Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pumpkins Fly at the Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival

Linda Fasteson (@LindaFasteson) put together a very nice article and pictorial of the 7th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival.

Pumpkins flew at today's Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival --
Crowds gathered today and spectators came from as far away as England’s Isle of Wight for the seventh annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival and Chili Cook-off...
Pumpkins fly at the Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival --

2015 Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Jr. Middleweight Division Champs

Homeschoolers from Manchester, NH participated as team Chuck Fillet and won the Junior Middleweight Division at the 7th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival.

Some pictures of team Chuck Fillet designing their trebuchet:

Sunday, September 27, 2015

2015 Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival Results


Hi all,

Here are the corrected results, sorry about the confusion.

The 7th annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin festival is over and here are the results of the trebuchet and chili contests.  We had a record 26 teams in the trebuchet contest and 4 in the chili cookoff.  The distances for the lightweight and middleweight divisions are scaled up to what they would throw if they were 10 feet tall.  Trophies awards to the top three in each division.  Winner of each division get $50 prize.  The winners of each division compete directly against each other for grand best overall design prize and gets an extra $50.

An observation on this year’s chuckin winner; this is the 1st time a Heavyweight won the overall contest since the Middleweight Open category was created.  This proves that it is possible to win with a big machine, even thought it requires a lot more effort.

Another observation, this is the first time we’ve seen a Merlin type trebuchet. The merlin is unique in that it has 5 links creating a cam which the weight pulls a wire around.  This allows it to be much more efficient in using nearly all of the available energy stored in the counterweight into throwing the projectile.  It also has a very clever way of throwing where the arm is tilted way back beyond vertical and the pumpkin is actually sitting on the arm before it fires and it loops thru the frame without the pumpkin hitting the ground, giving the machine an extremely long (almost 320 degree) throwing motion.  This reduces the stress on the arm and frame, allowing more weight to be devoted to the counterweight.

And lastly, a two brand-new clever tripod trebuchets appeared in the Middleweight Open and Lightweight Divisions; a father daughter combo I believe. The daughter dominated the Lightweight Division, winning by almost 200 feet and almost beating dad.  I tried to see a similar trebuchet on the internet and couldn’t find anything. Great invention!

  • Grand prize winner, Overall Best Design: Hammer of the Gourds
  • Winner of Heavyweight Division: Hammer of the Gourds
  • Winner of Middleweight Open Division: Queen Christine 2.5
  • Winner of Middleweight Junior Division: Chuck Fillet
  • Winner of Lightweight Division: Montana Christmas

Lightweight Division: age limit 10 and under, trebuchet limited to 20 pounds and 41 inches, pumpkin (projectile must weight at least 3 ounces)

Distances adjusted up by 2.92 (120/41)
  • 1st place: $50 prize, Montana Christmas, Captain Emerson Stapleton, adjusted distance 441.54 feet
  • 2nd place: Dante’s Little Torch, Captain Kenneth Brown, adjusted distance 266.63 feet
  • 3rd place: TPS Chuckers, Captain Theresa Tipper, adjusted distance 153.86 feet
  • 4th place: TPS Chuckers Two, Captain Theresa Tipper, adjusted distance 129.07 feet

Middleweight Junior Division: age limit 17 and under, trebuchet limited to 100 pounds and 70 inches, pumpkin must weight at least 1 pound

Distances adjusted up by 1.71 (120/70)
  • 1st place: $50 prize, Chuck Fillet, Captain Jacob, adjusted distance 355.53 feet
  • 2nd place: Phoenix Rising Two, Captain Keegan McNamara, adjusted distance 201.42
  • 3rd place: Team Hogan, Captain Nolan Hogan, adjusted distance 134.56
  • 4th place:Webelos Whippers, Captain Fisher Irwin, adjusted distance 124 feet
  • 5th place: Scouts Mayhem, Captain Max Low, adjusted distance 93 feet

Middleweight Open Division: no age limit, trebuchet limited to 100 pounds and 70 inches, pumpkin must weight at least 1 pound

