Across the United States during autumn, there are fields that turn into a war zone of pumpkin pulp. The orange mulch is the mark of pumpkin chucking (also called punkin chunkin for rhyming reasons). For the annual fall tradition and competition, groups build and wheel out massive machines that hurl pumpkins up into the air. Some can even fling pumpkins thousands of feet away.
In the video above, pumpkin chuckers test and prepare a large wooden slingshot and trebuchet. These machines are impressive. At the 13-second mark, four men have to work together to pull the heavy counter weight of the trebuchet into place.
Both of the launchers send the pumpkins far across the grassy field—smashing them into bits. If you ever wondered what it’s like to be catapulted from a trebuchet or shot from a slingshot, the pumpkin chuckers also strap a GoPro camera to the orange objects to give viewers a dizzying ride.
Punkin chunkin competitions, both formal and for fun, are held throughout the fall. All kinds of mechanical launchers are present at these events from the Middle Ages trebuchet and catapults to menacing pneumatic canons that use pressurized air to shoot the little pumpkins across fields. The farthest a pumpkin has ever been chucked was by a pneumatic canon named “Big 10 Inch,” reaching over 5,500 feet.
People have even lit the flying pumpkins on fire:
Teams have been shooting pumpkins at the World Championship Punkin Chunkin in November intermittently since 1986. The 2016 championship will begin on November 4.
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