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2012 Headlines

2012: Come From Behind – 3rd Place!!!

By Jim Riley

November 4, 2012 - Bridgeville, DE.

Hello, my name is Jim R and I am a Punkin Chunker…

More precisely, I am a proud member of Team PumpkinHammer, the world’s largest Whipper Trebuchet.

My father always told me that you should associate yourself with great people, as some of their greatness may rub off on you. I am extremely fortunate to participate on a team and in a sport that has some pretty great people.

I’d like to tell you some stories about them.

Team PumpkinHammer
When we refer to PumpkinHammer, we always lead with the word – “Team”. Each person on this team contributes immensely to our success. I’d like to tell you about the following men who I am extremely proud to call my teammates.

Rich Foley – What else can I say about Rich... He is one of the most honest and down-to-earth people I have ever met in my life. Since retirement, he lives, eats, and breathes Punkin Chunkin. He is quite a remarkable person and I’m proud to call him my friend.

Tim Foley – Rich’s younger brother. Out of all of our teammates, Tim is the most emotionally associated with the success or failure of PumpkinHammer. This man cares deeply about the team and really loves Punkin Chunkin.

Dave Hanna – We kid Dave about being a superior human, as he is 6’4”, 250 lbs, and really, really smart. But let me tell you a story about Dave which should really tell you how he is truly a great man. A young boy came up to our machine and had a few questions. Dave eagerly volunteered and spent about 30 minutes answering every question asked. He didn’t need to do this, nor was he asked; he just did it. Kudos Dave!!!

Eric Jordan – Big E is a mountain of a man. Unfortunately, he could not make this year’s chunk. However, Eric wanted updates by the minute on Facebook. He is a great teammate and a very good man.

Don Hylinski – The team’s wild man. Don is without question the heart and soul of PumpkinHammer. This man embodies the word TEAM. This guy never sits, as he’s always working or doing something. The bottom line is, Don is funny as hell and a great friend.

Jon Mault – The man with the “Speech” that saved PumpkinHammer. If it were not for John, this team probably would not have competed in 2012. Sadly, John could not be at the Chunk this year.

John Collett – This is the man!!! He is the ultimate man of positivity. The word “No” is not in this guy’s vocabulary. He and his group of very talented fabricators at Collett and Sons built the newest version of PumpkinHammer. We are extremely lucky to have this man on our team.

Mark Hudson – It’s rare when you get a new member to make an immediate contribution to any team. Mark is that rare exception. Out of the gate, Mark first built the famous and very convenient PumpkinHammer Pod. He then took over as the team’s primary climber. Rookie of the year honors go to this man!!!

The Great PumpkinHammer Support Crew
With every great team, there needs to be a great support crew. PumpkinHammer has the best in PunkinChunkin.

First, we need to praise our significant others, who have to put up with our time working on PumpkinHammer. Liz, Sue, Susan, Heather, Fran, and Lynn – Thank you!!! Not only do we have the most understanding partners, we have the most beautiful ladies on the field!!!

Cara and Jeff Christensen – What can you say about people who give up their weekend to support a group of Punkin Chunkers. I call them two of the nicest people in the world.

To all our other family and friends, from the Hanna’s, Jenny and Martin, Tracey Wiley, and Barry and Yvette – Thank you for your support!!!

We also want to thank Don Hylinski's daughter Heather for PumpkinHammer Beer mugs, which was a major surprise for the team. Also special note should go out to Fran Hylinski, who presented the team with an unexpected treasure - Our very own Team PumpkinHammer Flag.  Fran and Heather on behalf of the team, thank you both so much for providing us with these wonderful gifts.

As you can see, our team is so very fortunate.

 

Great Champions
During our time in Punkin Chunkin, there have been two great champions in the Trebuchet division.

The first was Chris Gerow and his legendary King Arthur. Chris was supported by Harry, the Peters, and Dave. This team was the five time champion of our division. What made them great was their creativity and their willingness to share their knowledge. They took this tiny little contraption that could throw farther than everyone else. They also had a cocky flair that made them fun to be around.