Distances adjusted up by 1.71 (120/70)
  • 1st place: $50 prize, Queen Christine 2.5, Captain Ray Chamberlin, adjusted distance 501.07
  • 2nd place: Controlled Chaos, Captain Jonathan Stapleton, adjusted distance 496.26 feet
  • 3rd place:Red Neck Wreckers, Captain Ryan Brown, adjusted distance 439.18 feet
  • 4th place: Team Jordan, Captain Don Jordan, adjusted distance 427.52 feet
  • 5th place: Mooselauke Hurlers, Ed Chamberlin, adjusted distance 425.07 feet
  • 6th place: Green Monster, Captain Emmitt McGuire, adjusted distance 418.44 feet
  • 7th place: Rolling Thunder, Captain Ray Chamberlin, adjusted distance 410.35 feet
  • 8th place: Rotary Two, Captain Bill Kernan, adjusted distance 332.93 feet
  • 9th place: Merlin, Captain Bob Olesen, adjusted distance 311.3 feet
  • 10th place: Dead Weight, Captain Brad Gustafson, adjusted distance 219.93 feet
  • 11th place: One Sheet of Plywood and a 2x4, Captain Justin Blackman, adjusted distance 214.99 feet
  • 12th place: FAKA Crazy, Captain John Raffensberger, adjusted distance 71.14 feet

Heavyweight Division: no age limit, trebuchet limited to 500 pounds and 10 feet, pumpkin must weight at least 5 pounds

No distance adjustment since the trebuchets are already 10 feet tall
  • 1st place and best overall design award: $100 prize, Hammer of the Gourds, Captain Chris McGrody, distance 520.7 feet
  • 2nd place: Weapons of Medieval Destruction, Captain Nick Helms, distance 474.36
  • 3rd place: Unconventional Farmers, Captain Robert Hoopes, distance 194.0 feet
  • 4th place: Team Edge, Captain Kyle Lamell, distance 76 feet
  • 5th place: Bad Boomer, Captain Dave Jordan, distance 0 feet

Chili Cookoff:
  • 1st prize and $100 cash, Edelweiss Country Store
  • 2nd prize and $50 cash, Edna and Ken Elwood
  • 3rd prize and $25 cash, Brian Roberts

Dave Jordan
Festival organizer
161 Henway Road
Morrisville, VT 05661

Kings of New England Compete

Pumpkins have been flying today at the 7th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival at Stoweflake Mountain Resort. Good job out of you all you pumpkin hurlers, you lords and ladies of the gourd, you Princes and Princesses of Vermont, you Kings and Queens of New England....

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Countdown (12 days) to Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival

There are now just 12 days until our 7th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival.

Press Release:

Stoweflake Resort and Spa to Host 7th Annual “Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival”

Proceeds of Sept. 27th, 2015 Event to Benefit the Lamoille Family Center

Stowe, Vermont – It is again time to get your pumpkin chuckin' trebuchet (gravity powered catapult) ready for the 7th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' (VTPC) Festival. Mark your calendar for Sunday, September 27th, 2015 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 event benefits the Lamoille Family Center, which has a thirty-eight year history of supporting Lamoille Valley families through early care, and educational services, home visiting, parent education, playgrounds, child care resource and referral, youth services, and emergency assistance. The event gives kids and adults a chance to build something with their hands and compete; a cross between a shot put contest and a Soap Box Derby.

The Festival runs from 11am to 4pm, and features three rounds of competitive pumpkin chuckin' at 12:30pm, 1:30pm and 2:30pm, with awards shortly after the last round. No dogs or outside food or beverage are allowed at the event. Admission to the Festival is $5 for ages 5 and over, free for 4 and under. Parking is free. Food, beer and wine will be sold by Stoweflake. Chili will also be available via a chili cookoff.

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 their trebuchets, a type of medieval siege weapon. The event has grown in size every year with over 2000 spectators last year. Last year twenty teams from Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York competed in four different categories at the VTPC Festival.

