Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy Holidays

Kay Smith / Ordnance Society / Twitter:
A wonderful image of the #Middelaldercentret #trebuchet in the snow - a masterpiece of old and new technologies.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Groupon looking at the trebuchet option:

CNET: Groupon's brilliant response to Amazon's drones

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Defender reports: Pumpkin Chuckin' Carnage

Cara Chapman and Juliana Summers from St. Michael's College put together an awesome 3 minute video that looks at the 5th annual VTPC Festival held at Snowflake.

Cara Chapman and Juliana Summers / The Defender, St. Michael's College:
Pumpkin Chuckin’ --
Scores of pumpkins died that day. Carcasses of orange mush littered the lush green field. Weapons of medieval mass destruction stood like soldiers readying for battle. Their engineers cared for only one thing: how far could they make these autumn gourds fly...

Friday, October 4, 2013

Official Results & Report - 5th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival

Quadcopter photo of Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival
Quadcopter photo of VT Pumpkin Chuckin' Trebuchet firing line
This past Sunday, September 29th, over 1500 paid attendees turned out to watch pumpkins being thrown more than 500 feet using state-of-the-art versions of the medieval “trebuchet” siege engine. The weather was warm and sunny for the fifth annual VT Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival, which was held, for the first time, on the grounds of the Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa in Stowe. The event raised over $9,000 for the Lamoille Family Center in Morrisville VT.

Food and beverage was served to the festive crowd, while House of Dunn served up tasty live music throughout the event. For the kids, there was a “bounce house”, mini-Olympics, face-painting, pumpkin carving and pumpkin bowling. And in spite of warm weather, the Chili Cook-off was popular enough to run out of chili by 3pm.

19 teams (10 youth and 9 adult, from five states) set up small, medium, and large trebuchets in 4 divisions: Lightweight (for chuckers 10 and under), Middleweight Junior (17 and under), Middleweight Open, and Heavyweight. Each competitor had 3 opportunities to fling their proportionately-sized pumpkin (or tomato for Lightweight), while tweaking various settings on their machines to optimize the throw.

The crowd was thrilled to watch records being shattered in all divisions (as they were last year, as well). The longest throw was a 5 pound pumpkin, which flew 521 ft , after being chucked by Chris McGrody's (from NH) trebuchet, “Hammer of the Gourds”, in the Heavyweight division. However it was a Middleweight trebuchet, “Angry Pumpkins” from CT, that took the overall Best Design prize (after mathematical compensation for the weight and size differences), with a 349 ft. chuck of a one pound pumpkin. If Angry Pumpkins were scaled up to Heavyweight size, it would throw a 5 pound pumpkin a whopping 598 ft; almost two football fields!

The event organizer, Dave Jordan, is looking forward to an even more successful event next Fall, and the Stoweflake Resort has already offered their facility for next season. Dave would like to thank the many volunteers who contributed their time and equipment, the Lamoille Family Center and specifically the event sponsors: Stoweflake Resort, Stowe UPS store, Aubuchon Hardware, PP +D Brochure Distribution, Boyden Farm, Button Land Surveyors, Umiak Outfitters, Trattoria LaFesta, Bee's Knees, Stowe Soaring, and Innsbruck Inn.

Grand Prize results:

All trebuchets compete in their own division and the top three in each division get a trophy. The winner of each division gets a prize and a chance at the Grand Prize. The four winners are mathematically scaled-up to “Heavyweight size” to see which trebuchet threw the farthest for their size.

For the second year in a row, the Grand Prize was won by Dwight Snowberger from CT, whose floating arm trebuchet, “Angry Pumpkins”, improved by over 80 feet from last year to narrowly beat Team Jordan (Don Jordan from NY and his brother Chris Jordan from FL) with their King Arthur design trebuchet. The Jordan brothers also improved by about 80 feet from last year, and like last year, still got nipped by Snowberger.

