Humdinger of One
Competing in both 1996 & 1997, this team consisted of members from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and Elkton, Maryland. Placing third in their first year, this crew was able to toss their pumpkin 48 feet. Team members have now gone on to bigger and better chunkin teams.
Done as a school project for DelCastle Technical High School, this 9 foot high, 10 foot long tube was powered by nitrogen and was able to send a pumpkin over 1200 feet down range. In it's third year of competition, this team has been made up as an integration project, combining science & math [power plant] and welders, students under the close watch of the project advisors, Wayne Milke and Dan Hailey, came from Newport, Delaware.
Jake Burton captians this pneumatic cannon in the youth class with the help of several team members. Young Glory has traveled to Illinoins to take first place is his division during their event, and has taken Punkin Chunk to a new level by putting on school demonstrations at local middle schools.
Steve Ritterson, Kyle Damalouji & Jeff Ritterson of Wilmington, Delaware, manned this modified slingshot. This team took the World Championship in both 1994 and 1995. Their longest shot was 147" in 1995.
A human powered centrifugal chunker, the Whiplash team consisted of five men and one woman member who came from Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Powered by a bicycle, they have been able to throw a pumpkin over 240 feet.
Hurls Before Swine
Competing in Punkin Chunk for five years, Hurls Before Swine is a Trebuchet, similar to a catapult, which stands over 38 foot high and was able to 158 feet. Team members for Hurls Before Swine are from the Lewes, Milton and Georgetown area of Delaware. They did not return for the 1997 event as a competitive team, but were on hand to assist in the operation of the chunk.
Coming all the way from Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, this team of Bob & Paul Carbo brought this wood and rope catapult for another Punkin Chunkin Championship. Measuring 8 foot long and 9 foot high, The Onager is designed after a medeival catapult. The Onager gets its name from the ancient Romans who nicknamed these catapults Onager - the greek name for "wild ass" - because of their nasty kick. Competing at their first Punkin Chunk in 1995, they finished 4th with a throw of 246 ft.In 1996, they chunked their punkin 398 feet to take thirdand in the 1997 event, they placed second with a chunk of 581 feet. During the 1998 Morton Competion, Onager amazed the crowd with a chunk of 556 feet.Team Carbo and the mighty Onager took FIRST PLACE at the first annual Punkin Chunkin contest in Raleigh, North Carolina on October 31st, 1998. They won a trophy and $500 first place prize. Shrimp on the barbie will be provided by Team Carbo. Their furthest chunk was 521 feet. Rumor is they were sandbagging for the upcomingcontest in Deleware
Hyper Tension started in 1996 after two years of (team captains John Huber & Paul Fatka) sitting in the crowds thinking this is too cool for them not to get involved. In 1996, the Hyper Tension catapult machine was mounted on top of a 27' boat trailer and was mostly made of wood. It's best throw was 120'. In 1997, Hyper Tension II came to the event untested. They got rid of the boat trailer, and made a custom steel unit with a laminated wooded arm. During test firing on friday the day before the event, they broke the arm with only 1/2 the spring force they brought with them. Scrambling to stay in the event, They turned to LOWES home center in Lewes DE, and with the help of Team Carbo ( Onagar) and a very long friday, they were back in the game! Even with a second weak wooded arm Hyper tension finished with a 314' chunk. Wanting to break the 300' goal,it was a "if it breaks, it breaks...Full power!!!" additude that finally acheived the goal in the third shot. This year, it is reported that the entire machine was redesigned on a stress model program to find the week points and correct them, so they can improve over last years record.
Another team of five men and one woman member, Gene’s Machine is a spring loaded catapult from Newark, Delaware. During the 1997 World Championship, Gene’s Machine competed in both the Human Powered and Unlimited Class. Gene’s Machine continues to set world records, both at the Illinois and Delaware Events. The latest toss was for a record 1,105 feet, taking Gene’s Machine into first place in the Unlimited Class. IIn 1998, Gene's Machine is going to be a tough team to beat. During the Ohio competition, Gene's Machine set a New World Record with a chunk of 1,380 feet...