Next came six time champions, Steve and Kathy Seigars, and the most famous trebuchet in America – Yankee Siege. Their machine was just brute force, but that didn’t stop him from learning more about Trebuchets than anyone else in the world. What makes the Siegars great is that they are the friendliest people in the world. If anyone on the Trebuchet has a problem, they are the first to assist them. In my book, they are great people!!!

Great People...
So what do you need to be a Punkin Chunker? From what I can tell, they are all very bright, honest, caring and friendly people. The following is just a small sampling of the people we have met over the years, and my thoughts of each.

Tired iron
Chuck and team are great. Chuck has one of the most iconic machines at Punkin Chunkin. Chuck and Ben will be among the first people who will ask if we need anything.

First in Fright / Whomping Willow
Trey and his machine are awesome. However, the younger generation of team Whomping Willow should make all of us adults tremble when they move up next year… 

American Chucker
Ohio’s finest is represented here. This is a fun group and likes to have multiple support vehicles…
J

Shenanigans
Tom and team are really nice people. On the last day they had an amazing shot 1,567 feet.

NASAW
These guys have a nice machine that can throw pretty darn well.  

Launchness Monster 
What do you say about a team that builds a Trebuchet that looks like a collapsing house. You call them Punkin Chunkers. A great group of Chunkers who offered us help after our winch line broke.

Team Chucky
These are my Jersey Brothers and may be the most popular team at Chunkin!!!  

Others
We met some great young competitors this year. J.T., Josh,

Sharp Entertainment
To the all the film crew (Amelia, Lindsay, Kim, John and crew) - You guys were so nice. It was a pleasure!!!

 

2012 Results
Below are the results of the 2012 Adult Trebuchet division. As you can see, all the trebuchets were far short of the world record.

Place

Team

Chunk 1

Chunk 2

Chunk 3

Hometown

1st

NASAW

 

2086.90

2123.93

Rochester, NY

2nd

Yankee Siege II

1033.86

1980.82

1449.81

Greenfield, NH

3rd

Pumpkin Hammer

 

255.93

1722.19

Newark, DE

4th

First In Fright

16.48

1681.67

 

Chapel Hill, NC

5th

American Chucker

 

 

1592.99

Dayton, OH

6th

Tired Iron

1589.51

1492.41

1374.39

Hancock, NH

7th

Shenanigans

1166.27

1310.83

1567.08

Georgetown, DE

8th

Launch-ness Monster

1534.00

 

1534.04

Merrimack, NH

9th

Great Gourd Experiment

1179.73

923.79

1015.92

Ellendale, DE

10th

Stand Back And Watch This

396.19

657.09

1051.9

 

11th

Tree Bucket

853.40

 

1000.23

Coatesville, PA

12th

Pumpkin Flight School

671.22

932.97

789.39

Palmyra, PA

13th

Cinderella's Revenge

484.92

633.50

785.25

Timonium, MD

14th

Hurling Chunks

138.77

199.05

286.73

Oxford, MA

15th

ChunkWorks

30.92

42.21

25.73

Dayton, OH

16th

Morgana

 

 

 

Frankford, DE

  

Development
After last year’s chunk, the team committed to rebuilding a brand new PumpkinHammer. We knew that we could not continue to Clang and Bang our way to the championship, so we decided to go in a completely different direction, but without getting away from the Whipper design.

Our Design team of Rich and Tim did a great job of developing an interesting concept. But to make it a reality, the team was fortunate enough to bring on John Collett. His experience and talented group of fabricators built an amazing super structure.

Special kudos go out to team member Don Hylinski, who spent countless hours painting the giant whipper. Don also got his daughter Heather into the act, by having her use her amazing artistic ability to place our logo’s on the machine. Heather did an AMAZING job on the logo.