Official Division results:

Lightweight Division (20 pounds max, 41” max, 3 ounce tomato, age 10 and under)
  1. Kinetic Pumpkins, Captain Alex Jaddus from VT, threw 80.3 ft.
  2. Tomato Crushers, Captain Nathan McGrody from NH, threw 76.5 ft.
  3. Dante's Little Spark, Captain Kenneth Damon from MA, threw 55.2 ft.
  4. Tomato Flinger, Captain Zeke Churchill from VT, threw 35.5 ft.
  5. Tomato Spitter, Captain Isaac Churchill from VT, threw 22.3 ft.
Middleweight Junior Division (100 pounds max, 70” max, 1 lb. Pumpkin, age 17 and under)
  1. Dante's Flame, Captain Ryan Brown from MA, threw 137 ft.
  2. Learning Together, Captain Lyndsay Gilcris from VT, threw 126.3 ft.
  3. Born to Fly, Captain Olivia Doty from VT, threw 64.2 ft.
  4. Life of Pumpkin Pie, Captain Connor Decker from VT, threw 54 ft.
  5. Evans Brothers, Captain Patrick Evans from VT, threw 34.9 ft.
Middleweight Open Division (100 pounds max, 70” max, 1 lb. Pumpkin, open to all ages)
  1. Angry Pumpkins, Captain Dwight Snowberger from CT, threw 349 ft.
  2. Team Jordan, Captain Don Jordan from NY, threw 331 ft.
  3. Queen Christine I, Captain Ray Chamberlain from VT, threw 310 ft.
  4. Pumpkin Launchinator, Captain Scott Fenton from VT, threw 206.5 ft.
  5. SUNY Plattsburgh Engineering, Captain Liam Harrison from NY, threw 185.5 ft.
  6. SUNY Plattsburgh Physics, Captain Dan Stowe from NY, threw 107 ft.
Heavyweight Division ( 500 pounds max, 120” max, 5 lb. Pumpkin, open to all ages)
  1. Hammer of the Gourds, Captain Chris McGrody from NH, threw 521 ft.
  2. Weapons of Medieval Destructions, Captain Nick Helms from VT, threw 397 ft.
  3. Dante's Inferno II, Captain Tim Brown from MA, threw 200 ft.
Grand Prize awarded to trebuchet with Best Design
  • Angry Pumpkins, Captain Dwight Snowberger from Connecticut, threw scaled-up distance of 598 ft.
More Quadcopter pics over at our Facebook.

stitched quadcopter photo of VTPC Festival

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

2013 VTPC Festival Pictures

We posted some nice pictures that Kim Brown, team Dante's Inferno, took at the 2013 festival to our Facebook albums, thank you Kim.

Dante's Inferno, Dante's Flame, and Dante's Lil Spark (l-r)

Monday, September 30, 2013

5th Annual Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival Results

Trebuchet line at #PumpkinChuckin via Stoweflake twitter
Thank you everyone for a great day of pumpkin chuckin' at Stoweflake. And thank you to all of our sponsors and supporters.

Here are the results, which will be updated later with the distances, etc.

2013 Results:

Lightweight Division
  1. Kinetic Pumpkins
  2. Tomato Crushers
  3. Dante's little Spark 
Middleweight Junior Division
  1. Dante's Flame
  2. Learning Together
  3. Born to Fly
Middleweight Open Division
  1. Angry Pumpkins
  2. Team Jordan
  3. QC1
Heavyweight Division
  1. Hammer of the Gourds
  2. Weapons of Medieval Destruction
  3. Dante's Inferno Grand Champion,
Best Design (threw farthest for their height): Angry Pumpkins (repeat winner from last year)

Chili Cook-off Competition:
  1. Deb Papineau (from Deb's Place in Morrisville, VT)
  2. Black Diamond BBQ
  3. Gringo's Revenge (Stowe Barber Shop)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pumpkin Chuckin' Eve

It's Pumpkin Chuckin' Eve, pumpkins prepare to meet your maker in the name of science and engineering...

TrebStar - Trebuchet Simulator

Designing and building trebuchets is mad science?

Slice of pumpkin pie anyone?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New Sponsor: Innsbruck Inn at Stowe

There are now only four days remaining until we celebrate our 5th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival on Sunday, September 29th, at the Stoweflake Resort and Spa.

We just wanted to let everyone know that we are adding a great new sponsor and prize for this year's festival.

