Pumpkin Chuckin' - THE GREAT PUMPKIN LAUNCH - Spring loaded and catapults

I learned this month that the possibilities for re-using and recycling those Halloween pumpkins can be almost endless and lots of fun.

I had the first time experience this month of attending a community PUMPKIN LAUNCH. Teams created their own pumpkin launching device to launch their pumpkins for distance and accuracy. I walked way with a bigger appreciation for what it took to build catapults and launching devices during Medieval times.

As one team's T-shirt proclaimed: "It's a pumpkin chuckin' thing" - you have to experience it to truly appreciate how much fun both adults and kids can have chuckin' pumpkins and watching them go "splat".

Here in Bloomington, IN, each entry competed twice for distance and twice for accuracy. The launching device requirements were very simple:

  • Teams were required to create a launching device by combining at least two separate components, both of which had to be central to the function of the device.
  • The device had to be mechanical only (i.e. no fuel, compressed air, electricity, explosive or other chemical components or any other fluids)
  • The device could be as small or as big as the heart desired - no weight limit.

The result - a diverse group of teams and a wide array of cool launching devices!

BPG9000 @ the Pumpkin Launch 9000
BPG9000 @ the Pumpkin Launch 9000 | Source

The Big Pumpkin Launch

The types of devices ranged from spring loaded canons to both large and small catapults and trebuchets. And of course, each device was deserving of an innovative name:

"BPG9000" - The "Big Pumpkin G 9000" was the most impressive - (shown to the side) - it was a spring loaded capable of launching a 4-5 pound pumpkins over 650 feet.

" FahrFunFlinger" - also spring loaded, gave the BPG9000 a run for it's money - also launching it's pumpkins over 600 feet.

"Tetnus Express" - while it trailed behind the "big boys" for most of the event, it was an impressive catapult.

"The Pumpkin Avenger" - created out of a little fun family rivalry - the kids of the "FarhFunFlinger" created their own launcher.

World Championship Punkin Chunkin

Yes, you read it right - it's "Punkin" , not "Pumpkin" - and there is a world championship.

The World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association [TM] is a nonprofit organization that hosts a signature pumpkin launching event that draws many spectators each year. Also known as the WCPCA, the association and the event spark innovative engineering ideas and raises money for scholarships and organizations that benefit youth.

From the WCPCA: "We believe that Punkin Chunkin cultivates the odd, challenging, and competitive quest for distance that inspires creativity, ingenuity, teamwork, and passion. It is this very dedication that drives teams to compete using science and engineering skills and brings spectators to the gate which allows us to continue our never ending thirst to support our scholarship and charitable programs"

Where is this event held?

"The Chunk", as they so fondly refer to it, is held at the Royal Farms in Bridgeville, Delaware. And while we've all missed this year's championship event, the countdown to next year's event is already on...

Click on the WCPCA link above to get the updated ticker from the official website!

There appears to be a Punkin' Chunkin Pageant as part of the festivities - and while details of the pageant requirements are not listed specifically, who wouldn't want to enter? Event organizers have posted: "all contestants go home with a tiara and sash!"

More WCPCA events include a Chili Cookoff and a Cooking Contest.

Pumpkins not just for chuckin'...

If you are not into pumpkin launching or chuckin', there are still some fun uses for leftover small pumpkins...(these were great events for the little kids at our local pumpkin launch):

* Pumpkin Bowling

* Pumpkin Bocce

* Pumpkin Croquet

And of course....food!

* Pumpkin Cheesecake

* Pumpkin Pie

* Pumpkin Soup

* Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins

* Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

The possibilities are endless!

You can check more out the 10 Pumpkin Recipes for Thanksgiving shared by randomcreative

And, you can always leave them for the "Pumpkin Coroners" - I love this hub: "Coroners who came for our beautiful pumpkins...." by holdmycoffee

And I'll leave you with one more daring pumpkin possibility (only to be watched as a spectator - don't try this at home!)

Build Your Own Catapult or Trebuchet

Want to learn how to make a catapult or trebuchet?

There are several books out there covering the history and the logistics of how catapults and trebuchets are built. The Amazon book to the right is one for starters - it was a well received as a holiday gift for one of my family members.

