Friday, December 3, 2010

Pumpkin Chuckin' Roundup

Science Channel has the Pumpkin Hand

Here are some things in the world of pumpkin chuckin' that caught our eye.

The Science Channel scored a ratings home run, or an epic hurl if you prefer, with their Myth Busters hosted telecast of the World Championship Punkin Chunkin on Thanksgiving evening, Nov. 25th.
Punkin Chunkin Splatters Simulcast Ratings Record for Discovery Channel, Science Channel --
  • Special Delivers 4 Million Gross Average (P2+) Viewers
  • World Premiere Simulcast Gives Science Channel Highest Rating in Network History
Zap2it / TV by the Numbers:
Driven By 'Punkin Chunkin,' 'Cold Diggers,' and 'How It's Made' Science Channel Posts Best Month Ever in November
Add your own caption to this one from Punkin Chunkin.

Something about Pumpkin Chunkin' inspires musical creativity. Please send us an email or a tweet if you know where the Science Channel is hiding the mp3 for that catchy Punkin Chunkin tune they used as background music on their promotional video for the Punkin Chunkin show. It's the one minute video entitled "Punkin Chunkin 2010" here on this Science Channel link.
Best of Punkin Chunkin videos

Here's another musical take on pumpkin hurling by Doug James.
Ode to Chunkin -- song returns for anniversary -- Those who think three days of Punkin Chunkin isn't enough can be reminded of the event all year long by listening to the "Punkin Chunkin Song."

Originally recorded and released in 1992 by Doug James, the tune is back on the market in celebration of the event's 25th anniversary. The song may be purchased online, and a portion of all proceeds will go to charity...
 Sound Clip of a Doug James Punkin Chunkin song
The lyrics to yet another pumpkin ode.
25th Anniversary World Punkin Chunkin Championships -- ... the official Punkin Chunkin song (yes, there's a song, we're not making this up), written 1989 by William and Dawn Thompson, has become a traditional part of the event's daily opening ceremonies. It's pasted below for your viewing pleasure:
It was the end of October, the beginning of November.
The air was cold and clear and I said, Boys listen here,
I think I can make a punkin fly.
John said, Cannot. I said, Can too.
So we put that punkin in a bucket, swung around, away it flew.
John said, No fair. We said, Hell, it's in the air.
So the challenge was made and the gauntlet was laid
To build a machine to power a punkin through the air.
John said, Springs are the way to go. Bill said, I don't believe so.
It's Punkin Chunkin time again.
Come on, all you neighbors and friends.
I'll show you how to make a punkin fly ... rain, snow or blow.
Them punkins are gonna go!
A music video remix of Punkin Chunkin.

Plus, we also, of course, have our own VTPC Trebuchet Song. Not as polished as the above, but hey we're on a budget.
Tech. talk: A very interesting discussion about the use of a free falling counter-weight on your trebuchet. Has links to videos of interesting trebs.
Free Falling CW
Only 302 days until next year's pumpkin carnage at the Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival.

Death to All Pumpkins

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New England: Land of Innovative Pumpkin Hurlers

A nice wrap-up story about the strong showing by two New England teams at the World Championship Punkin Chunkin.

Members of the Launch-Ness Monster team pose with their pumpkin-tossing trebuchet at the World Championship Punkin Chunkin contest in Delaware

Nasuha Telegraph:
Area hurlers squash competition --
Two Nashua-area pumpkin hurlers didn’t break any records this month at the World Championship Punkin Chunkin contest. But they did steal the show, the teams said, as they returned from the 25th annual competition, held in Bridgeville, Del.

The American Chunker, an air cannon from Nashua, placed fourth in the competition’s air cannon division, reaching 3,535 feet in its second attempt. But the company drew more attention for its sleek design and corporate sponsorship from the Shipyard Brewery in Portsmouth...

And in the trebuchet division, the Launch-Ness Monster, built by a team from Merrimack, placed sixth after its best shot, of 1,618 feet, was disqualified due to a technical issue. But the 34-foot-tall, 11,000-pound machine garnered far more praise for its advanced, steel-framed design, said lead engineer Jay Goodell.

Goodell and his co-designer Michael Powers, both 27, incorporated several elements, including a rolling throwing arm and a curved weight track, that have never before been used in pumpkin chunking competition, they said...
Granite Greek:
Two 4th, one 5th-place finish for NH teams at Punkin Chunkin contest

Sunday, November 7, 2010

More from World Championship Punkin Chunkin


Items of interest about the World Championship Punkin Chunk that ended today down in Bridgeville, Delaware.
Thousands on hand for splats, misfires, 'pie' on Chunkin's last day

