Monday, October 2, 2017

Results of 9th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival (Sept. 24, 2017)

We had a heatwave at the Stoweflake Resort and Spa for the Ninth Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin Festival with 11 teams competing in the chuck, 1 throw for show, 5 teams in the Chili Cook-Off, 43 volunteers and over 1300 spectators enjoying the chuckin', chili, beer, wine, food, raffles, two bands, face-painting, balloon animals, games and volleyball. Over $5,000 was raised for the Lamoille Restorative Center (Hyde Park) whose staff and volunteers did an amazing job running the festival. LRC is doing great work and it was a pleasure to work with them.

Moosilauke Hurlers sweep the event!

The Chamberlain brothers from New Hampshire have been coming to the festival for six years, arriving early with their trailer of two trebuchets in the middleweight open division. This year Ray Chamberlain won the Middleweight Open division *and* overall Best Design by throwing 326 feet. His brother Ed was slightly behind at 276 feet and way ahead of the rest of the field.

Results of the trebuchet contest:

Lightweight Division (age 10 and under, trebuchet limited to 20 lbs. and 41”)
  • 1st place trophy plus $50 cash: Steven Mccann from VT (Max D.23)
  • 2nd place trophy: Theresa Tipper from VT (Elephant)
  • 3rd place trophy: Owen Christman from VT (Extreme Pie Face Two)
  • 4th place: Barclay Johnson from VT (Wheland Sword)
  • 5th place: Theresa Tipper from VT (Kitty)

Middleweight Junior Division (age 17 and under, trebuchet limited to 100 lbs. and 70”)
  • 1st place trophy plus $50 cash: Keiser Nesbitt from VT (Elastic X)

Middleweight Open Division: (any age, trebuchet limited to 100 lbs. and 70”)
  • 1st place trophy plus $50 cash: Ray Chamberlain from NH (Moosilauke Hurlers)
  • 2nd place trophy: Ed Chamberlin from NH (Ooh-Rah)
  • 3rd place trophy: John Christman from VT (Extreme Pie Face)
  • 4th place: Nick Helms from VT (Weapons of Medieval Destruction) 

Heavyweight Division: (any age, trebuchet limited to 500 lbs. and 120”)
  • 1st place trophy plus $50 cash: Troop 271

Grand Prize Best Design trophy plus $50 cash: Ray Chamberlain (Moosilauke Hurlers)

Scaling, height, weight limitations and penalties:

I often get asked why the scaling, height and weight limitations and penalties are so complicated. The answer is, they need to be that complicated to make it fair for all competitors. If a trebuchet design is made twice as tall, it will throw twice as far. This allows us to directly compare the design of a lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight by scaling up the smaller trebuchets so they compete on equal footing with the heavyweights. By comparing their relative heights, the magic number is roughly 2.9 for the lightweight and 1.7 for the middleweights. This is how we select the Best Design Grand Prize. The four winners of each division are scaled up to Heavyweight size. The Lightweight winner is scaled up by 2.9, both Middlweight winners are scaled up by 1.71 and the Heavyweight winner is not scaled. The best “scaled” distance wins the Grand Prize. In nine years, it has gone to the Heavyweights 3 times and to the Middlweight Open 6 times.

A trebuchet must be powered only by gravity, so by limiting the height and weight, we ensure each competitor starts with the same amount of energy. If they choose to make their frame very light, they can use more weight in the counterweight, at the risk of breaking something. It takes more energy to throw a heavier pumpkin, so the pumpkins must be at, or over, the specified weight to be legal.

If a trebuchet is over-height or over-weight, we don't kick them out of the festival; we allow them to compete with a penalty roughly proportional to how much they are out of spec. The penalty isn't really so much a penalty as a proportional offset to correct for the weight or height advantage beyond the “legal” limits.

The following summary of each division will show the adjusted distance, after scaling up including any penalty. If you want the actual distance, just divide by the appropriate scaling.

Summary of all competitors (all distances adjusted and scaled up to Heavyweight)

Lightweight Division: (scaling 2.9268)
  • 1st place: Steven Mccann, 276 feet
  • 2nd place: Theresa Tipper, 228 feet
  • 3rd place: Owen Christman, 218 feet
  • 4th place: Barclay Johnson, 185 feet
  • 5th place: Theresa Tipper, 172 feet

Middleweight Junior Division: (scaling 1.7142)
  • 1st place: Keiser Nesbitt, 282 feet

Middleweight Open Division: (scaling 1.7142
  • 1st place: Ray Chamberlain, 509 feet
  • 2nd place: Ed Chamberlin, 456 feet
  • 3rd place: John Christman, 330 feet
  • 4th place: Nick Helms, 63 feet

