Saturday, October 11, 2014

Pumpkin Chuckin' Roundup


As we head into the heart of the pumpkin chuckin' season here's a roundup of some related news and items that caught our eye:

* First, a big congratulations to everyone who came out to help support our 6th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' festival that was held on Sunday, September 28th, at Stoweflake Mountain Resort. We had over 1700 spectators, who helped us raise over $10,000 in support of the the Lamoille Family Center in Morrisville, VT. Thanks again everyone for coming out to our pumpkin chuckin' festival.

* The big news is that the famous World Championship Punkin Chunkin (WCPC) in Delaware has been postponed until next year. The countdown counter on their website now says: 391 days until their first chunk on November 6, 2015. This is a big hit to the pumpkin flinging, hurling, chuckin' and chunkin community. The Saturday after Thanksgiving was a special day reserved for the WCPC telecast.
No flying pumpkins this year – Punkin Chunkin postponed until November 2015
Organizers announced Oct. 3 that this year's event on the grounds across Route 1 from Dover International Speedway will be postponed until next November. The event had been planned for Oct. 24-26 at the same site as the Firefly music festival...
2014 World Championship Punkin Chunkin is postponed until 2015
Punkin Chunkin pos’poned to November of nex’ year – Logistics of move cause frustration
Punkin Chunkin organizers recently announced that the event was being moved out of Sussex County, and now, it’s been moved right out of 2014, as well. The pumpkin-flinging festival, which was to begin its first season at Dover International Speedway on Oct. 24 to 26, 2014, has instead been postponed to Nov. 6 to 8, 2015.
Competitors Upset Punkin Chunkin is Canceled for 2014 –  
Faith Hartman of Laurel and her family own the "Little Big Gun" air cannon. She says they've been coming to the event since the '80s and have owned their own cannon since 1999. 

Her 12-year-old son Philip was crushed when he heard the news that Punkin Chunkin was canceled just three weeks out from the event. 

" I'm a little bit disappointed this year. Usually I come to it every year, it's a really good tradition. I've been coming since I was five months old and I hate for it to be like this," Philip Hartman said.
Little Big Gun Air Cannon
* It looks like some of the #PunkinChunkers will be heading to the 4th Annual Howard Fire Company Fall Punkin Chunkin Festival on October 18th, 2014. It is held at Bald Eagle State Park, PA, which is about a 100 mile drive northwest of Harrisburg, PA.

Howard Fire Company Fall Punkin Chunkin Festival – 4th Annual Howard Fire Company Punkin' Chunkin' Fall Festival, Saturday, October 18, 2014 from 10 AM to 5 PM
Pits will be open to spectators during no fire times. We will have machines in two separate pit areas on both sides of the beach as we have in previous years. We are going to try only firing from one side/pit during each 45 minute firing session. This should allow the inactive pit to be open to the spectators for at least an hour at a time!
* In the run-up to our little VTPC you might have missed the excellent article in the Boston Globe Magazine that profiled Brian Labrie and his Punkin Chunkin' team known as American Chunker. The article states that they have, "perhaps the finest pumpkin-firing air cannon the world has ever seen."

True dat. Brian and his crew are the current world champs. The were planning on going back to Delaware in a few weeks to defend their title and perhaps officially shoot the first pumpkin over a mile at near sea level. Now it looks like they have to wait until next year.

We caught a nice break when Brian brought his newly built American Chunker air cannon up to our 2nd annual VTPC back in 2010 to work out some of their kinks. Everyone who went remembers that we had an awesome display of pumpkin fire power that day, which maxed out the limits of our field at Boyden Family Farm.

Gina Bullard from WCAX News did a very good report that day, which included some video of Brian Labrie and his team in action at our old location in Cambridge, VT.

Gina Bullard, WCAX, reports on VT Pumpkin Chuckin' and American Chunker
Gina Bullard at the 2010 Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival
Jeff Harder / Boston Globe Magazine:
The crazy quest of a Punkin Chunkin world champion – Brian Labrie has used his $180,000 air cannon to fire a pumpkin in competition farther than anyone else. But he’s not stopping there...

Brian Labrie (far right, front) with some of his NH team and their American Chunker

* The Discovery Channel was again planning to cover the World Championship Punkin Chunkin (WCPC). The show was scheduled to premier on the Science Channel Saturday, Nov. 29. What will they do now?

The big WCPC news has supposed to be the move from their traditional farm in Bridgeville, Delaware to the Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware.

1 mile track at Dover International Speedway

The Dover track is a 1 mile (1.6 km) concrete oval, with 24° banking in the turns and 9° banking on the straights. It has seating for 135,000. It will be interesting to see how they set things up for the competition given how far many of their 'punkin chunkin' categories can fire or hurl pumpkins. We were first wondering if they would be shooting out of the oval to a field outside the track? That would have been a nice spectacle. Or were they just using the many parking lots around the track? It turns out they were going to use the field across the road from the speedway. The move to the speedway was apparently way more complicated than first thought.

WCPC moved north to Dover Speedway from Bridgeville, Del.

The move by WCPC to Dover Speedway takes them about 33 miles north from where they have been located. Dover is a little closer to pumpkin chuckin' fans from NY, NJ, or PA, who might want to make a day trip out of it. It's certainly an event for everyone's bucket list.

As reported by the Dover Post last month:
Punkin Chunkin organizers scouted more than 50 locations within and outside of Delaware before settling on the Speedway for the 2014 event, citing not only its convenient location but also the available space. Some air cannons can shoot pumpkins nearly one mile, so locating a space that could handle the competition and crowds proved challenging for Punkin Chunkin officials.
Keeping your pumpkins on the pumpkin range can be a challenge that we at VTPC appreciate, especially after seeing our own heavyweight winner this year, “Hammer of the Gourds”(HOTG) hurl their last pumpkin. Look out down range!

* If you are in the Saginaw, Michigan area, which is on the lower peninsula some 35 miles north of Flint, you should checkout the massive trebuchet at Johnson's Giant Pumpkin Farm.

Johnson's Giant Pumpkins:
Please join us on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, starting September 28, as we launch 60 to 80 pound pumpkins threw the air with our trebuchet that stands 40 feet tall and the counter weight is 10,000 pounds!
Cost: Free
Weather permitting activity.
Johnson's Giant Pumpkin Farm 10,000 pound trebuchet

Wow! That is truly an extraordinary backyard trebuchet.
* Tweet from Daryll that we liked. A room with a view...

Oct 4
Pumpkin Chuckin from my room lolololololol

 * Sad to see one of our favorite pumpkin hurling websites close down. The Hurl ( closed its doors and put themselves up for sale. They were a wealth of chuckin' information. The wayback machine (internet archive) has a look at what their site once looked like. And it looks like it has recorded most of the information there.
* Finally, we saw some nice photos of our festival over on Facebook at Green Mountain Marketing and Advertising 

Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival - by Green Mtn Mkting and Adv.

Happy Pumpkin Chuckin' and we'll see everyone next year at an even better 7th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival.