Sunday, September 30, 2012

Countdown to Hurl-time

There are now only six day until the 4th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival.

Other Activities at Pumpkin Chuckin' --

The Lamoille Family Center of Morrisville will be running numerous activities for children at the Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival including – face painting, bean bag toss, ring toss, noodle necklaces, corn pool, costume characters, and more. 
Our Annual Safety Message:

We once again want to remind all our competitors that safety must be a critical part of all your procedures for firing your trebuchet.

Hoisting your counterweight and arming your trebuchet is just as dangerous as the actual firing. For example, checkout the following video show the aftermath of a very severe accident that occurred during the filming of the reality TV show Little People, Big World.

The episode was entitled, "Trebuchet Trouble" and it had the following incident:
Jacob Roloff, 9, and Michael Detjen, 58, were injured when a 25-foot-high wooden trebuchet at Roloff Farms fired prematurely. The machine's 2,000-pound concrete counterweight dented Jacob's skull, requiring surgery, and repeatedly slammed into Detjen, a retired Beaverton engineer who needed 200-plus stitches.

 Wikipedia adds this account of the accident:
Jacob Roloff and family friend Mike Detjen, were seriously injured in an accident on the family farm on Saturday, October 28, 2006 (episode aired April 9, 2007). They were injured when the family's trebuchet (which they use to launch pumpkins as part of the pumpkin season promotion) prematurely triggered. Jacob was rushed to nearby St. Vincent Hospital and underwent surgery to relieve swelling in his head caused by a small piece of skull pushed into his brain. Jacob and Mike recovered from the injuries and were released on Monday, October 30, 2006.

Although a TLC camera crew were at the farm recording footage, they were not in the area where the accident occurred. The accident, therefore, was not recorded. Prior to the airing of two new episodes on November 4, TLC aired a brief segment with Matt and Amy acknowledging the accident and thanking everyone for their support. Jacob was shown with what appeared to be an injury around his right eye.

Footage taken shortly after the accident occurred on the farm was shown December 16 in the final minutes of the season finale, "Farm Overload." A crowd had gathered around Jacob, who was lying on the ground near the trebuchet. The first two episodes of season 3 focus on the accident, and how the local media reacted to it.
Fortunately everyone survived this accident. But, the moral is that trebuchets are dangerous and fragile weapons. They are war machines. Happily, VTPC does not allow 2000-pound concrete counterweights, but any of of the machines in our three weight categories (20, 100, and 500 lb) can still put a big dent in your skull if they malfunction.  If you need more reasons to pay attention to safety, go back and checkout one of our old videos of Dave J's trebuchet having a massive failure before last year's VTPC.

Be safe out there all hurlers.
To be safe and stay injury free,
There's a way your trebuchet must be,
Well set-up and inspected,
With no hazard neglected,
Do-it-right, that's your best guarantee. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Reminders: A Fortnight to Go, and BYOP

Only two weeks now until the Great Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival on Sunday, October 7th.

A reminder:  BYOP = Bring Your Own Pumpkins

Competitors are please reminded to bring their own pumpkins for the competition. They should be pre-weighed to make sure they are at least 3 ounces for the lightweight, at least 1 pound for the middleweight, and at least 5 pounds for the heavyweight. Bring at least 3 to throw and more to practice. Dave J. will provide a dummy ball (or two ) just in case people can't find or don't bring pumpkins.
Same price as last year...

It's been decided to keep the cost for the VTPC festival the same as last year.

Admission to the festival will cost $5 for anybody 4 years old or older (spectator or competitor), free for 3 and under, $20 (max) for an immediate family. The festival goes from 11 am to dark, featuring three rounds of competitive pumpkin chuckin' starting at 12 noon after the National Anthem is sung by Miss Vermont, Chelsea Ingram.

The 2nd round of firing is at 1pm, 3rd round at 2pm with awards shortly after the last round. No dogs and no alcohol please. Parking is free. Food will be provided by the Rotary.

It's a fantastic bargain. So, come on down to the Boyden Family Farm and support your Cambridge Area Rotary Club!
BFF = Boyden Family Farm
 BFF = Boyden Family Farm / Pumpkin Chuckin' Heaven
patio at Boyden Family Farm

In addition to being a great location for your next event, Boyden Farm is a real, working family farm, and has been for the Boyden family for almost 100 years!

Check out Facebook: The Barn at Boyden Farm
Some final words of wisdom from The 10 Commandments of Trebuchet Hurling, or the Pumpkin Chuckin' Code of Conduct:

BYOP = Bring Your Own Pumkins
Thou Shalt Not Hide Thy Neighbor's Counterweights
via Craig Simmons

Friday, September 14, 2012

Countdown to 4th VT Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival

There are only 22 days until the 4th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival on Sunday, October 7th, at the Boyden Family Farm in Cambridge, VT.  A few notes:

Here is the press release for this year's festival.

Travel New England has included the VTPC Festival on its list of Vermont 2012 Fall Festivals, Harvest Festivals, Apple Festivals and More.

Miss Vermont, Chelsea Ingram, who will be singing the National Anthem at our festival on Oct. 7th, reports on her various activities around Vermont on her facebook page.

Chelsea Ingram, Miss Vermont 2012, will sing anthem at VT Pumpkin Chuckin'
Delaware has put their Punkin Chunkin event on their "Delaware Bucket List." If you are a Vermonter it is your Green Mountain duty to put, going to the Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival, on yours.

Put Pumpkin hurling on your bucket list!
Pumpkin People
Pumpkin People are always de-vine
New Trebuchet World Record, and a New Holy Grail...

Pompoenschieten Bikschote - European Pumpkin Catapulting Contest

Big News from the European Pumpkin Catapulting Contest:
September 3, 2012 -- SiegeMasters is proud to announce the establishment of a new World Record for a Gravity powered Trebuchet with a 10-Lb pumpkin.

Dateline Sunday, September 02, 2012
Bikschote, West Flanders, Belgium

Today, the giant Whipper type Trebuchet known as Excalibur threw a 10-Lb pumpkin for a distance of 763.3 meters (2,504.33 feet), which exceeds last years WCPC Adult Trebuchet winner by 177.66 feet.

The World Championship of Punkin Chunkin is held in Delaware, USA the first weekend in November and will determine if this new record will stand.

Until then, Our most hearty congratulations.
The final world record distance was amended slightly to 2504.26509 feet. This is 177.665 feet better than the US/World Championship Punkin Chunkin, WCPC record of 2,326.60 feet set in 2011, by the Yankee Siege II team in the Adult Trebuchet Class.

Yankee Siege 2 at 2011 WCPC
Yankee Siege 2, November 10, 2011

via Craig Simmons, who has a great collection of trebuchet photos.
Here is a slow motion test firing of Excalibur (the new record holder) from 2010:

If you are interested in serious trebuchet engineering checkout Craig Simmons full facebook page. He builds traditional, modern and experimental trebuchets in his spare time.

Trebuchet Workshop
Emperor Twang - Whipper trebuchet by Craig Simmons
Finally, here is a great pumpkin hurling contest for kids out on Long Island, New York. The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County Pumpkin Fling:

These kids are building some serious trebuchets. This year's Pumpkin Fling will be held on Saturday, October 27th, 2012, at the Suffolk County Farm in Yaphank, NY.