t your rounds loud anymore? What happened to the big rounds?’” EJ Gelvin, the officer in charge of the cannon said. “So, finally last year we went back to the 75 and are able to purchase the 75-millimeter rounds.”

The Mizzou-ka is a pack howitzer cannon. It’s one of a few that have been shot off during Missouri football games since 1954. Cannons like it would be broken down and carried on mules during World War I.

Army Cadet Jacob Wellner is a new member of the crew. He helped clean the cannon a couple of hours before kick-off. Wellner said he learned about all of the cannon parts during his training and that there is a big difference in the powder that is used in the new shells.

“The 10-gauge shell is actually just a shotgun shell. You can buy it at any sporting store and the 75-gauge shell is actually, I think, a half load of a real shot so obviously it’s going to be a lot louder than a shotgun,” he said.

During last weekend’s game, the cannon was fired seven times. The 75-millimeter rounds echoed through the stadium of 52,351 fans.

“It rattles your whole body. And it rattles everyone in the stands. Even they’ll tell you it rattles them,” Gelvin said.

The Tigers look for their first Southeastern Conference win of the season as they play the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday, October 28 at home. The cannon will also make another appearance then.