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!
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
* Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
The possibilities are endless!
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!