Manitoba has been plunged into the deep freeze this past week and Belmont resident, Wyatt Van Damme, knows all too well the frustration of frozen brake lines on semi-trucks and trailers.

"Growing up on the farm with a couple of semi-trucks, I remember dad and I fighting with frozen lines, and I wish I would have thought of this 20 years ago," shares Van Damme.

 And so, he manufactured a simple but effective apparatus to force methyl hydrate into the brake lines using his newest invention, The Methhead.

Van Damme owns Triple Pass Welding and so designing and building his invention took some strategy but really, he used the skills that were already in his wheelhouse.

He entered the Methhead into this week's Ag Days Innovation Showcase and claimed top prize in the 'Farm Built Solutions' category, and that's the beauty of the Innovation Showcase; the new inventions don't necessarily have to be complicated to be recognized as a great idea!  

"We had this problem growing up when we had semis and the idea came to me one evening and I thought to myself, 'Okay, I'll build this!'"

He says it's a very simple unit, being a short length of pipe with 2 air lines for a tractor trailer unit attached to a cannister. 

"It's fairly simple. You pour the methyl hydrate into the top of the cannister, connect your air line from your tractor unit to the top glad hand," he explains. One line goes to your trailer and once you hit your brakes the air forces the methyl hydrate down into the line and into your trailer system to prevent your trailer brakes from freezing in the wintertime."

"It's a whole lot easier than trying to pour methyl hydrate in and then you spill most of it," he adds. "It's also a very cost-effective way of not having to mess around with frozen lines when it's 30 below!"

Van Damme smiles at the name, Methhead,  "You're using methyl hydrate and so I had to name it something. I though the Methhead would catch people's attention. The name does really catch people's attention!"

"I'm working on another invention that will be back here next year for the next show," he adds.  

Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing what Wyatt has up his sleeves for the 2025 Ag Days Innovation Showcase!  Amongst the many reasons to attend next year's show, here is just one more!