Unofficial Official 2010 results:
  • Adult Air Cannon -- Emancipator, 3,728.84 feet
  • Adult Female Air Cannon -- Hormone Blaster, 3,755.65 feet
  • Adult Centrifugal -- Bad to the Bone, 2,005.14 feet
  • Adult Catapult -- Chucky 2, 2,027.96 feet
  • Adult Trebuchet -- Pumpkin Hammer, 1,972.26 feet
  • Adult Human Powered -- Pumpkin Slayer, 1,635.69 feet
  • Adult Torsion Catapult -- Chucky III, 2,836.28 feet
  • Youth Air Cannon -- Snot Rocket, 3,086.56 feet
  • Youth Catapult -- Punkin Warrior III, 1,129.21 feet
  • Youth Human Powered -- Rockville, 781.65 feet
  • Youth Trebuchet -- Imperial Pride, 778.37 feet
  • Youth 10 and Under -- Punkin Seeds, 795.64 feet
Other Machines:
  • Big 10 Inch, Adult Air Cannon, 3584.20 feet, 2nd place
  • American Chunker Inc, Adult Air Cannon, 3535.27 feet, 4th place
  • Medieval Postal Service, Adult Trebuchet, 1309.40 feet, 6th place
  • Launch-ness Monster, Adult Trebuchet, 1265.86 feet, 7th place

note: The Launch-Ness Monster trebuchet from  Merrimack, New Hampshire is utilizing a curved track, at the 43 second mark of the video.
The Launch-Ness Monster Facebook page has more photos and stuff, also checkout their photo essay, Road to Punkin Chunkin:


Delaware Online:
2010 Photo Gallery

Steve Chupp secures the ammo for the United Flingdom III, 
a team that finished third last year in the Centrifugal Division.
Team Urban Siege (Medieval Postal Service trebuchet) updates on the 3rd day of the event:
WCPC 2010 - Day 3
The final day of the 2010 World Championships of Punkin Chunkin saw major winds kill the distances of many teams, but there were still some nice shots. In the trebuchet division, none of the top 3 machines from Day 2 shot any further, although First in Fright shot a solid 1815' into a stiff headwind. Tired Iron also shot less, so 1443' was his top shot. Shenangians recovered from a disasterous free fire shot Saturday morning that resulted in missing the day 2 shot and popped a 1391' shot into the wind, the machine is certainly capable of more. Hokie Hurler shot less again, so 850 was it's final top distance of 2010, they are not sure why it shot so much less this year.

Now for the movement section. We squeezed 100 more pounds of counterweight on for a total of 800 pounds (this was not a simple addition mind you, we had to carry the weight part way up the ladder, but for one shot it was fine). The shot blasted nicely through the wind for a whopping 1309', easily a personal best and netted us 6th place when Prawn shot in the 1000's. Launch-Ness Monster got disqualified for their sling getting thrown downrange, but the shot went over 1600 feet with around 2500 pounds of weight...
Chunkin marks 25 years -- Young participants don't rely on parents; youth division piques engineering interest ...

Wilmington-based Sanford School has fielded a team for the past 10 years. Each June, a group of students begins work on the school's trebuchet, which has been altered slightly each year since its creation in 2005.

Physics and mathematics teacher Jon Roberts said it's a great introduction to engineering for his students.

"We are there as guides, but they pretty much run it themselves," he said. "It's their baby."

Fellow teacher and head coach Andre Dagenais said participation in Punkin Chunkin has sparked an interest in engineering for many of his former students. The student who created the design for the current trebuchet is in his junior year at Rowan College in New Jersey.

"This gives these kids that have engineering talent an opportunity to be creative and learn what teamwork is all about," he said. "For us it's fun and it's a chance to teach kids a good lesson."

While many find the launch process of trebuchets more intriguing, they don't nearly achieve the same distance as the cannons. Young Glory III holds the current record for launching a pumpkin more than 4,483 feet...
WCPC was like Woodstock this year!

Nones Notes:
Projectile Pumpkins: The New Fall Pastime --
In fact, this year’s event was the 25th anniversary of a competition that began in its first competition with just four contestants. This year, nearly 100 contestants participated in numerous classes – air, centrifugal, catapult, trebuchet, torsion … and yes, human-powered as well.

When we arrived at the competition venue on Saturday morning – basically a large field in rural Sussex County – it became evident quite quickly that the torrential rains from Thursday had turned the viewing area into a sea of mud. As we were slogging our way up to the viewing area and very nearly coming out of our shoes as they sank into the mire, I couldn’t help but think of a work colleague’s story of surviving his own personal Woodstock Festival “soggy adventure” in 1969....
 Delaware Online:
Punkin Chunkers have a blast in Sussex -- Actually, as hard-core chunkers would tell you, pumpkins aren't vegetables -- they're fruit.

But no one would quibble with the flying part, least of all Joe Kane of Dewey Beach. He's been coming for years, since it was over in the Lewes area. One year, he and some friends competed in the human-powered category.

"We took two 2x4s and put them in the ground, 10 bungee cords, a bucket and rope," and created a slingshot of sorts, he explained. Their pumpkins went up in the air about 100 feet -- but only landed a few feet away.

"Not much distance," Kane chuckled. "But it was a lot of fun."...
WCPC has become like the Super Bowl for the Science Channel. They've brought out their "big guns".

