Every Thanksgiving we sit down to a family feast and then turn on the television and watch football while nodding off. This Thanksgiving the Discovery Channel will air the World Championship of Punkin Chunkin at 8 pm, and if you fall asleep while watching this exciting event, then you have had way too much turkey. The contest is governed by the World Championship of Punkin Chunkin Association (WCPCA) and is held annually to raise money for scholarships, as well as organizations that benefit youth. If you have never seen the competition, it is a sight to behold as pumpkins are hurled as far as 4,400 feet. The challenge is to launch an 8 to 10-pound pumpkin as far as possible. Sounds easy, but as with everything, this sport has evolved and become very competitive. There are many categories and apparatuses used to hurl those pumpkins, including air cannons, catapults, human-powered machines and more. The rules of the three-day competition are simple: each team gets one shot per day, and their best shot is scored. Spotters riding on ATVs find the point of pumpkin impact and then, using GPS units, measure and record the distance the pumpkin was hurled. It is a year-round adventure for the contestants who use their ingenuity and hard work to build and fine-tune their various machines to compete in the games – and some of these machines are pretty amazing. The Centrifugal category includes machines that use the basic concept of an action and reaction force with circular motion to move an object. The Torsion category uses machines that create energy by twisting in one direction and then releasing that energy. My favorite class is the Trebuchet category. This medieval machine is similar to a catapult, except it uses a sling instead of a straight arm to hurl objects. The most interesting parts of the competition are the machines and the “characters” that compete with them. It is an event to behold – especially when a machine fails or explodes. What better way to enjoy your pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving. But beware: if you get an awful tasting piece of pumpkin pie, please refrain from chunkin the punkin at your television! For more information about this event, visit www.punkinchunkin.com. Happy Thanksgiving!!
SharLeigh has an inquisitive nature – she is interested in current events, history, science and many more subjects, including things that go bump in the night! Since 1997, SharLeigh has scoured the internet, looking for interesting, fun and timely topics covering all sorts of human-interest subjects for her articles from her home in Fontana, CA.