Testing
In early October, we had our first test throws. The first throw went very high up, and the next went straight into the ground. We really struggled with testing on this new machine. However, one throw went really high and really far. All of us lost the pumpkin as it hit the apex of the climb. We never knew how far it shot, but we knew we had something.

One thing we did learn, was that John Collett could never go out into the field as we shot, because each time he did, we’d misfire.

We really struggled with forces that we had never come across. First, the arm moved so fast, that the pumpkin was moving out of the pumpkin holder on the arm. We had to build a release mechanism, which performed fairly well. We also had major problems with our winch cables, they kept on breaking. This came back to haunt us at the chunk.

 

"The PumpkinHammer curse..."
As many of you know, our team has been plagued with an annual event, called the curse. Every year that we have participated in the WCPC, we have had a catastrophic failure. We have bent, broke, twisted, torn, or split something either within a week of the event or at the event.

This has been so engrained into the PumpkinHammer mindset, that we just take it for granted that we will break something along the way.  Keep this in mind as I continue with the story…

Thursday arrival and setup
Due to Hurricane Sandy, the Association allowed teams to bring their machines to the fields on the Saturday before the Chunk. We followed their advice and loaded PumpkinHammer onto Collett and Son’s big Rig.

We arrived in Bridgeville on Thursday morning to set up the machine. The fields were surprisingly dry, considering that we just had a hurricane. We were not allowed to get out our machine until the afternoon.

The beauty of the new Hammer is the set up. It takes a push from our hydraulic lift, and we have a 30 foot tower raised. In the old days, it would take us 8 to 12 hours to set up the wooden PumpkinHammer. How smart we old guys became…

Day 1 Throw 1 – PumpkinHammer: Is the Curse Back?
The Trebuchet line was throwing early, but we were just not ready. First, we had a knot in our sling line. Well let me change that, we had several tightly intertwined knots in our slings, which wouldn’t come out. Mark and Tim struggled as we were on the clock, with relative little time left, they untangled the line. We then began our counterweight lift, but all of a sudden, the winch line broke. Could the curse be back? Throw one – 0!!!

In the first round, Tired Iron threw 1,589. Launchness Monster was in 2nd place with a throw of 1,534, and Great Gourd was next with a throw of 1,179. 
 

Day 1 Throw 2 – PumpkinHammer: The cruse be still with us...
On our second throw, we were finally prepared. We changed the winch line and it worked well. We shot, but our finger angle was off and we shot a line drive that landed only 255 feet away.  

After the second throw, NASAW was in first with a throw of 2,086 feet. In second place was Yankee Siege II, with a 1,980 foot throw. First in Fright was in third with a throw of 1,681. Please note: In this humble Chunkers opinion, Yankee Siege had the best throw of the day. I don’t think the spotters found where YSII’s throw went. I think it surpassed NASAW’s throw and so did a lot of other people.

The hammer team worked furiously to get off some test throws. We finally got out a great throw into the fading sunlight. We were ready for a good throw then next day.

Day 2 Throw 3 – PumpkinHammer: Comes from behind to Third
On the last day, the hammer changed our finger angle to 59 degrees. We were ready to break the world record.

As we got on line, all we wanted to do was get off a good throw. We gathered the team together and tried a De-cursing chant.

When we pulled the trigger, we all went nuts because this went really high and far. We thought it was really out there and so did the crowd. I also want to personally apologize to Grant from MythBusters, as I was afraid I squished him in a bear hug.

Most of the team lost our voices as we were screaming in joy. After they measured, we only threw 1,722 feet, but it was good enough for third place. 

More controversy… On Yankee Siege II’s last throw, the spotters again could not find it. It was a monster throw and should have been enough to take the lead. They were allowed to throw another, but they did not have a pumpkin at the right weight and it was well short. I place the final results above.

From the team’s perspective, I can tell you that even though we didn’t win, this was one of the best time’s I’ve been associated with this team. We overcame and finished third. It was a great accomplishment and I could not have been prouder of my teammates.