Jamie Hyneman from MythBusters at the World Championship Punkin Chunkin

MythBusters' Adam Savage Covers the Action for Discovery Channel & Science Channel Fans

Photos via Science Channel on Twitter and at FaceBook
Everyone wants a piece of that delicious Punkin Chunkin funnel cake.

Jocelyn Wong's Blog:
bustin’ myths about pageants and punkins -- So you remember how excited I was about entering this year’s Punkin Chunkin Pageant? Well, the day came today. I’d be working the event for MSN TV to do a story on the Discovery Channel/Science Channel Thanksgiving Day broadcast of the 25th annual Punkin Chunkin World Championship.

I shopped for a cute outfit. I practiced my speech. I watched America’s Next Top Model and worked on my stage walk.

The pageant was at 12:30pm. They said to get there by 11:30am, 12noon at the latest. But “come early to avoid traffic.” Ominous....

 with Adam of the Mythbusters

 of course there is pumpkin funnel cake!
Twiterings about WCPC:

Jeff Del Papa with Mista Ballista torsion machine from Framingham, MA tweets about WCPC...
Twitter / @rjnerd
Chatted with Jamie at the chunk, they kept Adam too busy to talk...

another long day, but we got a pumpkin to leave the front of the machine, and land 803' away. 110' further than prev record...

Survived first day. Field a quagmire, sink in over the ankle, and the mud wants to keep your shoe. everything 2x the work...
Twitter / #punkinchunkin

Science Channel:
Punkin Chunkin Game / Lord of the Gourd

VTPC Final Score: 6088 = "Raw Recruit"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

World Championship Punkin Chunkin Roundup

World Championship Pumpkin Chunkin (WCPC) 2010

After two days of competition at the 25th Annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin (WCPC) 2010 in Delaware the trebuchet Pumpkin Hammer is leading in that category with a hurl of 1979 feet. 

Team Urban Siege from Rochester, New York, has been posting day-by-day accounts of the event. They are competing in the trebuchet class with a machine named Medieval Postal Service.

WCPC 2010 - Day 2 -- Posted 2010-11-6. Category: news
Another day gone at the 2010 World Championships of Punkin Chunkin. Some interesting results. The Day 1 leaders, Pumpkin Hammer, added counterweight and didn't change their sling, resulting in a late release netting them a much shorter shot than Friday's 1979. They have added more weight for Sunday, allegedly 2000 pounds total, and tweaked pin/sling. Time will tell if that gets them over the hump. American Chucker chucked their throwing arm 100 feet downrange and the pumpkin maybe 1300 or so, so they retain their day 1 shot as well which was just under 1800 feet. First in Fright added 300 pounds to his counterweight, tweaked his tuning, and blasted a TREMENDOUS 1920 shot, moving it into a close second place. Rumor has it that they are adding more weight tomorrow...
WCPC 2010 - Day 1
Testing Day
A Twitter report has American Chunker from New Hampshire in 2nd place after the first day (in the Air Cannon category):
Hey everyone, American Chunker is sitting in 2nd place after the first day of punkin! First shot was 3539', AMAZING!
Also, American Chunker posted this news item about the event:

According to the WCPCA President John Huber and another reliable source at Discovery the Mythbusters will be the 2010 Punkin Chunkin hosts! What a great match for the event. You can expect to see Jamie and Adam all weekend in Delaware - who knows you may even get to meet them. They will certainly boost the events fan base by a substantial margin. We can't wait to work with these guys, what an outstanding selection for this years hosts, the WCPCA has gone all out for the 25th anniversery!
Delaware On Line adds some more details regarding the Myth Busters hosting WCPC:

Boom goes the punkin  -- For the third year in a row, Discovery Networks will produce a special at this weekend’s event to be simulcasted Thanksgiving night on both the Discovery and Science channels with Savage and Hyneman serving as hosts. A one-hour “Road to Punkin Chunkin” documentary will air the night before, Nov. 24, on the Science Channel.

“Next to football games, turkey and pumpkin pie, Punkin Chunkin is a national Thanksgiving tradition,” Clark Bunting, Discovery Channel president and general manager said in a statement announcing this year’s programming, which will be filmed at the event site near Bridgeville at the Wheatley Farm.

It’s hard to underestimate the power of the Discovery Channel exposure for Delaware’s quirkiest event, which officially kicks off Friday at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. Sunday with the naming of this year’s champion. Before 2008, the event drew about 30,000 to 50,000 spectators. Last year’s record crowd of 80,000 is expected to be surpassed this year....
 Punkin Chunk sounds like it's becoming one big party.

Delaware Online:
Punkin' Chunkin' draws a roarin' crowd -- Mostly clear skies and crisp fall weather welcomed tens of thousands of people to the cornfields outside Bridgeville today for the second day of the event, which has grown from a handful of friends figuring out ways to toss pumpkins around to a national tourist-heavy event with cable TV coverage, corporate sponsorships, live entertainment galore, kids’ carnival rides and food vendors of all types.

