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Punkin Chunk 2001
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The year 2001 Punkin Chunk was the second year we used our human powered centripetal machine Pumpkin Putter. We had a great time, suffered more catastrophes, and got a lot of great help from some of our competitors. Our best shot of the show was our last, at 99.7 ft.

No new wold records were set this year, but a pumpkin did fly over 3900 ft out the barrel of the world record holder, Old Glory. There were also several victims this year, including a duck slain by Bad to the Bone, and a lawn chair crushed by Hypertension.

Our team before leaving, standing in front of Roger's truck, filled with equipment. From left to right: Kevin Johnson, Jeff DelPapa, Dave Shepard, Elsa Zuniga, Eric Ludlam, and Roger Nichols.


A pit stop on the way to the chunk at Mellon Mania. Unfortunately they were closed, and we couldn't buy anything. :(


Ron Tom's booth at the chunk. If you missed buying one of his model catapult machines here, you can still buy a machine online instead.


Assembling the Pumpkin Putter. You can see Kevin assembling an upright while Jeff connects the bicycle to our new bicycle stand.


Oh no! We have competition this year from Junkyard Spinner. Their machine was powered by a large 8 cylinder engine. The engine was hoisted in the air, and when it fell, would spin the arm. Their longest throw left from the pouch and impaled itself on their fulcrum.


I climbed up in the machine, and took a picture of the catapult firing line. Starting at the boldly labeled Onager, you can then see Junkyard Spinner, an interesting automotive coil spring machine Destrier, and Splat Cat. There were many other nifty machines past that including youth division catapults.


Down the other side of the line, we start with Gene's Machine, Pumpkin Air which is a very cool Floating arm cam pivot trebuchet. Next is Loch Ness, a beautiful recreation of the machines available on the Nova episode of Medieval Siege. Next in line is Hurling Melvin, Man Killer, and Del's Destroyer before the machines become too small to see.


Roger stands atop the 'Putter and tests the tension in our stays. If the stays were too lose, the arms could potentially come flying out of the machine. As far as the tone he was testing for, I haven't the foggiest idea.


Gene's Machine, here operated by Jim, snagged 1st place in the human powered division with a chunk of 1418.32 feet.


Pumpkin Air had the cool catch phrase "You grow 'em, We throw 'em". This cam oriented floating arm trebuchet took second place in the trebuchet division with a chunk of 614.58 feet. It was a nifty thing to behold.


Man Killer is a traditional hinged counterweight trebuchet. The weight, however, is a platform with seat belts. Four brave souls would strap in, and launch a pumpkin. Team mate Jeff took a ride, and said "It was a really fun thing to do... once."


You cannot escape from the pumpkin dressed babies in the Pit area. They draw you in and makes fellow parents go Awwww.


The current champions, Old Glory, drove the World Championship Punkin Chunkin trophy about a few times each day, just to remind people that they were there. Old Glory was the farthest cannon from the crowd, so it was important for them to get a little face time.



What's a chunk without wenches and gold? The pirates of Punkin Chunkin' returned with their wenches, and a chest of golden pumpkins. At the end of their skit, they launched a pumpkin at Bin Laden.


John Huber was back with Hypertension, and was pleased as punch when he got a new personal record of 1578 feet in the unlimited catapult division. New springs were donated to him by an Ohio spring company. When he put them all on, he couldn't crank the machine down with his winch anymore. Using both the winch and his bicycle crank, he was eventually able to get that arm down. The resulting shot was really impressive.


Bad to the Bone returned, and chunked 2134.2 feet taking first place in the unlimited centripetal division. Unfortunately, one of his shots killed a duck in the pond. He was arrested on the spot for hunting out of season. Fortunately, the governess of Delaware was there (delivering a new transmission for Determinator who had transmission problems) and pardoned him.


Kryptonite is (i think) a new cannon this year. This spiffy new cannon makes quite a noise. They had a distance of 2846 feet.


Spookey Bazookie took first place last year in the human powered division with a chunk of 1334 feet last year. This year Waddy Thompson went unlimited, and shot 2986. Waddy and Jeff are buddies from being on Junkyard Wars.


All the way from Moriartt, New Mexico, El Launcho grande had a happy face!


The Yasky cannon started with a Sussex County Chunkin District bus, and then mounted a cannon in it.


Old Glory chunked 3911 feet this year taking 1st place in the unlimited Air Cannon division.


Back in the human powered division, Bob Carbo struts his stuff in his new Onager Operating Safety Equipment. He was defending his machine from those that would sully it's reputation.


For us on the 'Putter, disaster strikes on our second competition shot (of 70 some odd feet.) Something jammed in the trigger line, and wrapped our actuator around the fulcrum a few times. It was disassembled, and Dave straightened it out with the help of a vice on Del's Destroyer's trailer. They also had a small piece of bar stock, which we used to strengthen the base. Waddy Thompson on Spooky then brazed it together for us.


Dave attaches our trigger actuator back to the fulcrum. Once set, the machine worked flawlessly the rest of the day. We chunked 99 feet for our second competition shot, and then flung another 10 or so pumpkins until we lost a cable coupler.


More work being done on the entire trigger line to make sure it was working properly.


John measures our third shot. 99 feet!


When we weren't chunkin' with our machine, we played on Onager. Here Roger is pedaling down their arm. What do Greg and Dave see wrong with Roger's lap anyway?


Getting that arm down is pretty hard work. Onager took 2nd place in the Human Powered division with a chunk of 1175.19 feet. Roger was unable to match Bob's pedaler Andy, and ended up using 2 minutes and 45 seconds to winch it down.


Video Clips

Here are video clips of the the 'Putter in action.

Putter launches a pumpkin
Video: MPEG
Size : 727044

Close up of a putter launch
Video: MPEG
Size : 806916


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