For next year, we have proven that we have a super structure that will allow us to throw and throw. We will add counterweight, test and tinker. Watch out Trebuchet Division. PumpkinHammer will be back with a vengeance next year.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Team PumkinHammer at Area 52

By Jim Riley

October 15, 2012 - Area 52

Rumors has it that Team PumpkinHammer has been seen operating at Area 52. Security is very high at the top secret test site.

Numerous sightings of high flying projectiles have been reported. What are they doing at Area 52? Why did the FAA need to get involved?

More to come... 

 

 

2011 Headlines

 

 

Team PumkinHammer featured on TV

By Jim Riley

September 30, 2011 - Swedesboro, NJ.

Well, we can now officially announce that PumpkinHammer will be featured on the new hit TV show - JUNKies. The show will be airing October 6, 2011 at 10:00PM on the Discovery Science Channel.

JUNKies is produced by the same production company that created Pawn Stars.

Here's the episode information:

Junkin' Chunkin'
Premiere: Thursday, October 6 at 10PM e/p
At Jimmy’s Junk, a team of Punkin Chunkers need Jimmy’s help to take their homemade trebuchet to the next level, and yard regular Hale has found something that he thinks will blow Jimmy away. Then the guys get creative recycling an old treadmill.

Discovery Science is really promoting the episode. If you watch, they are playing the promo at almost every commercial break.

 



 

 

2010 Headlines

The Curse is Over - World Champions!!!

By Jim Riley

November 7, 2010 - Bridgeville, DE.

To our family, friends, and fans, we finally did it. After nine long years, PumpkinHammer can finally claim a World Championship.

It only seems like yesterday, when Rich Foley, John Howard, and Jim Riley took their families took the World Championships, caught the Punkin Chunkin bug and formed team PumpkinHammer, along with Tim Foley, and John Hopkins.

Since that time, the team was known as the perennial Bridesmaid, succumbing to one catastrophic event or another, which prevented the team from reaching their goal.

Perhaps with John Howard looking down on us, the curse was finally broken, and the team eked out by the narrowest of margins (about 52 feet), the World Championship.

The Official Results were as follows:

The top three finishers, were first place, PumpkinHammer, with a throw of 1,972 (Throw 1). In second place, was first year participant, First in Fright with an amazing throw of 1,920 (2). In thrid place, was American Chunker with a throw of 1,783 (1).

Rounding out the Adult Treb division, in order of place were: 4. Tired Iron 1,443 (2); 5. Shenanigans 1,391 (3); 6. Medieval Postal Service 1,309 (3); 7. Launchness Monster 1,265 (2); 8. Bayesian Experiment 1,161 (3); 9. Hokie Hurler 850 (1); 10. Morgana 830 (2); 11. Tree Bucket 735 (2); 12. Great Gourd Experiment 703 (2); 13. Cinderella's Revenge 677 (2); 14. Hurling Chunks 422 (3); 15. Merlin 200 (1)

Development
This year, team PumpkinHammer made a few big changes. First, we developed a new throwing arm.  We removed the massive "Flintstone wheels" to a fixed base. A new arm catching system was added. And finally, we added a stable arm base, guy wires, and added stronger bearings.

All the changes proved to be wise. Rich Foley did a great job on the design changes, and Tim Foley and his Western, Pa operation did their usual magic of making it happen.

We spent a number of very hot days working on the old gal, but it was well worth it. Special kudos go out to team member Don Hylinski, who spent countless hours working on the whipper. Not only did Don dedicate himself to the Whipper, he did a marvelous job in securing our new secret test site - Area 52. Although it was in a human waste treatment site, it proved to be our best test site to date. We even think we'll be invited back next year...

Testing
On September 25th, we had our first test throws. The first test was with 300 Lbs and the test shot went about 700 ft. A week later we added the total weight to 680 lbs, with the projectile going about 750 ft, but it released early and went extremely high. After some finger changes, the next throw went about the same distance, but a little higher.