It would also not be surprising to learn that the area has the highest short-term per capita rate of alcohol consumption in the United States, as countless visitors hauled in cases of beer, set up camping chairs and portable shelters, and settled in to party and watch slingshots, trebuchets and air cannons effortlessly toss pumpkins far across a farm field. Total attendance is expected to surpass last year's record of 80,000.

Erik Heilman of Washington, D.C., was in Ocean City, Md., for a bachelor party, and he and his buddies decided to spend the day at the chunk.

“It’s pretty cool – I’m impressed,” said Heilman. “It’s always fun to get a bunch of people in a big field with beer, and when you add flying vegetables – there’s no way that’s not going to be a party!”...
Here is a very interesting story about an innovative new steel trebuchet from New Hampshire named the Launch-Ness Monster that is competing in Delaware. They have used a new design feature: a curved track for the counter weight. How cool is that? We'll have to find some better pictures of their design.

Nashua Telegraph:
Team heads to Punkin Chunkin championship -- [Jay] Goodell and [Michael] Powers’ computer-aided methods may draw some heat in Delaware. There is something of a divide between the more traditional hobbyists who design their machines by hand and the younger engineers, many of whom use computer programs for their designs, Goodell and Powers said.

But the machine itself, which features a number of state-of-the-art advancements, will draw nothing but admiration from across the pumpkin chunkin community, the team members said. The two designed the machine to include a rolling arm and a curved weight track that have never before been used in pumpkin chunkin competition, they said.

The arm, designed to slide along a slanted base while it propels the pumpkin, is able to build momentum and transfer energy more quickly to the pumpkin without knocking it off, said Goodell, who designed his first trebuchet five years ago for the Milford Pumpkin Festival. And the curved track allows the counter weight to drop straight down then curve slowly to a stop rather than crashing to the ground, like other machines, he said.

“It’s been talked about, but I don’t think it’s ever been done,” Powers said. “No one’s taken it this far anyway.” ....

Work being done on the Launch-Ness Monster

WGMD 92.7 FM: Schedule of Events at WCPC 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

2nd Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival Results

Note from the organizer (Dave Jordan) regarding the festival and the results:

Thanks to all the competitors and their support teams and spectators and sponsors that made this a great event! We had triple the competitors and roughly triple the spectators from last year and great TV and newspaper exposure. Also a special thanks to the people who assisted me running the festival: Mark and Laurie Boyden (owners of the farm), John Prittie (Master of Ceremonies), Russell Baum (safety), John Duffy (safety), Bob Gross (spotter), Scott ? (the measurer), Mike Gladu (records), Bruce Wallace (buying the trophies), Wilbur's Dog, Lamoille Family Center volunteers and probably a bunch I've forgotten. Sorry if I missed anyone.

Hopefully everyone enjoyed the competition, music and especially seeing American Chunker's huge air cannon. I had a lot of comments regarding the complicated rules and am open to suggestions to simplify things. One suggestion was to have only 2 rounds, instead of 3. I am also open to any suggestions that would make the event better. With the help of the Cambridge Rotary and all our sponsors, we intend to make this an annual event, always on the 1st Sunday in October. So if you have any ideas, please email me or give me a call (802) 888-2910 and we will consider them. Also if I got any of the records wrong or got a name or team wrong, please contact me and I'll change it on this blog.

I personally like the categories, which in my mind give the little kids with limited resources an equal chance at winning the grand prize. I've modelled this tournament after the Soap Box Derby which I enjoyed competing in as a kid. They had strict weight limits and rules so each car/kid was competing on equal footing.

Each year my Soap Box Derby car got better and better; by watching the other competitors and seeing what works. This year's trebuchets were vastly superior to last year!

We gave out 14 awards: 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in 4 divisions, 1 overall best design and 1st place in the unlimited air cannon division. I've listed all the competitors with their best result and scaled results and any penalties.

First in the Unlimited Air Cannon Division; we only had 1 competitor, American Chunker and they made their mark with an incredible distance of 4375 feet (plus or minus roughly 400 feet). This is a personal best for American Chunker and may very well have actually beat the world record of over 4600 feet! We wish them all the luck in the World Championships coming up in November in Delaware.


Lightweight Division: height limit 41 inches, weight limit (of total trebuchet) 20 pounds, projectile = 3 ounce pumpkin.

Middleweight Division: height limit 70 inches, weight limit 100 pounds, projectile = 1 lb. pumpkin.

Heavyweight Division: height limit 10 feet, weight limit 500 pounds, projectile = 5 lb. pumpkin.

All lightweight trebuchets distances were scaled up by 2.9 to represent the distance they would throw if they were 10 feet tall. This division was limited to ages 10 and under.

All middleweight trebuchets were scaled up by 1.7 to represent the distance they would throw if they were 10 feet tall. The middleweight had 2 divisions; Junior (limited to ages 17 and under) and Open (all ages).

The Heavyweight division were not scaled, since they were limited to 10 feet. This division was open to all ages.

Penalties for exceeding height and weight limitations:

If any trebuchet was taller than allowed or heavier than allowed for their division they were penalized proportionally.

