Thursday, September 3, 2009

Motivation for the VT Pumpkin Chuckin' Contest

Founders on for trebuchet contest: I saw a trebuchet off exit 9 on I-89 at Middlesex Farm. I asked them about it and they said they planned to have a little fun at the end of the season and a local store saw them and wanted to build their own trebuchet to compete. I started thinking wouldn't it be fun to make my own trebuchet and compete as well. Then I thought it would be more fun to have a big contest with all different sizes of machines.

The trebuchet is a very simple, elegant device. It is just a lopsided teeter-totter with a fat kid (I'm not fat, I'm big boned!) on the short end and a pumpkin on the long end. The fat kid sits down and the pumpkin goes flying. Despite being a simple device, it is far from simple to perfect. There are at least 5 critical items that can be tweaked and many designs to be tried.

My hope is that good sportsmanship will be what this competition is all about. It isn't about who has the best trebuchet; it is about the beauty of the hurl itself, and the ability of design to let us surpass our physical limitations and make that pumpkin fly.

To throw is great, to hurl divine.

That would make a great t-shirt.