There are built your own miniature kits (which also make great gifts for kids or even adults that like models). Once the art is learned at a miniature level, there's always the possibility of scaling up!


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Comments 20 comments

Purple Turtle profile image

Purple Turtle 5 years ago from Home

This is cool I have seen Pumpkin Launching on TV a few years ago. There was some contest about how far home made launchers could propel them. It was pretty cool to watch.


kellymom1970 profile image

kellymom1970 5 years ago

Kris,What a great hub! I have seen this on TV but never in person. I think I would like to see it live. Very good job.


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 5 years ago from Indiana Author

Purple Turtle and Kelleymom1970...I can't believe it's taking me this long to see one. I've not seen it on TV and I just happened to get lucky and catch it in person here. They only do it here every 3 or 4 years! Thanks for stopping by!


kellymom1970 profile image

kellymom1970 5 years ago

Kris, I love to watch the discovery and history channel, I think it was on modern marvels, I think one can shoot it like a mile or something like that. I love your hubs


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Interesting topic for a hub! Thanks for linking my pumpkin recipe hub here!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 5 years ago from North Carolina

I love it when a hub makes me smile. What fun! Thank you.


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 5 years ago from Indiana Author

Tammy - thanks for stopping by and I'm glad it made you smile:)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

I can see where this would be a fun event to see in person. Enjoyed the cute names of the "punkin" launchers as well as hearing about the competition. Did you stay to watch the pageant? I would imagine that the costumes were also fun to see. Very entertaining hub! Thanks!


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 5 years ago from Indiana Author

Our local Pumpkin Launch did not have a pageant but the national one in Delaware does - I might drop them a note to see if they will post video in the future!


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

Never heard of such a thing - too cool. Great hub - thanks for the enjoyable read.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

I've never been to one, but I've speculated about what the event would be if rutabagas are the ammo. Loved this read!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

What a hoot! :) Perhaps all your readers should plan to meet in Delaware next year!

Seems like it would be a fun and interesting event. :)


Leaderofmany profile image

Leaderofmany 5 years ago from Back Home in Indiana

I knew about the one in Delaware, I had lived there for several years and it was a major sport this time of year. I am an Indiana girl, transplanted elsewhere due to military, so its interesting to know that my home state has a pumpkin chunkin. May have to travel up next year and see the chunkin.


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 5 years ago from Indiana Author

Leaderofmany - thanks for stopping by! The one here in Bloomington that I went too apparently is only offered every few years. I just got lucky and happened to stumble upon it. I think it would be great as a yearly event - they certainly had quite a crowd come out for it!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota

What a blast (hee hee) of a hub. I want to launch my 'punkins' next year. Thank you so much Kris for putting my pumpkin seed recipe link on this hub. I really appreciate it! Rated up and hit every button in this one.


Marlin 55 profile image

Marlin 55 5 years ago from USA

That was great! I didn't know there were so many things you could do with a pumpkin, and I think it's great that it also raises money for charity. Great article.


Hillbilly Zen profile image

Hillbilly Zen 5 years ago from Kentucky

Uhh huh. You've got this sweet little face, and you're practically a rocket scientist and you're a quilter, yet here you are on HubPages inciting decent folks to fling flaming gourds. I've got my eye on you, missy....

This made me laugh out loud, Ms. Kris. Thank you so much! Voted up, funny and awesome.


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 5 years ago from Indiana Author

Hillbilly Zen - thanks for the fun commentary. We scientists can get bored stuck in a lab all day - we gotta let it out somehow:)


Deerwhisperer profile image

Deerwhisperer 5 years ago from Bradenton, Florida

I've always wanted to attend an event such as that, but never had the opportunity. But maybe now that there is one starting here in Michigan (but I'm not exactly sure where) I'll get to go. Sounds like fun. I voted up, funny, and interesting. Great hub!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

This was fun to read and I actually laughed out loud at some of the punkin chunker equipment names. I imagaine, though I wouldn't know for sure, that in Texas we use spent pumpkins for shooting practice. You had me going with your build up of that last video. Amazing - flaming orbs of vegetables. So Medieval. Well done!

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