The Innsbruck Inn at Stowe will donate a prize package for 1 night’s lodging for 2 people in a superior room with 1 Queen & Double Bed, plus a Full Breakfast, and Afternoon Tea on the day of arrival.

The Innsbruck Inn is located at 4361 Mountain Road Stowe, Vermont, which is just a little over 2 miles up Mountain Road from our competition site at Stoweflake.

Innsbruck Inn at Stowe

Innsbruck Inn at Stowe

The Innsbruck Inn at Stowe combines the atmosphere and style of a traditional Austrian alpine inn, with the spacious accommodations and modern amenities of a quality mountain resort. It offers a classic alpine experience in Vermont! Call for reservations at 800-225-8582.

So, this is another great prize for our trebuchet competitors to go after. Good luck to all of you.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Update

The count down is beginning, there are now only 10 days remaining until the 5th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival (VTPC) on Sunday, September 29th, at the Stoweflake Resort, Stowe, Vt.

Food Drive at VTPC with Raffle Prizes

Here is one very important update to pass along. This year there will be a food drive at the festival.

Regina Crosby, the owner of the Stowe Barber Shop, is organizing a food drive raffle at the festival this year. Here is how it will work:
Anyone bringing a non-perishable food item (or contributing $1) gets a raffle ticket. Regina is offering a prize of free haircuts for one year at the Stowe Barber Shop, as well as other prizes including: night at the Stoweflake for two (2). She will raffle off prizes during the event.
A night for two at the Stoweflake Resort and Spa or free haircuts for a year are some awesome prizes. So if you have some non-perishable/canned goods sitting around please bring them to the festival and get a chance at winning some great prizes.

Stoweflake Resort and Spa --

Stoweflake Resort & Spa

Stoweflake Resort & Spa

Regina Crosby / Stowe Barber Shop --

Also, festival organizer Dave Jordan was on WCAX TV yesterday, Sept 17th, to talk about our pumpkin chuckin' event. Here is the video clip of Dave's appearance:

Here is the link to the full WCAX story:
Catapult pumpkins, Pumpkin Chuckin' contest begins

Monday, September 9, 2013

Here Comes the 5th Annual VT Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival

5th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival Set to Launch at the Stoweflake Resort and Spa on Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Stowe, Vermont, Sept 6, 2013 – It is again time to get your pumpkin chuckin' trebuchet ready for the 5th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' (VTPC) Festival on Sunday, September 29th, 2013 at the Stoweflake Resort and Spa in Stowe, Vermont. The VTPC Festival is a fun, family event sponsored by the Stoweflake Resort and Spa and other local sponsors.  The goal is to give kids and adults a fun chance to build something with their hands and compete.

The Festival runs from 11am to 4pm, featuring three rounds of competitive pumpkin chuckin' at 12:30pm, 1:30pm and 2:30pm, with awards shortly after the last round. Dogs and outside food or beverage are not allowed at the event. Admission to the Festival will cost $5 for ages 5 and over, free for 4 and under.  Parking is free. Food, beer and wine will be available for sale by the Stoweflake. 

The Festival is a one-day event where Do-It-Yourself mechanical wizards of all ages attempt to launch pumpkins as far as possible with trebuchets, which are medieval siege engines. The event has grown in size every year. The Science Channel's broadcast of the World Championship Punkin Chunkin on Thanksgiving Day has helped fuel the growth of the sport of pumpkin chucking. Last year eighteen teams from New York and around New England competed at the VTPC Festival.

Along with the pumpkin chuckin’ contest comes music, children’s activities, a bounce house, chili cook-off, mini-olympics, and great food; all creating an enjoyable fall day with proceeds benefiting the Lamoille Family Center.  The Family Center has a thirty-seven year history of supporting Lamoille Valley families through early care and education services, home visiting, parent education, playgroups, child care resource and referral, youth services, and emergency assistance.

Music for this year's festival will again be provided by Vermont performers Mike Dunn and sister Julia, and the duo Jenn and John, who will be performing periodically from 11am to 4pm.

