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