For example, Pumpkins' Bane was 144" tall (limit is 120") and 831 lbs (limit is 500). So they were penalized twice. Once by 120/144 (for height) and second by 500/831 (for weight) so their actual throw was 353 feet, their penalized throw was 353 * (120/144) * (500/831) = 176 feet.

Only 4 (of 18 total) trebuchets were penalized; all in the heavyweight division: Upchuck, Weapons of Medieval Destruction, The Griffin, and Pumpkins' Bane.
Second Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival (2010) Results

We had 18 official total competitors across 4 divisions. This is up from 2009 where we had 6 official competitors. There were 6 heavyweight, 4 middleweight Open, 5 Middleweight Junior and 3 Lightweights.
Award: Best Overall Design (farthest throw for their height)
Name: Troublemaker from Middleweight Open Division
Team: Wayne Powell (captain)
Best Throw: 135' 6"
Scaled distance: 230 feet

Award: Heavyweight Division, 1st place
Name: Pumpkins' Bane
Team: Chris McGrody (captain), Dug North, Dav
Best Throw: 353' 4"
Penalty: 176' scaled by (120/144) for height and (500/831) for weight
Scaled distance: 176 feet

Award: Heavyweight Division, 2nd place
Name: Weapons of Medieval Destruction
Team: Nick Helms (captain), Bruce Penfield, Barry , Mike , Nancy
Best Throw: 237' 6"
Penalty: 162 scaled by (120/176) for height
Scaled distance: 162 feet

Award: Heavyweight Division, 3rd place
Name: Leeroy
Team: Matt Bose (captain), Ryan Bushey, Nathan, Jazmyn, Jess, Noah
Best Throw: 158' 0"
Scaled distance: 158 feet

Heavyweight Division, 4th place
Name: The Thing (Champion from 2009)
Team: Dave Barrows (captain), Eric Griffin, Chris Fish
Best Throw: 133' 6"
Scaled distance: 133 feet

Heavyweight Division, 5th place
Name: Upchuck
Team: Jon Underwood (captain)
Best Throw: 150' 4"
Penalty: 129 scaled by (500/583) for weight
Scaled distance: 129 feet

Heavyweight Division, 6th place
Name: The Griffin
Team: Ryan Doyle
Best Throw: 134' 1"
Penalty: 119 scaled by (120/136) for height
Scaled distance: 119 feet

Award: Middleweight Open Division, 1st place
Name: Troublemaker
Team: Wayne Powell
Best Throw: 135' 6"
Scaled distance: 230 feet

Award: Middleweight Open Division, 2nd place
Name: Team Jordan
Team: Don Jordan (captain), Johnnie Jordan, Chris Jordan
Best Throw: 127' 0"
Scaled distance: 216 feet

Award: Middleweight Open Division, 3rd place
Name: Plattsburgh Golden Cardinal
Team: Tobey Betthauser
Best Throw: 97' 5"
Scaled distance: 165 feet

Middleweight Open Division, 4th place
Name: Pumpkin Crusher
Team: Aidan Miller-Buchanan family
Best Throw: 19' 5"
Scaled distance: 33 feet

Award: Middleweight Junior Division, 1st place
Name: Pumpkin Airline
Team: Bruce Wallace family
Best Throw: 122' 11"
Scaled distance: 209 feet

Award: Middleweight Junior Division, 2nd place
Name: Alfred
Team: Oakley Lisson (captain)
Best Throw: 113' 3"
Scaled distance: 192 feet

Award: Middleweight Junior Division, 3rd place
Name: Cambridge Boy Scout Troop 39
Team: Unknown
Best Throw: 69' 4"
Scaled distance: 118 feet

Middleweight Junior Division, 4th place
Name: Enterprise
Team: Phillip Raymond
Best Throw: 31' 8"
Scaled distance: 54 feet

Middleweight Junior Division, 5th place
Name: School Slinger
Team: John Szewczyk (captain)
Best Throw: 20' 0"
Scaled distance: 34 feet

Award: Lightweight Division, 1st place
Name: PVC
Team: Lindsay Wescom
Best Throw: 31' 5"
Scaled distance: 78 feet

Award: Lightweight Division, 2nd place
Name: Unnamed
Team: Sawyer Wescom
Best Throw: 24' 6"
Scaled distance: 71 feet

Award: Lightweight Division, 3rd place
Name: Cambridge Cub Scouts
Team: Tom Lepsic
Best Throw: 13' 5"
Scaled distance: 39 feet
Honorable mention: James Spanier, who was the hit of the 2009 Festival was working on a huge trebuchet with a whopping 1900 lb. counterweight. Same as last year, he didn't try to conform to any category and just wanted to build a huge trebuchet. Alas, his monster self-destructed days before the event and he had to leave it home.

