Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Results of the 10th annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin Festival

Results of the 10th annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival (Sept. 30, 2018):

We had a beautiful day at the Stoweflake Resort and Spa for the 10th annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin Festival with 16 trebuchet teams competing and one spring-loaded catapult in the “throw for show” category. We also had 6 teams competing in the Chili Cookoff, two bands playing, and plenty of free kid activities like face-painting and tic-tac-toe. All the money raised went towards the Clarina Howard Nichols Center which aims to prevent domestic and sexual violence. This was the Clarina Howard Center’s first time running the event and they did an excellent job.

Father/Son sweep!

Two years ago we had a Father/Son sweep when Dave Jordan won the Grand Champion Best Design with a record-breaking throw of 689 feet and his dad, Don Jordan won the hyper-competitive Middleweight Open Division. This year, Jonathan Stapleton’s “walking arm” trebuchet threw a record-breaking 700 feet (we still haven’t found the pumpkin yet) and his son Orion, threw an ever more amazing 780 feet (scaled up) in the Lightweight division (also a new record). This is the first time in the history of the festival that a Lightweight competitor won the Grand Prize. Both competitors used a unique design which is described as a stick falling over with a huge counterweight on top of the stick. When the “stick” falls about halfway down, it lands on the triangular frame which causes the other end of the stick to violently jerk upwards. The pumpkin starts UNDER the stick in the sling and when the stick jerks up the pumpkin is slung like a soccer player doing a flip before a throw in.


All distances are scaled up to what they would throw if they were 10 feet tall (the Heavyweight max height). If any of the trebuchets are over-height or overweight, there is a penalty proportional to the amount they are over. For example, if a trebuchet is 5% overweight or over-height, they are penalized roughly 5% to make it fair for all the competitors.

Lightweight Division: Limited to kids 10 and under, trebuchet must be under 41” and 20 pounds, they throw a gourd that weighs at least 3 ounces:
  1. First place: Demolisher, Orion Stapleton, 266 feet, scaled up to 780 feet ($100 cash and first place Lightweight trophy) 
  2. Second place: Elephant 1, Theresa, 86 feet, scaled up to 251 feet (second place Lightweight trophy) 
  3. Third place: Draft 1, Gwendolyn Johnson, 96 feet, scaled up to 212 feet (penalty for over-height or overweight) (third place Lightweight trophy) 
  4. Fourth place: Elephant 2, Theresa, 69 feet, scaled up to 202 feet 
  5. Fifth place: Kitty, Theresa, 46 feet, scaled up to 135 feet

Middleweight Junior Division: Limited to kids 17 and under, trebuchet must be under 70” and 100 pounds, they throw a pumpkin that weighs at least 1 pound:
  1. First place: Girls Rock, Tom Knight, 199 feet, scaled up to 341 feet ($50 cash and first place Middleweight Junior trophy) 
  2. Second place: Max D 23, Steven McCann, 174 feet, scaled up to 299 feet (second place Middleweight Junior trophy) 
  3. Third place: Tamed Lightning, Ethan Garrison, 168 feet, scaled up to 183 feet (penalty for overheight or overweight) (third place Middleweight Junior trophy) 

Middleweight Open Division: Open to all ages, trebuchet must be under 70” and 100 pounds, they throw a pumpkin that weighs at least 1 pound:
  1. First place: Max D 23, Steven McCann, 172 feet, scaled up to 295 feet ($50 cash and first place Middleweight Open trophy) 
  2. Second place: Team Jordan, Don Jordan, 90 feet, scaled up to 154 feet (second place Middleweight Open trophy) 
  3. Third place: Welands Sword, Barclay Johnson, 80 feet, scaled up to 132 feet (third place Middleweight Open trophy)

Heavyweight Division: Open to all ages, trebuchet must be under 10 feet and 500 pounds, they throw a pumpkin that weighs at least 5 pounds:

  1. First place: Controlled Chaos, Jonathan Stapleton, 700 feet, scaled to 700 feet (new world record in the heavyweight division) ($50 cash and first place Heavyweight trophy)
  2. Second place: Weapons of Medieval Destruction, Nick Helms, 381 feet, scaled up to 293 (penalty for overheight or overweight) (second place Heavyweight trophy)
  3. Third place: Yankee Light, Kathy Sieger, 69 feet, scaled to 63 feet (penalty for overheight or overweight) (third place Heavyweight trophy)
  4. Fourth place: Redneck Wreckers, Ryan Brown, 43 feet, scaled up to 43 feet
  5. Fifth place: Boomer, Dave Jordan, 0 feet, scaled up to 0 feet

Grand Champion Best Design: Demolisher, Orion Stapleton, 266 feet, scaled up to 780 feet (a new world record in the competition and lightweight division)

Throw for show category:
We allow other types of catapults (as long as they are safe) and Xander brought his spring-loaded catapult and restricted his springs to throw within the field for our spectator’s enjoyment and safety. Thanks Xander!

Chili Cookoff results:

We had six competitors in the chili cookoff with the spectators voting with their stomachs. Thanks to Deb’s Place for volunteering to run the cookoff.
  1. First prize: Sweet Kicken Chicken Chili, $100 cash and first place trophy
  2. Second prize: Deb’s Place, $50 cash and second place trophy
  3. Third prize: Sunset Grill, $25 cash and third place trophy 
John Smyth played his original music while the competitors set up and then House Dunn (Mike Dunn, Isabela Dunn and Jocelyn Dunn) took over and rocked the festival until the end. House Dunn also provided the sound system for the festival so our Master of Ceremonies could be heard throughout the field.

Thanks to our sponsors:
A big thanks to our main sponsor, the Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa for letting us use their beautiful event field for free. Thanks to the other sponsors:

Heavyweight category:
  • North Country Federal Credit Union 

Middleweight category:
  • Casella
  • Community National Bank
  • Union Bank 

Lightweight category:
  • MSI Group
  • Donald Blake Junior, Inc.
  • Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley
  • Edward Jones
  • Stowe UPS store
  • Alchemist
  • Stowe Soaring
  • Umiak
  • Stowe Motel
  • Deb’s Place
  • PP&D Brochure Distribution


Thanks to our Master of Ceremonies, Bruce Wallace and his family who has come up the last 8 years from Connecticut; John Prittie who also came up from Connecticut to help run things, spot pumpkins and set up safety lines, Tom Wachtler and Nikki Williams for doing the record keeping and registration; Bob Gross for weighing and measuring the trebuchets; Dan McLaughlin for helping transport, setup and break down the music tent; Richard Spreda for repairing Don Jordan’s trebuchet so he could compete; Kevin and Philana Armstrong for preparing to run the cornhole tournament, even though it was cancelled.

And a special thanks to Becky Gonyea the executive director of the Clarina Howard Nichols Center for helping run, plan and execute the event with the help of her twenty volunteers. They were responsible for parking, collecting money, selling T-shirts, providing free kid events and probably a lot of other things that I was not aware of.

We look forward to the next festival planned for September 29, 2019!

Dave Jordan
Festival organizer
161 Henway Road
Morrisville, VT 05661