During the 96 competition, Loaded Boing consisting of a plastic bucket hooked to two telephone poles by numerous strands of rubber tubing and placed in the ground to stand 42 foot high, the only thing separating Boing from the human powered class is that a winch on a lineman’s pole truck is used to stretch the slingshot back over 100 ft before cutting loose. Using this method, they had successfully chunked a pumpkin 389 feet in the past. During the 1997 competition, Loaded Boing was modified down to smaller poles and the bucket was attached to the back of a milspec 2 ½ ton truck, which would pull the bands taunt, then release the pumpkin.
Having spent 3 years in Captain "Speed" Lackhove’s team, Donny Jefferson separated 2 years ago and became Captain of Bad-To-The-Bone. Mounted atop a 27 foot 8 inch tower, this centrifugal chunker is powered by a ground mounted Cummins Diesel engine with a drive shaft connected to the differential atop the tower. Taking first place in both the 1996 & 1997 World Championship, Bad-To-The-Bone recently set a new world record with a chunk of 2,008 feet. During the 1997 competition in Morton, Illinois, Bad-To-The-Bone was the only machine in it’s class; however, the spectators were more impressed with the centrifugal than they were with the larger pneumatics.
Designed by Captain Bill Thompson, 5 time World Champion, this centrifugal chunker stands 16 foot tall and uses an 8 inch wide belt attached to the drive-train of a 454 cubic inch "Chevy" engine. First entered in 1986 as Maximum Overdrive, Ultimate Warrior entered the scene in 1988 and has it’s farthest chunk as 1,568 foot, which helped it claim second place in its class during the 1997 Championship. 16 team members work hard to keep the Warrior going. Dressed in their traditional manner, Thompson and his band of "Looney Toons" can be picked out in a crowd with little effort.
Captain Larry McLaughlin, entered the competition in 1988 with David The Giant Slayer, a spring powered catapult mounted on a military 2 1/2 ton truck. In 1991, Larry went to the centrifugal team with Small Wonder, a 10 foot tower with a 24 foot drive shaft connected to a ‘71 pick up’s 350 engine. In 1992, Small Wonder then grew up to be the De-Terminator. Powered by a tower mounted High performance 350 Chevy engine with a high rise manifold and 4 barrel Holley carb, De-Terminator took the championship with an 852 foot throw in its first year of competition. During the 1997 competition, McLaughlin took his machine one step further in its evolution, by replacing the tower with a hydraulic scaffolding, where the team could be elevated along with the engine. These changes assisted him in placing third, with a chunk of 1,118 feet.
Captain William Bowden spent four years in the youth and human powered classes before coming over to the Unlimited with a centrifugal machine. Sitting on a 12 foot tower and powered by a drive shaft attached to another bored out 350 Chevy, Blowin Chunks is the only left-side mounted, underhanded chunker in competition.
Aludium Q36 Pumpkin Modulator
One thing that surrounds Punkin Chunkers is an air of secrecy. Punkin espionage abounds. Decoy parts are left in the open. This team had the ultimate concealment, 871 miles between them and Delaware. Coming from Morton, Illinois, this cannon had Delaware teams guessing before the 1996 competition. Morton, Ill, known as the "Pumpkin Capital of the World", is home to the pumpkin pie making company, Libby’s. In an attempt to promote an event in Morton, such as in Delaware, the Morton Chamber of Commerce sponsored a similar event there. Assembled and using computers to check safety features and assist the team in calculating the amount of pressure needed, this Olive Drab Green cannon would impress any military commander. Disassembled, this cannon is compacted onto its own trailer, 13 foot 6 inches high and 8 foot 6 inches wide, making it street legal for transporting. In 1996, The Q-36 won the World Championship with a chunk of 2,710 feet. They also won the 1997 Pumpkin Chucker competition in Morton, with a chunk of 3,239 feet, however, their top chunk of 3,541 feet at the 1997 World Championship was only enough to put them in second place. This didn't deter the Q36 team, in 1998, they came back to take the World Championship with a chunk of 4026.32, which was a record for the World Championship, but not topping the 4,4491 feet they shot during the Illinois competition in September of 1998.