Heavyweight Division: (no scaling)
  • 1st place: Troop 271, 83 feet

Throw for show:
  • Dave Jordan, 185 feet

Chili Cook-Off champions:

The chili cook-off was a great success with three competitors and running out of chili before the end of the festival. Thanks for Keith Thompson running the show. In the feel-good hit of the festival, all of the winners donated their cash prize back to the Lamoille Restorative Center, in Hyde Park, Vermont. Here are the winners:
  • 1st place certificate and $100 cash: Keith Thompson (Thompson's Flour Shop)
  • 2nd place certificate and $50 cash: Bobbi Blanchard-Lewis (LRC)
  • 3rd place certificate and $25 cash: Jennifer Isabell (El Toro)

A big thank you to all our chili cook-off competitors.

A special thanks to our main sponsor, Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa for letting us use their beautiful field for free, as well as all the other sponsors:

  • North Country Federal Credit Union
  • Alpine Snowguards
  • The Alchemist
  • H.A. Manosh
  • Community National Bank
  • Smugglers Notch Resort
  • Stowe Country Club
  • Stowe Beverage
  • Union Bank
  • People's United Bank
  • MSI
  • El Toro
  • Thompson's Flour Shop
  • Laraway Youth and Family Services
  • The UPS Store - Stowe
  • Donald Blake Jr, Inc.
  • Ideltyme
  • Power Play Sports
  • Turtle Fur
  • Elmore Lakeview Farmstead
  • Stowe Motel
  • Stowe Soaring
  • PP&D

Special thanks to Bruce Wallace and his family for being the Master of Ceremonies and helping for the last 7 years, to Nick Pizzutti and Alyssa Gagne for registration and calculating the winners, to Gunner McCain for quick, cheery distance readings, to Mike Dunn for excellent sound system and House Dunn and John Smyth for great music, to Bob Gross and Russell Baum for helping out with safety and setup for the last 9 years.

We look forward to the next festival, Sept. 30th, 2018 at the Stoweflake.

Dave Jordan
Festival organizer
161 Henway Road
Morrisville, VT 05661

Monday, September 25, 2017

Flying Pumpkins in Stowe

Thanks everyone for another great Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival yesterday at Stoweflake. We will be posting the final results with a summary of the competition shortly.

In the mean time, here was a nice story with some video from yesterday's festival:

Pumpkins Flying Through Stowe

Haley Bouley /
Pumpkins Flying Through Stowe - 9th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin'

Friday, September 22, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

#LiveFromVermont - It's Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin'

Who doesn't love Tom Hanks? His David S. Pumpkins character from SNL will apparently be making a reappearance according to a recent tweet from Hanks. You can't go wrong with a Pumpkin Song opening.

Tom Hanks - twitter

Prancing around in a pumpkin suit seems like a dream job. Maybe we'll get our own Dave Pumpkins to ditch the Viking helmet and go with a pumpkin suit.

David S. Pumpkins
Pumpkins Rule

Our very own home grown Vermont pumpkins will soon be doing their own performance this coming Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, at the Stoweflake Mountain Resort, in Stowe, Vermont. Come on out and see our Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival. We have music, food, and fun ($10 admission, free for 4 and under). And it all goes to support a great cause, the Lamoille Restorative Center, in Hyde Park, Vermont, which promotes healthy families and communities within the Lamoille Valley Region of Vermont.

Hit us up on Twitter or our Facebook page if you have #AnyQuestions.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Press Release: 9th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival

Contact Person: Heidi Dwyer
Company Name: Lamoille Restorative Center, Hyde Park, Vermont
Phone: 802-888-5871
Fax: 802-888-5400

9th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival
Stoweflake Resort & Spa to Host 2017 Festival
Proceeds of September 24th event to benefit Lamoille Restorative Center

Stowe, Vermont, Aug. 11, 2017 – This year marks 9 years of the Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ (VTPC) Festival. This festival celebrates the sport of “chuckin’” pumpkins, for distance, using a do-it-yourself constructed trebuchet or gravity-powered catapult. Festival founder, Dave Jordan, describes the event as a cross between a Soap Box Derby (amateur building/engineering) and a shot put contest (throwing for distance). The event is a great opportunity for kids of all ages to build something with their hands and engage in some family friendly competition. Records have been broken every year; last year's winner threw 689 feet!
The VTPC Festival is one-day event and has grown every year. This event is sponsored by the Stoweflake Resort and Spa and many other local sponsors.  The event benefits the Lamoille Restorative Center, which has a thirty-seven year history addressing unlawful behaviors, supporting victims of crime, and promoting healthy families and communities within the Lamoille Valley Region of Vermont. 
Mark your calendar for Sunday, September 24th, 2017. 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 $10.00 and parking is free. Food, beer and wine will be sold by Stoweflake.
Along with the pumpkin chuckin’ contest there will be music, a chili cook-off, and kids activities; all creating an enjoyable fall day.  Music for this year's festival will be provided by two bands; House Dunn, John and Jen, which will be performing from 11am to 4pm.
INFO: Specifications, rules, and entry information can be found on the festival's website at or contact the festival organizer Dave Jordan, Additional festival information can be found at or by contacting Heidi Dwyer at:

