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...