Inspired by Stu Mills of CBC Ottawa Radio One, who has vowed to air a pumpkin story daily until Halloween, I’ve decided to write and post my own little segment of the Twelve Days of Pumpkin. This is my seventh piece … Punkin Chunkin!
At the dinner table last night I confessed to my family that I might be perhaps … just maybe … possibly … running a little dry on the pumpkin stories. I told them I had a few more topics … trying to save the best for last … yadayadayada … but what I had left was pretty lame. I mentioned this little anecdote I was working on and asked, “Have you ever heard of a thing called pumpkin chucking?”
Three sets of male eyes (ages 14, 15 and 47) brightened, turned to me and said with unanimity, “Hell, yeah!” and “Best sport ever!” and “Totally awesome!” and then all talked at once and over each other about this exceptional event. Wow. Honestly you would have thought I just told them the Sport Illustrated Swimsuit Edition just arrived, they were so excited. My 11-year old daughter looked at me and shrugged, “Boy thing”.
So clearly I’d hit upon the golden pumpkin here, and took notes as they educated me.
First of all, I stood corrected as it is called punkin chunkin and The Discovery Channel does a huge special on it annually. Oh yeah. A farm in Delaware will be hosting the 2011 World (yes, I said World) Punkin Chunkin Championship. I pause briefly to consider what exactly needs to be achieved in order to qualify for the Worlds. Does a Punkin Chunkin Champ need first win The Regionals? Be All-State? Win the Provincials? The Nationals? And only then can they be allowed to come to the World Championship? I wondered.
While I’m sure there are competitions for pumpkin tossing by human power, this particular event takes the toss several steps farther. There are 16 different classes in which to enter this event. One of them is called Adult Trebuchet Class: a medieval-like trebuchet is constructed to catapult the designated pumpkin as far as it can go. There are rules too. Apparently the pumpkin has to remain in tact throughout its flight and no explosions are allowed (so I have to wonder why the team at Mythbusters is even remotely interested). If the WCPCA (um, that would be the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association) cannot find your “tossed” pumpkin, it will be declared a Lost Pumpkin. Oh my God! Doomed to spend an eternity in the writing salons ofPariswith the other Lost Pumpkins Gourdtrude Pumpkinstein, Erza Poundkin and Butternut Hemingway.
I have recently discovered – and chose NOT to share it with my boys – that a real, live pumpkin trebuchet exists not more than half an hour’s drive away in South Mountain, Ontario. However, if your travels over the November 4-5th weekend happen to take you through Bridgeville, Delaware, do stop into the Royal Farms and catch this event with the other 20,000 who’ve paid $10 a piece to do the same. Alternatively, you can catch the rebroadcast on The Discovery Channel Thursday November 24th at 8pm. You might possibly be a little busy eating turkey and pumpkin pie right about that time – so call me – as it would appear some in my household are poised to PVR it – again.
Coming up next in my series? Let there be light!!