Comprised largely of members from the Ultimate Warrior centrifugal chunker, Old Glory made her debut in 1997 with "Wolfman" as captain. Old Glory was made from the propane tank off of a delivery truck, with a 73 foot tube mounted on it. Most of the fittings on the cannon were made by the team members. Mounted on a trailer frame, the tube is supported by a metal antenna frame. In the 1997 competition in Morton, Old Glory finished second with a chunk of 2,468 feet, and after some modifications to extend the barrel, again took third place during the 1997 World Championship with a chunk of 3,146 feet. Old Glory took 2nd place again in 1998 with a chunk of 3407.62 feet
Trey Melson, another World Champion Record Holder, as well as one of the original founders, first introduced the Universal Soldier to Punkin Chunk in 1994. The first version consisted of a GMC 4X4 mounted onto a military spec 2 1/2 ton truck frame with a 30 foot tube. In the 1994 competition, Universal Soldier set the World Record with a chunk of 2508 feet. The current Soldier had a stationwagon body replacing the 4X4, but everything else appeared the same. The artwork that covered the automobile indicated sponsors who have helped with the machine. Taking top honors in the 1997 World Championship Punkin Chunk, Universal Soldier set a new World Record with a chunk of 3,718 feet [that’s close to ¾ mile with a 10 lb. punkin]. His third chunk during the 1998 competition, unfortunately, was never found leaving Melson's team in Third Place
Captain "Speed" Lackhove has come a long way with Mello Yello. It has evolved over the years into the massive pneumatic cannon that took the 95 Championship. The first chunker was a sling shot, followed by a catapult, then a centrifugal. While competing in the centrifugal class, Capt. Speed had a couple second place finishes, it wasn’t until 1995 that Captain "Speed" introduced the pneumatic version of Mello Yello. The ‘95 version consisted of a bulk LP gas tank mounted on a crane boom with a 40 foot tube to launch the pumpkin. The entire rig was pulled by an old Chevrolet truck. When asked about the designing and building of the cannon, Speed replied "it all fell into place, it was a group effort to build it". When asked about the air pressure of the tank, Speed stated "if I tell ya’, I have to kill ya". This answer was typical of Speed as well as other chunkers. Another example of the Captains humor was when asked how he drives Mello Yello out to the competition from his shop in Lewes, which is 7 miles apart and Mello Yello is far from street legal. He pointed to the barrel of the cannon to where it said NEW-MATIK PUNKIN PLANTER and stated "it’s a punkin planter, farm equipment don’t need tags!"
Captain Wayne Sennett and his crew of 14 operated both Poor & Hungry and Captian Jefferson’s Bad-To-The-Bone in the centrifugal class. Poor & Hungry was a boiler tank mounted on a trailer frame with a 20 foot barrel. Instead of the conventional sights used on other cannons, Poor & Hungry had an eight point deer rack mounted on the end of the tube. Poor & Hungry was another of the Delaware teams to travel to Illinois for their competition. This time, it was wearing a new coat of candy apple red paint and had a new "deerslayer" barrel to be used during the target competition. At the Morton competition, Poor and Hungry finished in third place with a chunk of 2,117 feet. At the 1998 Morton Illinois event, a new Poor & Hungry was unveiled, bigger than the first and mounted on the trailor of a tractor trailor. Mechanical problems plagued Poor & Hungry and Captain Sennett deadlined the chunker when two cracks were discovered on the frame. Wayne [a true lover of chunkin punkins] stated that he would rather not chunk, than risk injuring anyone at the event.
Bill Wright, Captain of Top Secret, has designed and built several machines that have competed in Punkin Chunk. Using a 62 foot tube, mounted on a hydraulic boom and sitting atop a 1963 Chevy Roll-Back truck, Top Secret’s tube could be elevated to a 25 degree angle, but when the roll-back was lowered, the tube could be elevated to a 55 degree angle. Lowered into its level position, Top Secret can be ready to hit the street in about 10 minutes after firing. In 1997, Top Secret II rolled out, this time, instead of being mounted on the roll back, Wright had placed his tube on top of a converted school bus. Traveling to Illinois for the 1997 competition was a little to much for the bus and numerous mechanical problems kept it from competing when it arrived in Morton; however, it was able to return to Delaware and compete in the 12th Annual World Championship.
Serving as a team member of the Universal Soldier during the 1997 event, Richard Simpson has deceided to take on the World Champion this year by entering his own cannon. An air of secrecy surrounds this device and unless our spies send in some information, you'll just have to come out to see what in the world he has planed.
Bad Hair Day
One of the newest pneumatic punkin chunkers that is operated by a team of Sussex County ladies. Having them on the firing line is a welcome break from the bearded cigar smokin faces that we have been use to seeing. After seeing this chunker up close and in person, I'm just wondering which of these little ladies is going to drive this big rig...