Cape Gazette

Saturday's fair wind helps Punkin Chunkin records fall

Nov 01, 2013
Photo by: Nick Roth Nick Wendel of Buffalo Wing Slinged celebrates after launching into first place in the human-powered division during the second day of the 28th annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin.

Bridgeville — The 2013 World Championship Punkin Chunkin kicked off Nov. 1. A light crowd braved a windy, misty day in Bridgeville to watch the first round of competition. The weather was perfect on Nov. 2 before a front blew in Nov. 3.

It was a world-record breaking event. American Chunker Inc., from Merrimack, N.H., lived up to its promise made two years ago and shattered the world air cannon record Nov. 2 with a shot of 4,694 feet. With a rare tailwind blowing, nine air cannons eclipsed the 4,000-foot mark.

Last year winner in the trebuchet division, Yankee Siege II, eclipsed its own world record with a Day 2 launch that landed in the campground more than 2,300 feet away.

Frank Shade officially kicked off the competition with opening ceremonies, which included a moment of silence and Punkin Chunkin's version of a 21-gun salute for recently passed founder Joe "Wolfman" Thomas. Each air cannon team took a shot to honor Thomas before family and friends gathered to launch Thomas' Old Glory cannon.



Will Bennett of Dover, Pa., gets the crowd going as the human-powered division takes its turn in the second day of Punkin Chunkin. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
A Yankee Siege II team member climbs onto the trebuchet to search for the pumpkins landing. The team second toss landed in the campground and set a new world record of more than 2,300 feet. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Mythbuster Tory Belleci shares a laugh with some of the competitors between shots. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Punkin Chunkin staple Fat Jimmy cheers on his team High X. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Nick Wendel of Buffalo Wing Slinged is interviewed by Mythbuster Tory Belleci. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Frank Shade emcees the opening ceremonies Saturday morning. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Sharon Bennett cheers on her friends in the human-powered division. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Ray Leenhouts of Old Farts Construction Knightmare celebrates a nice toss in the second round. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Nick Wendel of Buffalo Wing Slinged cranks his contraption in the human-powered division. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Harry McCormick tries to figure out what went wrong with the second throw for team Smokin Llamas. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Jeff Del Papa from Team Tormentum directs his team before their first shot of the competition. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Dark clouds threatened throughout the first day. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Punkin Chunkin shows off its patriotism. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Team Standback put this artwork on display. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
BJ Shade works on the Bad Hair Day air cannon. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
A look down the line of human-powered machines. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
John Bowers of Chunk Norris chats with his teammates following the first shot. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Work never ends for some teams, like Pumpkin Warrior who were hard at work well after their first shot. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Despite a light rain, a small crowd still made it out to Bridgeville Friday afternoon for the first day of Punkin Chunkin. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Many people take the opportunity to dress the part. Shown are (l-r) Ray Geahr, Michael Travers Sr. and Joe Geahr. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
The familiar sight of air cannons pointed toward an empty field. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Air cannon teams enjoyed a nice tailwind Friday afternoon. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
When at Punkin Chunkin, this is not out of the ordinary. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Ricardo Colon of Hurling Chunks chats with his fellow competitors. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Members of Spikey let loose the cord to release a pumpkin during the third round of competition. The youngsters on the father-son catapult team all attend Shields Elementary School in Lewes. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Tony Morgan, known as The Hamster, gets pumped up as he prepares to spin the wheel of the human powered Shooda Nold Better machine from Elkton, Va. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Tony Morgan gets the human-powered Shooda Nold Better machine ready to fire. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Sarah Strong is happy that she is able to shoot a pumpkin from her Merry Go Punkin theatrical machine. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Jeff Caudill of Seaford has his own punkin chunkin machine affixed on his head. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Heidi Karl, of the Rachel's Precious Angels team, checks on another "birth," which happened to be triplet pumpkins on the final day of competition. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Matt Conger, of the Stand Back team, gets into the spirit of the day. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
In the theatrical division, Sarah Kraushaar waits for the last pumpkin to fall to move her wagon. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Members of Never Forget of Milford carefully load a pumpkin into their catapult. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Tiny Miss Punkin Chunkin Sophia Lovelace of Seaford adjusts her crown. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Little Miss Punkin Chunkin Mariana Eaker of Middletown smiles for the crowd. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Bailey Fletcher of the Lewes-based Spikey team is ready on the firing line. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
It takes teamwork to load the Never Forget catapult as the clock ticks away on the firing line. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Many veteran Punkin Chunkin competitors signed a large poster in memory of Joe "Wolfman" Thomas of the Old Glory air cannon team. He passed away this past year following a motorcycle crash. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Joe "Wolfman" Thomas, who passed away this past year, is a Punkin Chunkin legend. A portrait shows the chunker in his well-known silver hardhat. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
The best seat in the house is from above as team members sit atop their machines to watch the action along the firing line. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Thousands of pumpkins ended up either carved or splattered on the Wheatley Farm near Bridgeville. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Although it resembles a military assemblage of firepower, it's actually part of the line of Punkin Chunkin air cannons. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
American Chunker Captain Brian Labrie lived up to his word and shattered the air cannon world record with a shot of nearly 4,695 feet. Labrie makes some last-minute checks on the team's machine before firing in the last round. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Dawn Thompson, left, captain of the Hormone Blaster team that won the title in 2010, and her husband, Bill Thompson, one of the founders of the event, wait their turn on the air cannon firing line. The first Punkin Chunkin took place in the couple's back yard in 1986. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
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