Nonetheless, he brought a "Barbie" trebuchet, only 25 inches tall and threw 38 feet. When scaled up to 10 feet this would have thrown 182 feet and would have placed 5th in the overall best design category. We wish James all the best in his ultimate desire to build a huge trebuchet and compete at the World Championships in the trebuchet category. He estimates it will take him 5 or 6 years to complete and perfect his beast. The world record in the trebuchet category just went over 2000 feet last year, to Yankee Siege (recently retired) of New Hampshire.

Also honorable mention goes to Team Jordan, consisting of Don, Johnnie and Chris Jordan; the dad, mom and uncle of the event organizer Dave Jordan. They came the farthest to compete with Chris flying up from Fort Lauderdale to join team Jordan for the long drive from Palmyra, NY to see the spectacle. They got 2 conservative throws in to make sure they had something in the book, then went for broke on their 3rd and last try by propping the counterweight on its end to get double the potential energy. This didn't work and threw worse than before.

Undetered, they tweaked it a little and after the competition was officially over, threw a whopping 180 feet! When scaled up (306 feet), this would have won not only their Middleweight Open Division, but also the Overall Best Design. Hopefully they will come back next year and try again.

More VT Pumpkin Chuckin'

A very nice write-up and photo by the Burlington Free Press about VTPC.

Gail Callahan / Burlington Free Press:
Pumpkins fly in Cambridge fundraising event -- As a boy, Mark Boyden watched a pumpkin hurling contest on television and became intrigued with the idea. Sunday, Boyden and his wife, Lauri, got to live his childhood fantasy by hosting a pumpkin-chucking event that will financially help two Lamoille County organizations...

For the six members of the American Chunker team, the festival allowed them to record a personal best chucking record of 4,690 feet. Based in Nashua, N.H., American Chunker constructed a 125-foot tall trebuchet powered by an air compressor. The machine was off in a section of a field, separated from other participants...

[note: American Chunker is an air cannon, not a trebuchet]
Also, thank you American Chunker for visiting VTPC and showing off your fantastic technology.  Congratulations on your personal record chuck of 4,690 feet, and good luck in Delaware next month. The American Chunker team will be at the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest and Regatta in Maine this Friday and Saturday, October 8-9.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival News Roundup

It was a very enjoyable day of pumpkin chuckin'. Thank you everyone for coming.

We'll have the competition results posted tomorrow. But in the meantime here are a couple of news reports about the festival.

Gina Bullard / WCAX News:
A higher purpose for pumpkins -- Harvest season is in full swing in Vermont. While many families are picking up pumpkins to carve and roast seeds, some in Cambridge are putting them to higher use -- catapulting them...

Randy Gyllenhaal / WPTZ News (with video):
When Pumpkins Fly: Vermont Holds Competition -- It was like an ancient battlefield in Cambridge, Vt. on Sunday. Dozens of medieval catapults lined up to launch pumpkins across a field...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Down the home stretch to VTPC #2

There are now 4 days and some odd hours until the 2nd Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival at The Boyden Family Farm.

We hope for the competitors that all your work is going well and your trebuchets are taking their vitamins.

First, a reminder on the times for the VTPC festival. The gates to the festival will open at 11am for spectators. Admission to the festival will cost $5 for adults and $3 for ages 12 and under. Money raised goes to support the Lamoille Family Center and Cambridge Area Rotary.

Competitors may come early, before 11 am, and set up if they want to. Please give yourself adequate time to set up and get everything ready prior to the 1 pm start.

The first round of competitive trebuchet hurling will begin at 1 pm, the 2nd round at 2 pm, and the 3rd (final round) will be at 3 pm. The prizes will be awarded immediately following the 3rd round.

The American Chunker Air Cannon team from Merrimack, NH will be there early to set up. They report that they "should be up and operational by 10-11 am." So we expect they will do some shooting between 11 am and 1 pm. They posted these thoughts about their Vermont shoot:
Prepare yourself to be amazed at the latest and greatest in pumpkin smashing technology.

The music courtesy of Wilbur's Dog will begin about 12 noon.

A general reminder: the event is alcohol free and dogs are not allowed, Wilbur's Dog being the exception.

We will also be selling "official" Vermont Pumpkin Chunkin Festival t-shirts, for $15. We will have about 100 shirts.

Please stay tuned for any updates.

For more details please see the press release and the competition rules.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pumpkin Tossing

If you want a glimpse of last year's Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival, check out this very well done audio slide show by Joshua Lambert of the Burlington Free Press. You might even see yourself if you were there last year.

Joshua Lambert / Burlington Free Press:
Pumkpin Toss -- Pumpkins were sent flying by trebuchets at the Boyden Family Farm in Cambridge on Sunday, October 4, 2009. This multimedia project from the event was created by Free Press Photo Intern Joshua Lambert. Music in the project is from the band Hub Cats, performing during the event.

Burlington Free Press reports on the 1st Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting Medieval

Reminder: There are only 18 days until the 2nd Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival.

Here are some interesting views from the European Kampioenschap Pompoenschieten (Pumpkin Shooting Championship) held at Bikschote, Belgium on September 5th.

This is USA Team Carbo with their Onager. 