Monday, August 28, 2017

Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' in 27 Days, Shelburne Museum Mini-Pumpkin Chuckin' in 62 Days

Hey, all you Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' fans the 9th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival is now less than 4 weeks away. Sunday, September 24 is coming up fast. Hope all of you are having a great summer. All systems are go and we are all getting excited to see who has their trebuchets dialed in for maximum pumpkin chuckin' performance this year.

Don't forget we have a Chili Cook-off contest and great music also going on, to round out a great fall Sunday afternoon in Vermont. The weather has been great the last several years and we're counting on it again. Stay strong Houston.

We also want to the word out about the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont hosting their very first Mini Pumpkin Chuckin' competition at the end of October. Sounds like a great event and for our younger competitors, in the lightweight division, another fantastic opportunity to compete on a small scale. Adults and teams of up to eight can also compete at their 20 lb. trebuchet weight limit.

Shelburne Museum’s First Annual Mini Pumpkin Chuckin' at Haunted Happenings

Shelburne Museum's First Annual Mini Pumpkin Chuckin'

What’s a Mini Pumpkin Chuckin'? It’s where brilliant minds put their collective brains together in order to launch pumpkins through the air via a trebuchet (a type of catapult used to launch projectiles – like pumpkins)! On Sunday, October 29, during Shelburne Museum’s annual Haunted Happenings Family Day we will be hosting our first ever Mini Pumpkin Chuckin', with demonstrations at 10:30 am and 12:30 pm.

Shelburne Museum invites young and old, experienced chuckers and novices alike, to get creative and show the town what happens when science meet squash. This whimsical competition is open to teams of up to 8 individuals. Everyone is encouraged to participate – civic organizations, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4H’ers, local school groups, neighbors or families – and show off their engineering skills. There are two divisions: Junior for participants under the age of 17 and Adult. Each division is limited to 5 teams so early registration is encouraged!

All participants will gain free entry to other Haunted Happenings events. Accompanying family/guests need to purchase tickets. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased the day of Haunted Happenings at Shelburne Museum. Details here.

Also, don't forget the Jay Community Recreational Centre in Jay, VT would like to have a trebuchet or catapult demonstrate their pumpkin chuckin' prowess at their Fall event, which will be held on Saturday, October 7th, 2017, two weeks after our VTPC. If you are interested please contact: Sally Rivard, Jay Community Recreational Centre, tel: 802-318-1206.

Finally, we noticed that the big boy Delaware Punkin Chunkin event (WCPC) looks like it is not happening this year. Sad. So stay small, stay local and chunk your pumpkins, squash, and fresh fruit in Vermont.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

People's Choice Chili Cook-off Contest Info

For the fourth year in a row, the Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival is proud to offer a People’s Choice Chili Cook-off Contest during the festival. This year the chili contest/VTPC Festival is at Stoweflake Mountain Resort on Sunday, September 24th, 2017. Last year we had seven competitors and ran out of chili before the end of the festival. Keith Thompson, owner of Thompson’s flour shop in Morrisville, has graciously agreed to return to organize the competition for us. Help us keep this fun tradition going!

Information, Rules and Registration

Rules & Registration- (updated 8/11/17)

  • Entry fee is $10.00 (includes chef’s entry fee to festival). Pre-registration is preferred.
  • First prize is $100, 2nd place $50, 3rd place is $25.
  • Each competitor must supply 2 gallons of chili to be judged.
  • Tents and electricity will be provided. It is recommended that competitors bring extension cords.
  • Event will go on- rain or shine, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  • Some seating is provided for samplers. Bring your own, if desired.
  • Competitors will be ready to start serving their chili at 12:15pm. Please plan accordingly.
  • Samplers, bowls, napkins and spoons will be provided.
  • Contact Heidi Dwyer via email to register or to ask questions:

Please provide the following information to register for the contest:


Team name (optional):

Email address:

Telephone number:

Chili Recipe Name and Description:

Ingredients (optional):