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

The festival will have four categories of competition, which also compete against each other for the Best Overall Design, which is the farthest throw for the height of their trebuchet. The four categories are: Lightweight Division, Middleweight Junior Division, Middleweight Open Division, and Heavyweight Division. It costs $5 to enter the competition (or to spectate). For the exact competitive specifications, rules, and entry information please visit the festival's website ( for details.

Exciting prizes for the competition winners have been donated by the festival sponsors. Prizes include:
Events added this year:

Chili Cook-off: Eight local celebrity judges representing local TV, newspapers, magazines and restaurants will assist in judging the different selections.  This will be a hybrid tournament where the celebrity judges get 10 votes; non-celebrity judges can also join the fun for $5 and get a sample and vote as well.  First prize gets $100, second get $50 and third gets $25.  To compete, bring 2 gallons of chili to the event. You receive free admission to the Festival, a chance to schmooze with the celebrities and a very good chance of winning prize money. To register, or for more information, email Neil Handwerger at

Mini-Olympics:  This will be a 5 event Olympics for kids of all ages.  There will be running, jumping, chucking, one legged race, and a wheelbarrow race.  Two rounds will take place - 12:30 - 1:45pm and 2:00pm - 3:15pm.  A donation of $5 is suggested to enter all events.
Pumpkin carving/drawing contest:  Kids can carve a pumpkin or draw a pumpkin or even bring a pre-carved pumpkin to compete.  Please bring your own pumpkin.  Suggested donation $3.

Bouncy house:  Provided by Lamoille Family Center:  Free fun!

For more information about the 5th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival, please visit the festival's website at or contact the festival organizer Dave Jordan, email:, telephone: (603) 630-4800

Friday, August 30, 2013

Chili Cookoff Contest at Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin'

Chili Cook-off at Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival
There will be a savory #ChiliCookoff contest at this year's Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival, Sunday, September 29th, 2013.

Celebrity Judges/People's Choice Hybrid Chili Cookoff Contest

Currently we have 8 celebrity judges lined up:
  • JB McKinley: Editor of News and Citizen
  • Latan Detore: Stowe Attorney
  • David Stackpole: Stowe Attorney
  • Bobby and Alice Roberts: Mountain Associates Realtors
  • Chris Jordan: Morrison's Cafeteria Manager for 40 years in Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, FL
  • Kyle Midura: WCAX TV
  • Biddle Duke: Owner of Stowe Reporter
  • Chris Francis (owner of Ye Olde England Inne)
Each of these judges will do a blind sample of each competitors chili and get 10 votes for Gold, Silver and Bronze. Each festival participant will pay $5 for a similar sample and get 1 vote for Gold, Silver and Bronze. At the end, the votes are counted and the Gold winner receives a trophy and $100, Silver gets a trophy and $50, Bronze gets a trophy and $25,

Neil Handwerger, the owner of Cafe On Main in Stowe, has graciously agreed to run the chili cookoff. I"m sure it will involve a lot of work and planning, with no financial reward, so please stop in at his wonderful cafe on Main St. Stowe for breakfast or lunch. Also he is the guy to contact for questions and registration. So far we've only got two three entries, so spread the word.

Entries so far:
  • Rich Hobbs: Owner of Sunset Grill, Stowe
  • Regina Crosby: Owner of Stowe Barber Shop
  • Deb Papineau (Owner of Deb's Place in Morrisville)
#ChiliCookoff Rules:
  1. Contact Neil Handwerger via email to register or ask questions: email:
  2. Each competitor must supply 2 gallons of chili to be judged by the celebrity and non-celebrity judges.
  3. Entry is free for the competitor and up to 4 of his team to the competition and festival. Any more than 5 in a team will be charged $5 to get into the festival.
  4. No electricity or tents will be provided. Portable burners are allowed. Update: we will be able to provide electricity.
  5. Event goes on rain or shine, so come prepared with a canopy.
  6. Seating: Not provided, bring your own, if desired.
  7. Bowls and spoons and samplers will be provided.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Launching a Trebuchet Syrah

Nothing goes together like a good syrah wine and a humongous trebuchet.