An Onager is a "Wild Asian Ass." It is also the name of a Roman siege engine, which derived its name from the kicking action of the machine, similar to that of an onager (wild ass). Team Carbo was the Delaware Punkin Chunkin World Champions in the Unlimited Torsion Class 2003, 2004, 2005. It took 4 weeks to get their machine shipped to Europe. Reportedly over 7000 spectators attended the Belgian event.

Results from the large torsion machine category:
  1. Team Bisschop met een schot van 726.4 meter (2383 feet)
  2. Team Carbo: 648 meter (2125 feet)
  3. Ypes: 625.3 meter
  4. L.G. Bikschote: 442.7 meter

Belgian Video News Report: kampioenschap-pompoenschieten Pompoenschieten Bikschote photos
Team Carbo/Onager Online
Spudfiles / EuroForum: Chunkin Europe!
Paul Carbo of USA Team Carbo at the Kampioenschap pompoenschieten, Bikschote, Belgium

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Press Release for Second Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival

Second Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival hurls off at The Boyden Family Farm on Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

CAMBRIDGE, Vermont, Sept. 8th — With a love for all things pumpkin, the Boyden Family Farm in Cambridge, VT and the Cambridge Area Rotary are hosting the state of Vermont's second annual official Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival to raise money for the Lamoille Family Center and Cambridge Rotary.

The first festival was a huge success with 10 teams competing and over 300 spectators enjoying the competition, music and picnic atmosphere. This year will have many more competitors and feature an air-cannon exhibition which was built by a team from New Hampshire that call themselves American Chunker. They plan to beat the world record (just 600 feet shy of a mile) at the world championship pumpkin chunkin contest in Delaware! They will also demonstrate the ability to fire a 10 round burst automatically (world's first).

Local inventor, J. J. Spanier (hit of the last year's festival) will also be back with an even bigger trebuchet, also an exhibition. Both these contraptions are not competing against the trebuchets which have 3 strict categories for height and weight. The "Thing" from a team in Morrisville will also be back to defend their title. They won last year with a toss of 135 feet. A Trebuchet is a huge, gravity-powered catapult that was employed in the Middle Ages as a siege engine to either to smash castle walls or to throw projectiles over them. These days they are built to hurl pumpkins for distance.

The world championship pumpkin-throwing contest is held the first weekend after Halloween in Sussex County, Delaware. Vermont's Pumpkin Chuckin Festival is an annual event, held on the first Sunday in October.

Dave Jordan, creator (and competitor) of the festival says, "This is a fun competition modeled after the Soap Box Derby. The height and weight are limited to make it fair for teams with limited resources. The team that throws a pumpkin the farthest FOR THEIR HEIGHT and will win best design prize and receive first pick of the prizes".

The festival will have four categories of competition, which also compete directly against each other:

· Lightweight Division: Open only to ages 10 and below
Max. total weight of trebuchet is 20 lbs.
Max. height is 41 inches
projectile = 3 ounces tomato

· Middleweight Junior Division: Open only to ages 17 and below:
Max. total weight of trebuchet is 100 lbs.
Max. height is 70 inches
projectile = 1 pound pumpkin

· Middleweight Open Division: Open to all ages
Max. total weight of trebuchet is 100 lbs.
Max. height is 70 inches
projectile = 1 pound pumpkin

· Heavyweight Division: Open to all ages
Max. total weight of trebuchet is 500 lbs.
Max. height is 10 feet
projectile = 5 pound pumpkin

Exciting prizes for the winners have been donated by some of the Festival sponsors. Prizes include:
To create the proper atmosphere for a day of pumpkin hurling, Burlington's progressive rock band Wilbur's Dog will be performing from noon to dusk.

Other family activities at the VT Pumpkin Chuckin' festival will include:
  • Volleyball
  • Croquet
  • Food provided by Boyden Farm (get a famous Boyden Beef Burger)
  • Corn maze: $4 for adults, $2 for ages 12 and under
Admission to the festival will cost $5 for adults and $3 for ages 12 and under. The festival goes from from 11am to dark, featuring 3 competitive firings at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm with awards shortly after. No dogs and no alcohol please. Parking is free.

For more information about the First Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival, guests can visit the or call the festival organizer Dave Jordan at (802) 888-2910. Or contact Dave, via email at:

SOURCE: Dave Jordan

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The American Chunker Backstory

A very nice write-up and video about the American Chunker team in Sunday's Nashua Telegraph.

Nashua Telegraph:
Nashua native aims to build best pumpkin cannon -- Lots of people dream of building fancy do-it-yourself projects, but they don’t generally weigh 10,000 pounds, cost close to $100,000 or require friends to fly overhead to keep track of your progress.

“I am pretty obsessed with this,” admitted Brian Labrie, whose dream to build a machine that can shoot pumpkins more than a mile has also consumed four friends and the occasional family member, not to mention the Science Channel, which sent a film crew to Brookline recently to record some bits of telegenic destruction.

