Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Punkin' Chunkin'

Halloween has always been in a league of its own. But as you get older and the more of an idiot you look dressed up each year, the holiday loses much of its appeal. So what do you get after a night of handing out candy? An empty bag of candy and some rotting pumpkins on your porch. Well, about twenty years ago, a couple of men in Delaware found a more enjoyable use for this fruit then just making scary faces.

I speak of the new art of “punkin’ chunkin’”, where one attempts to throw a pumpkin as far as possible with some mechanical device. Yet for the competitors who matter, there is only one place to throw pumpkins. The World Championship Punkin’ Chunkin’ contest is held every year on the first weekend after Halloween in Sussex County, Delaware. Here teams are divided into different classes including catapults, trebuchets, centrifugal machines, and pneumatic air cannons; only battling against those in their class.


air cannon

Punkin’ chukin’ may sound like a redneck paluza but this event is very popular. In 2007, the competition drew more than 20,000 people and $100,000 dollars in ticket sales of which over 60% was given to charities. And when pumpkins aren’t flying, there is a carnival holding amusement rides, and a pumpkin cooking contest.

Each machine enrolls in different contests including height, fan favorite, straightness, and range. The teams get three chances to hurl their specimens out of which only their best launch will be recorded. The association usually only fires white pumpkins because they have a thicker rind and better withstands the forces exerted upon them.

Did you know?- The current world record for longest pumpkin chuck is held by Young Glory III of the Adult Air division at 4483 feet!

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