Along with the pumpkin chuckin’ contest comes music, children’s activities, chili cook-off, and great food; all creating an enjoyable fall day. Music for this year's festival will again be provided by two bands; House Dunn, John Smyth, which will be performing periodically from 11am to 4pm.

The festival has four categories of competition: Lightweight, Middleweight Junior, Middleweight Open and Heavyweight. Each category has height and weight limits to level the playing field.

Dave Jordan, enthusiastic founder (and competitor) of the festival says: "This is a fun competition modeled after the Soap Box Derby. The four categories each have their own mini-tournament and the four winners get a trophy, and $50 cash. The four winning teams then compete for the Grand Prize of Best Design. The Grand prize is awarded to the team that throws the farthest after adjusting for their trebuchet's height. The Grand prize winner gets an extra $50 cash and first choice of the prizes provided by local sponsors.”

It costs $5 to enter the competition (or to spectate). For the specifications, rules, and entry information please visit the festival's website ( for details.

Chili Cook-off: For $5 the public can get a sample of each competitor's concoction and vote for first, second and third place. First place gets $100, second get $50 and third gets $25. To compete, bring 2 gallons of chili to the event. Competitors receive free admission to the Festival, free exposure for their chili, and a chance of winning prize money. To register or questions, contact Dave Jordan (below).

INFO visit the festival's website at or contact the festival organizer Dave Jordan, Email:, phone (603) 630-4800

To volunteer to help at the 7th VTPC, please contact Dave Jordan.

Some other Pumpkin Chuckin' notes:

Brian Roy (email: ), the Assistant Director, at Essex Junction Recreation and Parks, is looking for a trebuchet or two to help him out at his October 24th Pumpkin Festival.

Brian is "looking for a team or two to come do a display and show off what pumpkin chuckin' is." Please shoot him a email if you would like to help him out. Thanks

Here is the information about his event is:

Essex Junction Recreation Departments Fall Pumpkin Fest
Saturday October 24th
Maple St. Park
75 Maple St. Essex Junction, VT

Also, Erin Hibbard (email: ) at Vermont Gas Systems is looking for a trebuchet: 
I am inquiring about your highly recommended services. I am looking to hold a very large community event to raise money for Milton High School project graduation. The tentative dates and locations would be either Oct 24th or Nov 14th either at the Milton High School or behind the police station on Bombardier road.

My question to you is do you know an individual(s) I can either call or email to see if they would be willing to donate/rent the trebuchet or a catapult for a day or possibly make one if the materials were supplied? Not sure what other routes I could take (and the time is creeping up extremely quick) so any and all info would be very grateful to me…

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Trebuchet at Château des Baux

This desktop trebuchet project at KickStarter by Kerwin Lumpkins caught our eye. It is a 1/30th scale model of the large working trebuchet at Château des Baux in southern France. Château des Baux is a tourist attraction that has the ruins of a 12th-century castle and village, as well as some other siege engines.

This is a very handsome looking trebuchet. The KickStarter project deadline is in one week, on May 2nd, 2015, and it is well past its funding goal.

About this project:
Get a Desktop Trebuchet and Get Medieval! Each kit contains parts to build your own slice of medieval history. Building is fun, but then it's time for some serious fun. Fire away! This desktop sized model can throw a gumball 40-50 feet (12-15 meters). Look at the video at time 1 minute to get a sense for the range. When you're done firing candy at the enemy, the finished product will look great on display in your home.
1/30th scale mode of trebuchet at Chateau des Baux
Chateau des Baux de Provence trebuchet --

 Trebuchet at Château des Baux, France

 Trebuchet at Château des Baux

Youtube video summarizing the design and prototyping of the desktop trebuchet.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Marco Polo - Great Balls of Fire

"Worlds will collide," that is the tag line for the Netflix dramatic series Marco Polo. The show follows Marco Polo's early years in the court of Kublai Khan, the Khagan of the Mongolian Empire and the founder of the Yuan dynasty, which lasted from 1271-1368. The show premiered on Netflix on December 12, 2014.

Here's an impressive looking clip of a trebuchet in action for the show: