Pumpkin chunking

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"Punkin Chunkin" redirects here. For the "Modern Family" episode, see Punkin Chunkin (Modern Family).
"Big 10 Inch" takes a world record shot in Moab, Utah, September 9, 2010

Pumpkin Chucking, or for rhyming purposes Punkin Chunkin, is the sport of hurling or 'chucking' a pumpkin solely by mechanical means for distance. The devices used include slingshots, catapults, centrifugals, trebuchets, and pneumatic cannons.

Pumpkin chucking competitions, formal and informal, exist throughout the United States in the autumn, and often occur when pumpkins are harvested.[1] World Championship Punkin Chunkin, held annually in November in Delaware by the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association (WCPCA), is the oldest and largest annual competition. The event began in 1986, and in 2010 featured over 100 teams. A European Championship has been held in Bikschote, Belgium each year since 2004.

The Guinness world record shot is held by a pneumatic cannon dubbed "Big 10 Inch", at 5,545.43 feet (1,690.25 m), on September 9, 2010 in Moab, Utah.[2] The shot received certification from Guinness World Records in early February 2011.[3] It has also competed many times at the WCPC event in Delaware. The WCPCA World Record, which includes only shots made at the annual World Championship event, is held by Team American Chunker, captained by Brian Labrie of New Hampshire, at 4,694.68 feet (1,430.94 m) on November 1, 2013 in Bridgeville, Delaware, the longest shot in event history.

The range achieved by devices greatly depends on their mass, shape, and size; the yield limits, stiffness, pitch, and elevation of the hurler; and the weather. The pumpkin is another important variable since sabots are often prohibited in competitions. The most common pumpkin varieties used are Caspers, Luminas, and La Estrellas – these varieties typically have thicker rinds and can better withstand the forces of launch. One of the core rules for competition is that the pumpkin must remain whole after leaving the device until hitting the ground for the chunk to count. Pumpkins that burst after leaving the barrel or sling — resulting in the "shot" being disqualified in the WCPC rules — are referred to as "pie" (short for "pumpkin pie in the sky").

World Championship Punkin Chunkin[edit]

Video of a pressurized air pumpkin cannon being fired.
"Yankee Siege" trebuchet, from New Hampshire, at 2008 Punkin' Chunkin'

World Championship Punkin Chunkin (WCPC) is the name of an annual contest held the first full weekend after Halloween in Delaware. It is governed by the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association (WCPCA).

Teams compete in the following divisions: Air Cannon, Female Air Cannon, Centrifugal, Catapult, Torsion, Trebuchet, Human Powered, Centrifugal Human Powered, Youth Air Cannon, Youth Catapult, Youth Trebuchet, Youth Human Powered, Youth 10 & Under, and Theatrical. Each division competes strictly for distance except for the Theatrical division which relies on a fan vote. The teams get three shots, one taken on each of three consecutive days. Only a team's longest shot is scored for official results. Spotters riding on ATVs find the impact point, and then a professional surveyor calculates the distance based on GPS coordinates of the impact and the machine. The impact point is marked with color-coded spray paint to avoid confusion with future shots.

For the entertainment of spectators, the event also features amusement rides, food vendors, fireworks, live concerts, a pumpkin cooking contest, a chili cook-off, the Miss Punkin Chunkin pageant, and other attractions.

The WCPCA takes measures to protect participants and spectators, with the only fatality in the event's history being a duck hit by a pumpkin that had been shot out of an air cannon.

The event originated in 1986, and early in its history convened in Lewes, Delaware. Due to increasing space requirements (distance of shots, number of teams, and number of spectators) new locations in Sussex County had to be found. In 2007, WCPC moved to its current location (at 38°43′20″N 75°32′08″W / 38.72222°N 75.53556°W / 38.72222; -75.53556) in Bridgeville, near the intersection of Seashore Highway and Chaplains Chapel Road. Starting with the 2014 WCPCA event, festivities are being held in Dover, Delaware. About 75 teams competed, the event drew more than 20,000 people, and grossed more than $800,000 in ticket sales and associated revenues. More than 70% of that money would be donated to a variety of community organizations.[4]

Science Channel coverage[edit]

The Science Channel currently owns the television broadcast rights to the WCPC contest. After the 2010 event the WCPCA and the Science Channel agreed to a new 3-year contract that runs through the 2013 WCPC. In 2009 and 2010 the "Punkin Chunkin" special aired on tape delay on Thanksgiving Day. Each year of coverage thus far has featured an hour long special titled "Road to the Chunk" that preceded coverage of the WCPC event. The previous year's contest is shown around Halloween and sporadically throughout the year. Road to Punkin Chunkin 2011 featured three 30-minute episodes airing weekly leading up to Thanksgiving.[citation needed]

The first televised Punkin Chunkin special was aired by the Discovery Channel in 2002, hosted by Bryan Callen. In 2008, after a six-year hiatus, Punkin Chunkin returned to cable television on the Science channel as a 1-hour program, hosted by Brad Sherwood. By 2010, the special had become two hours long. That year it was hosted by Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage of the Discovery Channel program MythBusters. Since 2011, the special has been hosted by MythBusters "Build Team" members Tory Belleci, Kari Byron, and Grant Imahara.

World Championship Punkin Chunkin Champions[edit]

YearTeam NameDistance (feet)
2013American Chunker Inc4,694.68
2012Young Glory III3,887.92
2011Second Amendment Too4,329.37
2010[5]Hormone Blaster3,755.65
2009[6]Big 10 Inch4,162.65
2008Young Glory III4,483.51
2007Big 10 Inch4,211.27
20062nd Amendment3,870.50
20052nd Amendment4,331.72
2004Old Glory4,224.00
20032nd Amendment4,434.28
20022nd Amendment3,881.54
2001Old Glory3,911.02
2000Old Glory4,086
1999Big 10 Inch3,695
1998Q36 Pumpkin Modulator4,026
1997Universal Soldier3,718
1996Q36 Pumpkin Modulator2,710
1995Mello Yellow2,655
1994Universal Soldier2,508
1993Under Pressure1,204
1992De Terminator852
1991Ultimate Warrior776
1990Ultimate Warrior775
1989John Ellsworth612
1988Melson - Thompson600
1987Melson - Thompson300
1986Melson - Thompson178

World Championship Punkin Chunkin Records[edit]

As of November 2013, the world records to have been established at the WCPC event are:[7]

Machine ClassTeam NameDistance (feet)Year
Adult AirAmerican Chunker Inc4,694.682013
Adult Female AirHormone Blaster4,382.962013
Adult CentrifugalBad To The Bone3,245.582013
Adult CatapultFibonacci Unlimited II2,862.282005
Adult TrebuchetYankee Siege II2,835.812013
Adult Human PoweredShooda Noed Beter2,048.522013
Adult TorsionChucky III3,636.392011
Adult Centrifugal Human PoweredSmokin Lamas1,776.372013
Youth AirSnot Rocket4,206.322013
Youth CatapultThe Plague1,568.822011
Youth TrebuchetColossal Thunder2,402.632013
Youth Human PoweredStomach Virus1,230.122013
Youth 10 & UnderLittle Blaster1,939.812002
Youth 10 & Under CatapultJersey Devil1,272.642013
Youth 10 & Under TrebuchetPumpkin Pirates418.992013

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "How far will a pumpkin fly?". MSNBC. Associated Press. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  2. ^ Jeff Richards (2010-09-16). "Pumpkin chucking team sets new world record with one-mile launch". The Times-Independent. 
  3. ^ "Guinness World Records – Farthest Distance to Fire a Pumpkin". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  4. ^ "Punkin Chunkin Founders Honored at Ceremony". World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  5. ^ "World Championship Punkin Chunkin – 2010 Results". World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  6. ^ "World Championship Punkin Chunkin – 2009 Results". World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  7. ^ "World Championship Punkin Chunkin – Event Records". World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 

External links[edit]