Friday, June 30, 2017

3rd Annual Extreme Chunkin Event – Loudon, NH, October 14-15, 2017

Brian Labrie, captain of the current WCPCA Champion and World Record Holder (air cannon), Team American Chunker, sent us an invitation to his big New England event: ExtremeChunkin. It will be held on October 14-15, 2017, at the Louden, New Hampshire Speedway. Last year they had four trebuchets competing in the adult division and four in the youth division. Team Yankee Siege II won the trebuchet division last year with a throw of 2608.44 feet. Yankee Scout won the Eastern Propane and Fuel Youth division, four teams competing, with a throw of 491.43 feet. Anyone with an interest in the sport of pumpkin chunkin should head over to Loudon, NH, in October to either watch or compete.

New Hampshire Motor Speedway:
American Chunker Defends Title (Oct. 17, 2016)

2016 Extreme Chunkin - pumpkin hurling results
2016 Extreme Chunkin Results
Hi Dave,

I hope all is well with you and your chunkin group. The Extreme Chunkin crew would like to invite you again to the 3rd annual punkin chunkin event in Loudon, NH. If you have any teams that you think may want to make the journey we would like to formally invite them! Hope you can make it!



Thanks Brian,

Happy chunkin.

ExtremeChunkin 2017

Team American Chunker
Team American Chunker

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Final Results 2016 – World Championship Punkin Chunkin

Moonshiner, Tim Smith, with a few fans at the Punkin Chunk
Moonshiner, Tim Smith, with a few fans at the 2016 Punkin Chunk

The final results for the 2016 World Championship Punkin Chunkin were recently posted on their website. Because the accident happened during the final 3rd round of the Adult Air Cannon competition, and that chunk round was not completed, none of the chunks from that round were counted in the final results.
2016 Results -- here are some of the notable results...

Adult Air Cannons

Machine NameChunk 1Chunk 2
1stAmerican Chunker Inc3338.824305.82
2ndBig 10 Inchpie3866.58
3rdPlease Release Me3257.273864.48

Adult Trebuchet

Machine NameChunk 1Chunk 2Chunk 3
1stColossal Thunder2214.59pie2625.87
2ndYankee Seige II1860.152603.631643.53
3rdPunkin Hammerpie2509.441591.15

Youth Trebuchet

Machine NameChunk 1Chunk 2Chunk 3
1stStomach Virus-1171.55-
2ndTroop Six Shooter II333.57415.22-

10 and Under Trebuchet

Machine NameChunk 1Chunk 2Chunk 3
1stPumpkin Pirates434.22466.64550.43
2ndPop Pops Machine325.15499.16230.46
3rdSuper Ray Trebuchet97.89219.53227.7

Adult Human Power

Machine NameChunk 1Chunk 2Chunk 3
1stShooda Noed Beter2343.422287.841870.2
3rdGenes Machinebackfire991.021434.95

History lesson

The Colossal Thunder trebuchet team from Oklahoma have the current world record for a trebuchet, but with an asterisk. Their record throw of 3,288.6* feet in the Adult Trebuchet division was recorded in October, 2015 at the WCPC sanctioned punkin chunk in Aurora, Colorado, Punkin Chunkin Colorado, which is held at an elevation above 5,000 feet. Therefore two records are listed, with Yankee Siege II holding the closer to sea level record of 2835.81 feet, set in 2013, for an Adult Trebuchet.

Colossal Thunder Trebuchet team at 2015 Colorado Punkin Chunkin
Colossal Thunder trebuchet team at 2015 Colorado Punkin Chunkin

Mark Antonation / October 12, 2015 / :
Colorado Punkin Chunkin Squashes Hopes in Delaware Raises Readers Ire

WCPC pics:

Looking down the barrel of an air cannon at Punkin Chunkin
Looking down the barrel of an air cannon at Punkin Chunkin

Aerial view of 2016 Punkin Chunk
Aerial view of 2016 Punkin Chunk

Punkin Chunkin  pictures via PunkinChunkin Facebook page

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Status Report: World Championship Punkin Chunkin

The big boy Punkin Chunkin event in Delaware is at a crossroads following the tragic accident at their World Championship Punkin Chunkin (WCPC) in Bridgeville, Delaware, on Sunday, November 6th, 2016.

The latest news is that the competition has lost its broadcast deal with the Science Channel. That announcement was made in mid-February. But, the WCPC president, Frank Payton, did say that the 2017 Punkin Chunkin will still be held November 3rd - 5th at Wheatley Fields near Bridgeville, Delaware. Now, they just need to find some new partners/sponsors to help support the event.

