Attack of the killer pumpkins

When I recently heard that there was a pumpkin tossing festival in Denver, I couldn’t resist.  They call it Punkin Chunkin.  Now throwing gourds in the air might sound like a bit of frivolous fun, but it’s a seriously competitive and highly technical competition involving heavy equipment and scientific precision.  There’s regional, national and international competitions and each machine has a cool name like ‘Big 10 Inch’ (the current Guinness world record holder).  I saw catapults, trebuchets and gas-powered canons.  The trebuchets looked the coolest, but the gas-powered cannons were the biggest tossers.

Whenever a pumpkin made a touch down, they used a truck with GPS tracking to find it and calculate the distance.  The largest throw while I was there was 4400 feet or 1.34 kms!  The pumpkins flew so fast that most of us coulddn’t see them.  The crowd was a constant mumble of, “where is it”, and “I can’t see it”.  I wasn’t able to see a single pumpkin launch, fly or land.  For all I know, the whole thing could have been a charade.

The weirdest thing to me was that they were firing towards a cluster of residential houses, which were reportedly only 1 mile away.  If a mile is 1.6 kms and we’re launching ballistic veggies 1.34 kms, you don’t have to be a pastry chef to realise that pumpkin pies are imminent.  I could imagine kids and families playing on their happy, little suburban lawn as a pumpkin smashes through their kitchen window and splashes orange flesh up the walls in slow motion like the hallway in The Shining.  Surprise kids; we’re having pumpkin pie for dinner!

It’s even on TV! – https://www.punkinchunkin.com/

Records and info on Wiki – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumpkin_chucking

Punkin Chunkin in Aurora – https://www.auroragov.org/cms/one.aspx?pageId=2037813

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