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Punkin Chunkin'

Updated on October 6, 2014

Chunkers for a Cause

Why chunk pumpkins? Well, why not? The good folks of Bridgeville Delaware have made a sport out of it. A few friends got the pulpy idea after they learned about a nearby physics class throwing pumpkins to study mass, and thought it sounded fun! It started back in 1986, and it has since grown to an event which now draws crowds into the tens of thousands. The Annual World Championship Punkin' Chunkin' event is sponsored by the Punkin' Chunkin' Association. In 2011 there were 72 teams!

All money raised by the Association is contributed to charity.

The 2011 event was filmed by the Science Channel for a Thanksgiving premiere show.

Important 2014 Update: This year's event has been cancelled - largely due to problems with permits at new location. Next year's event set to go on as planned. Organizers say that timing was a factor. As the event grows, venues become more difficult to obtain.

Colorado's event takes place as scheduled.

Photo by vpickering

Air Cannons
Air Cannons

Categories of Design

The Punkin Chunkin' Machines

The devices used for punkin chunkin' have a couple of guidelines. They cannot be electric, and no use of explosives is allowed.

There are 6 basic Punkin' Chunkin' Styles. Each one has its advantages and special features.

The Classic Trebuchet come from traditional throwing devices which hearken back to medeival times. It harnesses the energy of a raised counterweight to propel or "chunk" the pumpkins. It may not be the most powerful, but what style!

The Centrifugal Style machine uses a standard engine to swing a long arm holding the Pumpkin in a large circle, gradually building up force and hurling the pumpkin at a breakneck speed!

The Catapult is the most basic punkin' chunkin' machine, which is basically a giant slingshot. The most ancient device on the Punkin Chunkin Field - the catapult was invented by the Greeks!

One of the most interesting is Torsion, which uses the force of unleashing a highly twisted rope. It can be really dangerous, so stay clear!

The most powerful so far, by far, is the Air Cannon. These cannons use compressed air held in by a valve, which when released, shoots the pumpkin high and far!

The last category is the most entertaining - the Theatrical category teams have no desire to chunk far, only to chunk with savvy and style.

There is actually another category, although it uses no machine, but is based solely on Human Power

Plus, there's Punkin Chunkin'!

"it's simply not possible to set the bar any lower. We could not in good conscience make science any more mindless or insultingly juvenile. We already have a show called Really Big Things, which is just ridiculous if you think about it, and one called Heavy Metal Taskforce, which I guess deals with science on some distant level, though I don't know what it is. Plus, there's Punkin Chunkin."

Science Channel president Clark Bunting

25th Anniversary Motto

25th Anniversary Motto
25th Anniversary Motto

World Record for firing a Pumpkin

A pneumatic air cannon named 'Big 10 Inch' holds the current world record by firing a pumpkin 5,545.43 feet. The world record shot took place September 9, 2010 in Moab, Utah (That's a little more than I mile, folks!)

The Yankee Siege - Giant Trebuchet

Yankee Seige
Yankee Seige

Team Yankee Siege has created a bit of a fuss! They came in and beat out the local champions, and raised the bar for technical prowess. They are the team to beat for sure!

Another team to watch? Team Chucky! They like to lay down the smack! Do they have what it takes?

More on Punkin Chunkin - and the Chunkers who Chunk

Nitty Gritty on the Pumpkin Chunkin Event and all the fun stuff about it!

Have you ever watched a Punkin' Chunkin"? - Or Chunked one yourself?

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    • DreamingBoomer profile image

      Karen Kay 3 years ago from Jackson, MS

      So true goatfury! These people really take it seriously too! I think it's a hoot! Glad you're now informed, Billybuc - thanks y'all!

    • goatfury profile image

      Andrew Smith 3 years ago from Richmond, VA

      This is awesome. These are some of the good things that can happen when nerds set their minds to mischief (as they are wont to do).

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      News to me. I've never heard of this....will wonders never cease? :)

    • DreamingBoomer profile image

      Karen Kay 4 years ago from Jackson, MS

      @geosum: Yikes! Must be awesome to finally arrive!

    • geosum profile image

      geosum 4 years ago

      Attended once. The last two miles getting there took more than an hour....

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I've watched it and I went! I made a lens and just found and added yours here to it for more info on the event. I saw someone with a squid hat on, do you happen to know if any other squidoos were there?

    • DreamingBoomer profile image

      Karen Kay 6 years ago from Jackson, MS

      @Nancy Hardin: Thanks Nancy! I got to hand it to these folks - who would have thought it would catch on? You never know!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I've only watched a punkin chunkin on TV...the show Little People, Big World. They used a trebuchet. Just think of all the wild pumpkins that might show up once those seeds get dumped all over the place, haha! This is a fun lens, thanks for sharing.