Chunkin' Punkin's

During the first weekend of November, I had the opportunity to serve as a member of a survey team for this year’s 26th Annual World Punkin’ Chunkin' Championship in Seaford, Delaware—a contest to see who can chuck a pumpkin the farthest, with proceeds going to several different charities. Invited to join the team by Mike Earley, president of Merestone Consultants, Inc., I couldn’t resist!

The team consisted of six members—three located at the cannons/catapults and three in the field to measure each pumpkin’s distance traveled. I was a distance measurer—literally in the line of fire! I utilized GPS to establish the coordinates of each pumpkin’s impact site and inversed coordinates at the end of the cannon/catapult to determine the horizontal distance of the pumpkin’s flight.

There were several categories of launching techniques. The most impressive were the air cannons, with the winner (“Second Amendment Too”) firing the potential pie an astounding distance of 4,329.37 feet! In second place was a catapult winner (“Sir Chunk-a-Lot”), launching a squash-like fruit 2,206.04 feet. In addition to these events were children’s launches, centrifugal launches, trebuchet launches, and human power and torsion launches. Participating in the children’s launches was inspirational. With some contestants as young as three years old, seeing the glow on their faces—even if their pumpkins only went a couple of feet—was heartwarming.

The event will be televised this week on Thanksgiving Day at 8:00 p.m. EST on the Discovery and Sciences channels. If you look hard enough, you’ll see me in the infield with the cannons wearing a lime green safety vest!

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