It started last year when Labrie, a Nashua native and 1992 Bishop Guertin graduate, saw a TV show about the national Punkin Chunkin contest. That Delaware event started 25 years ago as a gathering of folks who built catapults to toss pumpkins a few hundred feet, and is now a weekend-long extravaganza that attracts global media attention with a half-dozen categories of pumpkin-hurtling devices – including what might be considered the heavyweight division, air cannons. These massive machines, powered by huge tanks of compressed air, can fire pumpkins 4,000 feet or more...

Reminder: There are 28 days until the 2nd Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival. There you will have a chance to see American Chunker up close.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Countdown: 38 Days 'till 2nd VTPC Festival

Pumpkin light, Pumpkin bright, soon the Pumpkins will take flight.

October 3rd will soon be here.

Time for everyone to start getting their brain cells focused on the important things in life. Like seeing how far you can hurl a pumpkin.

We know that American Chunker has been hard at work. Their latest video is a tour de force.

American Chunker Team Captain Brian Labrie said, "Collectively we all have a ton of time invested in this project - what started out as a part time winter project has now escalated into a full blown obsession for speed and distance."

Some Trebuchet Inspiration:

Golf ball trebuchet shoots 450 ft

FAW (Floating Axle Whipper) Trebuchet

Mad Splatter - The making of a trebuchet

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Holy Smokes

The American Chunker Air Cannon team has reported that their machine will have an automatic firing capability. That is amazing.

American Chunker:
THE FIRST EVER FULLY AUTOMATIC CHUNKER -- Coming soon..........Team American Chunker goes "Fully Automatic" Well ...close (15 round burst capable). The crew will soon unleash an absolutely unbelievable show of power. Shock and Awe would be considered an understatement! Stay tuned as this innovative group paves the way for the future of high powered air cannons. The US service rifle commonly know as the M-4 or M-16 shoots a 3 round burst, wait till you see this soon to be World Famous air cannon demonstrate what a 15 round burst looks like on an unsuspecting junk car! This is the first cannon to ever attempt this successfully. One of many firsts I suspect.

There are now only 74 Days, or 10 weeks and 4 days, until you get to see this amazing machine at the Second Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival, on October 3, 2010.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Radio Interview: Talking & Singing about Trebuchets - The 2nd Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival

Dave Jordan was interviewed by Roland of WLVB, 93.9 FM, Morrisville, Vermont on Thursday May 27th. They talked about the upcoming 2nd annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival and the brand new Trebuchet Song was also played. The interview and the song was recorded for your listening pleasure:

Reminder: It's time to get those pumpkin seeds planted and the Trebuchet plans organized. There are now only 73 days until VTPC.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Countdown: 160 Days 'till 2nd VTPC Festival

Today there are 73 days, remaining until our 2nd Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival, which will be held on October 3rd, 2010.

The pumpkin chuckin' contest will be for trebuchets (4 categories) and one unlimited air cannon category.

Here is a brief round-up of some hurling news.

The American Chunker, New Hampshire's unlimited air cannon team, is in the process of putting the finishing touches on their monster. Some secret video of the beast in action has also been "leaked."

Can't wait to see this big bad beast up close and in action at our VTPC Festival.
Some inspiration from the Catapult Message Board. DakarNick shows off his small Floating Arm Trebuchet (FAT) on YouTube:
From Twitter we learn they're having a "Treb Day" in Lansing, Michigan on Saturday, May 8th.
MSU Engineering students team up with Lansing area 7th-12th graders that will be invloved in an 8 week workshop to learn the history, math, physics, and engineering of the Trebuchet. We will then have them team up to build 5, 8 ft Trebuchets that will be shot at targets at The Marshall St. Armory on May 8th.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ginormous American Chunker will be coming to 2nd VTPC Festival

Great news! We have a huge (over 100 foot) air cannon signed up for this year's event on Oct 3rd, 2010! A team from New Hampshire (website: is looking for some practice events before entering the world championships in Delaware in Nov. 2010. Their goal is to not only win the competition, but to crack the 1 mile mark, the holy grail of pumpkin chunkin!

We are delighted to have a "big boy" at our event and have created a separate category (Unlimited air cannon) so the trebuchets will not compete against the air cannons. The rules will be exactly the same at the world championships's. I believe they require a 8 to 10 pound pumpkin, with no wadding allowed.

An innovative group of southern NH folks have designed and built this massive pumpkin launching device intended to shoot pumpkins over 1 mile. This crew knows pumpkins and they know how to make them sail. The huge air cannon has a barrel that is well over triple digits in feet and has a tank that hold hundreds of gallons of compressed air. The group has plans on traveling up and down the eastern seaboard this fall showing off their new state of the art air cannon. The cannon has multiple features never seen on any competition air cannon. Team Captain Brian Labrie says "This cannon is built for speed and comfort". Labrie a local NH business owner and cannon enthusist also stated "we will travel this fall and play around at some local events but when we get to Delaware it's showtime...we are there for one reason and that is to break the mile mark". Stay tuned as the April 1st unveiling draws near...
A little math, a little science, the right ammo, and a very big truck...

American Chunker