The incident took place last Friday at the Winstock Country Music Festival in Winston, Minn., and was partly captured in a five-second Facebook video that had a combined 4 million views between different sources as of this writing. Kaitlin Strom, 19, estimated she was stuck for about 45 minutes while onlookers called the Winsted Fire Department, which eventually cut off the exhaust pipe and freed her head.
“We were just having fun and I saw this big exhaust pipe and I was like, ‘Hey, my head could probably fit in that,’ so I tried it,” Strom told the Hutchinson Leader newspaper. “It did fit, but it didn’t want to come back out.”
Strom underwent a medical evaluation and was apparently given the all-clear, but she was cited for underage drinking by the McLeod County Sheriff’s Office. Admirably, she retained a sense of humor about the incident, posting a photo two days later of herself holding the now-detached exhaust pipe and giving a thumbs-up. That severed tailpipe, meanwhile, is now on display at the nearby Darwin Tavern — yes, fittingly, as in the Darwin Awards — as a marketing prop. “Stop on down for a cold beverage, great food and the Winstock tailpipe!” the bar writes.
For her part, Strom says she’s focusing less on the inevitable bile from online commenters and more on the positive comments and people who helped her through the ordeal, such as her boyfriend and mother.
“I would just say thank you to everyone who has supported me and been there throughout this,” she told the Leader. “Even (the people) with the mean comments — for teaching me who I don’t want to be like and how to be a strong and not care and be bothered by what people say.”