A syrah is a dark-skinned grape that is used to produce a red wine. The Journey's End Vineyards near Cape Town, South Africa had a massive 12 ton trebuchet built in England to celebrate the launch of their new Trebuchet Syrah wine. Here their big treb, currently nicknamed Dionysus, hurls a car, an old church organ, and a bomb with ease.

The 'petrol bomb' thing is crazy, but anyway, you can get in on the fun and win a case of wine in their 'Name the Trebuchet' contest.

Journey's End Vineyards:

Has the launch of a new wine ever been taken so literally?

Rollo Gabb, owner of Journey's End Vineyards has has commissioned a full-scale version of the fabled medieval siege weapon -- the trebuchet -- to be built to coincide with the launch of the winery's 2008 vintage syrah.

The Trebuchet - who has thus far been nicknamed Dionysus by Journey's End fans on twitter - is an 60ft, 12-tonne machine that can hurl an old church organ, a car and old oak barrels several hundred yards.

Mr Gabb, whose family owns and runs the winery at Sir Lowry's Pass, near Stellenbosch, said he hoped the trebuchet would yield financial benefits for the community local to the award-winning vineyard, as well as put its name to a first class wine.

'Combining old knowledge and methods with modern technology is something that fascinates me, and it seemed to suit our 2008 Syrah down to the ground,' said Mr Gabb. 'It is a powerful and exciting wine, with great structure -- much like the machine it is named after'.

The single vineyard Syrah is from Journey's End vineyard that was planted in 1998. The South West facing block sits on decomposed granite on the famed Schapenberg Hills overlooking False Bay.

The wine is priced at £12.99 is available from Tanner's Wine Merchant.
Journey's End sales & mktg director Rollo Gabb, the #trebuchet 2008 Syrah and the machine
Another Youtube view -- 'petrol bomb' + Syrah Trebuchet = crazy:

Big Bang for Trebuchet Syrah 2008

On April 2nd 2013 we embarked on the ambitious project of constructing a 60 ft. tall, 12.4 ton medieval trebuchet.

Three 140ft tall Douglas Fir trees were carefully selected and felled at the Dudmaston Estate, near Bridgnorth in Shropshire, as England endured a prolonged winter freeze.

The steelwork for our machine was carefully laser cut on Monday 13th May at Marshbrook in Shropshire and works continue to have the machine ready for a trial launch on 23rd JUNE.

Once ready for assembly our trebuchet will be erected at Acton Round, Nr Bridgnorth, Shropshire and the launch will be celebrated by chucking the currently defunct organ out of the local church.

Following launch we will be taking down this magnificent engine and packing her into a 40ft container for shipment to the Journeys End Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Here she will hopefully enjoy a life in warmer climes and be utilised to raise funds for our local community of Sir Lowrys Pass Village.
In the medieval times these magnificent machines of war were given nicknames. Names at the time included ‘WARWOLF’, ‘GODS STONE THROWER’ and ‘BAD NEIGHBOUR’

Please send in any name suggestions to ... the Top 10 names Drawn on 31st September 2013 will each win a case of Trebuchet Syrah !

PS: Our name suggestion was "Sir Lowry's Thunder". It is based on where the Trebuchet will live, Sir Lowry's Pass Village, South Africa, and who Sir Gailbraith Lowry Cole was.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Make'n A Pumpkin Crab

We have soft spot for Jim McKenzie's Pumpkin Crab. He launched a KickStarter to make some. Great video of an up and coming artist in action.

Jim McKenzie's Pumpkin Crab Resin Art Figurine

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Trebuchet Song

Spring is in the air. It's time to plant your pumpkin seeds and continue the circle of life. Here is a song about the unique combination of gardening, pumpkins, and trebuchets.

There are now 148 days until the 5th Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival, on Sunday, September 29th, 2013, at the Stoweflake Resort in Stowe, Vermont.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

4th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival Video

Apple Dannie of First Run Productions and Leonard Osterberg of Technically Leonards produced a first-rate video showing the sights and sounds of the 4th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival. The festival that was held on Sunday, October 7th, 2012, at the Boyden Family Farm, Cambridge, VT.

If you were at the festival you will probably see yourself here.