Pumpkin Chucking, or for rhyming purposes Pumpkin Chunkin is the sport of hurling or 'chucking' a pumpkin solely by mechanical means for distance. The devices used include slingshots, catapults, centrifugals, trebuchets, and pneumatic cannons.
A pneumatic cannon named 'Big 10 Inch' holds the current world record by firing a pumpkin 5,545.43 feet (1,690.25 m). The world record shot took place September 9, 2010 in Moab, Utah. The shot received certification from Guinness World Records in early January, 2011. Pumpkin chunking competitions, formal and informal, exist throughout the United States in the autumn, and often occur when pumpkins are harvested. World Championship Punkin Chunkin, held in Delaware, is the oldest and largest annual competition. The event began in 1986 and featured over 100 teams in 2010. A European Championship is held in Bikschote, Belgium, and has been held there each year since 2004.
The range achieved by devices greatly depends on their mass, shape, and size; the yield limits, stiffness, pitch, and elevation of the hurler; and the weather. The pumpkin is another important variable since sabots are often prohibited in competitions. The most common pumpkin varieties used are Caspers, Luminas, and La Estrellas - these varieties typically have thicker rinds and can better withstand the forces of launch. A usual rule is that the pumpkin must remain whole after leaving the device for the chunk to count. Pumpkins that burst after leaving the barrel or sling are referred to as "pie" (short for "pumpkin pie in the sky").
World Championship Punkin Chunkin 
World Championship Punkin Chunkin (WCPC) is the name of an annual pumpkin chunkin contest held the first full weekend after Halloween in Sussex County, Delaware. It is governed by the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association (WCPCA).
Teams compete in the following divisions: Air Cannon, Female Air Cannon, Centrifugal, Catapult, Torsion, Trebuchet, Human Powered, Centrifugal Human Powered, Youth Air Cannon, Youth Catapult, Youth Trebuchet, Youth Human Powered, Youth 10 & Under, and Theatrical. Each division competes strictly for distance except for the Theatrical division which relies on a fan vote. The teams get three shots, one taken on each of three consecutive days. Only the teams' farthest shot is scored for official results. Spotters riding on ATVs find the impact point, and then a professional surveyor calculates the distance based on GPS coordinates of the impact and the machine. The impact point is marked with color-coded spray paint to avoid confusion with future shots.
For the entertainment of spectators, the event also features amusement rides, food vendors, fireworks, live concerts, a pumpkin cooking contest, a chili cook-off, the Miss Punkin Chunkin pageant, et al.
Safety has remained the number one priority of the WCPCA. The only fatality thus far has been a duck hit by a pumpkin that had been shot out of an air cannon.
The event originated in 1986. One of the event's early locations was in Lewes just off of DE Rte 1 - at the end of the field was a church that was thought to be out of reach. Due to increasing space requirements (distance of shots, number of teams, and number of spectators) the field was moved elsewhere in Sussex County.
In 2007, WCPC moved to its current location in Bridgeville, near the intersection of Seashore Highway (DE Rte 404) and Chaplains Chapel Road. About 75 teams competed, the event drew more than 20,000 people, and grossed more than $100,000 in ticket sales and associated revenues. More than 70% of that money would be donated to a variety of community organizations.
Science Channel Coverage 
The Science Channel currently owns the television broadcast rights to the WCPC contest. After the 2010 event the WCPCA and the Science Channel agreed to a new, 3-year contract that runs through the 2013 WCPC. In 2009 and 2010 the "Punkin Chunkin" special aired on tape delay on Thanksgiving Day. Each year of coverage thus far has featured an hour long special titled "Road to the Chunk" that preceded coverage of the WCPC event. The previous year's contest is shown around Halloween and sporadically throughout the year, and is very popular among teenagers. Road to Punkin Chunkin 2011 featured three 30-minute episodes (airing November 3, 10, and 17).
In 2008, after a six-year hiatus, Punkin Chunkin returned to cable television on the Science channel. Brad Sherwood hosted the one-hour program.
In 2009, Science channel expanded the coverage to two episodes (the first hour, a lead-up to the event named Road to Punkin Chunkin; the second hour being coverage from the competition). This was hosted by Catch It Keep It hosts Zach Selwyn and Mike Senese. In 2010, MythBusters hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman covered the event. The coverage was simulcast on the Discovery Channel. The special earned the Science Channel its highest rating in the network's history (topping the previous year's coverage). In 2011 & 2012, MythBusters hosts Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, and Tory Belleci covered the events.
World Championship Punkin Chunkin Champions 
|Year||Team Name||Distance (feet)|
|2012||Young Glory III||3,887.92|
|2011||Second Amendment Too||4,329.37|
|2009||Big 10 Inch||4,162.65|
|2008||Young Glory III||4,483.51|
|2007||Big 10 Inch||4,211.27|
|1999||Big 10 Inch||3,695|
|1998||Q36 Pumpkin Modulator||4,026|
|1996||Q36 Pumpkin Modulator||2,710|
|1988||Melson - Thompson||600|
|1987||Melson - Thompson||300|
|1986||Melson - Thompson||178|
World Championship Punkin Chunkin Records 
|Machine Class||Team Name||Distance (feet)||Year|
|Adult Air||Young Glory III||4,483.51||2008|
|Adult Female Air||Let's Bounce||3,998.83||2008|
|Adult Centrifugal||Bad To The Bone||2,737.69||2006|
|Adult Catapult||Fibonacci Unlimited II||2,862.28||2005|
|Adult Trebuchet||Yankee Siege II||2,326.60||2011|
|Adult Human Powered||Pumpkin Slayer||1,984.37||2009|
|Adult Torsion||Chucky III||3,636.39||2011|
|Adult Centrifugal Human Powered||Smokin Lamas||1,586.84||2012|
|Youth Air||Young Glory III||3,945.28||2003|
|Youth Catapult||The Plague||1,568.82||2011|
|Youth Trebuchet||Whomping Willow||1,526.97||2012|
|Youth Human Powered||Athena||983.80||2012|
|Youth 10 and Under||Little Blaster||1,939.81||2002|
The "Adult Centrifugal Human Powered" category is no longer recognized as an individual category at WCPC. At the 2010 contest, an adult centrifugal human powered machine named 'Smokin Lamas' shot a pumpkin 830.21 feet - the machine was entered in the Human Powered division. In 2011, Smokin Lamas raised the mark higher with a shot of 1,240.21 feet. The WCPCA has yet to recognize the shot as an event record. In 2012, the "Adult Centrifugal Human Powered" category was recognized again as an individual category and Smokin Lamas set the new record of 1,586.84 feet.
See also 
- Jeff Richards (2010-09-16). "Pumpkin chucking team sets new world record with one-mile launch". The Times-Independent.
- "Guinness World Records - Farthest Distance to Fire a Pumpkin". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- "How far will a pumpkin fly?". MSNBC. Associated Press. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
- "Punkin Chunkin Founders Honored at Ceremony". World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
- "Punkin Chunkin Splatters Simulcast Ratings Record for Discovery Channel and Science Channel". Discovery Communications. 2010-11-30.
- "Kari, Grant and Tory Get Chunked : Discovery Channel". Dsc.discovery.com. 2011-11-04. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
- "World Championship Punkin Chunkin - 2010 Results". World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
- "World Championship Punkin Chunkin - 2009 Results". World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
- "World Championship Punkin Chunkin - Event Records". World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Pumpkin chunking|