Punkin Chunkin President Frank Payton holds press conference
WCPC President Frank Payton holds press conference
Feb, 13, 2016 /
Delaware Punkin Chunkin loses broadcast deal with Science Channel --
... Punkin Chunkin president Frank Payton says the Science Channel will not return to Delaware for the 2017 event. "With them withdrawing from the event, a major portion of the funding that we need to operate has left with them," Payton said. "We are in the market to establish new mutually beneficial partnerships for 2017."

Payton said the group already has a commitment from a farmer to host the event at Wheatley Farms near Bridgeville on Nov. 3-5, but they need more support to make it happen. "If you wish to see the Chunk continue, we need your support now more than ever," Payton said in a plea for help...
Here's the link to the WCPC Facebook video of the full press conference.

The details about the aftermath of the WCPC accident were not widely reported. Here is what happened.

During the last few hours of the WCPC competition, when the air cannons were completing their final round of firing, shortly before 2:40 pm, the "Pumpkin Reaper" air cannon blew a large metal trap door, about the size of a car door, off of it's air tank during their 3rd and final shot. The metal door flew about 30 to 40 feet high in the air and landed on two people, a 39-year-old women and a 56-year-old man. The most seriously injured was the women, Suzanne Dakessain, a video producer for the Science Channel. The heavy metal plate had hit her on the head. Ms. Dakessian was stabilized at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and then flown to Christiana Hospital. She needed emergency surgery to remove part of her skull in order to relieve brain swelling and save her life. The male victim was also taken to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. He received treatment for non-life-threatening injuries.

Suzanne Dakessian in the hospital after the Punkin Chunkin explosion
Suzanne Dakessian needed emergency surgery after the Punkin Chunkin accident

"There's a piece of bone missing from my head right now," Dakessian said. "I look in the mirror and see these purple raccoon eyes. Before this accident, my life was easy. My biggest concern was getting to work on time. Now, I struggle putting on a jacket. I struggle zipping a zipper. I struggle opening a sugar packet. Right now everything is very unpredictable but I'm just trying to stay hopeful."
As of late November, Ms. Dakessian was blind in one eye and she could not move one of her hands. She still required more surgery and she was transferring to New Jersey to take rehab.

Best wishes to Suzanne Dakessian for her speedy recovery.
Pieces of ironically named "Pumpkin Reaper" are blown off the air cannon


Suzanne Dakessian before accident9
Suzanne Dakessian before accident
Lisa Rose / Nov. 28, 2016 / CNN:
Injured 'Punkin Chunkin' producer disappointed show is off, faces long recovery --
Suzanne Dakessian's memory of the explosion is hazy. She ran as a large metal plate flew toward where she and other TV crew members were standing.

For a split second, she turned to see where the debris might land. That's when the plate struck her head.

I tried to run and I didn't make it," Dakessian said.

The 39-year-old New York television producer nearly died this month on a clear blue Sunday in a Delaware soybean field, where she was chronicling the 2016 World Championship Punkin Chunkin for the Science Channel...


Although the final results were not formally published by WCPC, news reports from the event said that on the last day of the 2016 World Championship Punkin Chunkin competition the trebuchet, Colossal Thunder, from the Northeast Technology Center in Afton, Oklahoma, had won. This machine was built by high school welding students, who had won the youth trebuchet championship in 2013. This time they took home the adult championship, with a throw of 2,625 feet on the final day. Good job out of you OK folks.

Colossal Thunder - 2016 Adult Trebuchet Champions

Also, the New Hampshire air cannon, American Chunker, had fired a pumpkin 4,305.92 feet on Day 2 of the event. So it was apparently leading that competition, when the event was cancelled on Sunday following the accident. Good job out of American Chunker; Brian Labrie and his team did it again.

The American Chunker website has a bunch of nice pictures that were taken at the 2016 WTPC in Bridgeville, Delaware, including this last one:

Punkin Chunkin Warning Sign - activities are inherently dangerous

2 hurt, 1 critically, after Punkin Chunkin explosion --

Lisa Rose / November 21, 2016 / CNN:
At Punkin Chunkin smashing pumpkins is a celebration of America --

More chunks:

There are now only 186 days until the Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival on Sunday, September 23, 2017. Do you know where your pumpkins are?

BTW, the Jay Community Recreational Centre in Jay, VT would like to have a trebuchet or catapult demonstrate their pumpkin chuckin' prowess at their fall event, which will be held on Saturday, October 7th, 2017, two weeks after our VTPC. If you are interested please contact:

Sally Rivard, Chair
Jay Community Recreational Centre
285 North Jay Road
Jay, VT 05859
tel: 802-318-1206