On our last day of testing, we had two pretty good throws. The first had 1,150 lbs and the second 1,380 lbs. The biggest thing about all the tests was we didn't break a thing. This was a first for team PumpkinHammer.

"The chunk curse..."
As many of you know, our team has been plagued with an annual event, called the curse. Every year that we have participated in the WCPC, we have had a catastrophic failure. We have bent, broke, twisted, torn, or split something either within a week of he event or at the event.

This has been so engrained into the PumpkinHammer mindset, that we just take it for granted that we will break something along the way. So far, nothing major broke on PumpkinHammer, but in our minds, it was just a matter of times. 

Thursday arrival and setup
We arrived in Bridgeville on Thursday morning to set up the machine. The only problem was that it was raining, and more importantly, the field was one big mud puddle. For a while, the Association blocked all teams from entering the pits due to the conditions.

We finally arrived and it seemed that we had the giant whipper up in no time. During this time, the film crew from Discovery arrived and filmed us raising PumpkinHammer. We got a shot off in the rain, which was OK. We left to go back to the hotel. As we were leaving, our team member Don Hylinski and his wife arrived, but unfortunately got stuck in the mud. It took several of us, along with a number of fellow chunkers to push them out.

It was weird not to see the towering Yankee Siege at the fields looking over the rest of us. But according to Steve and Kathy Seigars, Yankee Siege is officially retired from competitive punkin chunkin for good.

Good People...
People often ask me why do do pumpkin Chunking? Besides the fun of competition, we really do enjoy seeing the friends we have made in this sport. Quite frankly, they are all very bright, honest, caring and friendly people. The following is just a small sampling of the people we have met over the years, and my thoughts of each.

Yankee Siege / Tired iron
Steve and Kathy Seigars are perhaps among the kindest and most caring people we have met in Punkin Chunkin. Not only are they great champions, they are decent and honest people. They came down to support Chuck with Tired Iron, but they also were among our biggest supporters. They were also kind enough to stay behind on Sunday night to cheer us as we received our first place trophy. There are not enough words to describe the integrity of these people. We are extremely fortunate just to know them.

Merlin / King Arthur
Chris Gerow and team are our oldest competitors. With them, we established the annual Trebuchet dinner. While Merlin did not have their greatest year, I want to let Chris and the guys know something. Without their genius and creativity, we would not be seeing the level of competition that we saw at the 2010 WCPC. As all of us looked down the Trebuchet line, we were all amazed at the uniqueness and complexity of machine designs. Chris Gerow can be proud, as he and the Merlin / King Arthur team were the reason for it!!!

First in Fright / Imperial Pride
Boy, just like their name, they gave us the biggest fright this year. When I arrived Thursday, I saw this little machine fire off a shot that was quite impressive. What I found more impressive were the people involved in this team, particularly three young men. After the last throw, I got the opportunity to speak with the team in length. What I found were three young men (Galen, Shane & Hastings) who in my opinion are well beyond their years in maturity and intellect. I was so impressed with their knowledge and understood why they won the Youth Trebuchet division. To be quite frank, when they turn 18 and start competing in the Adult division, we'd all better watch out. 

Hokey Hurler
Team Hokie Hurler is made up of Mark and Barbara Stephens. Each year, they arrive with their beautifully designed machine and come to throw. What strikes me most about the team, is Mark's ability to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt regardless of how low the temperature gets. Other than that, they are very nice people with fantastic bumper stickers on their car. 

American Chucker
This team is made up of some really good people, with a lot of integrity. They surprised the chunkin world last year with some monster throws, coming in second place. This year, they led all team's with the farthest arm throw. This team is well organized and will always be a force to be reckoned with.

Shenanigans
This team deserves the comeback award. In a practice shot on Saturday morning, they had a catastrophic failure, which would have put most teams out of the competition. Team Shenanigans simply went to work and popped a Sunday shot almost 1,400 feet. All I can say is wow!!!

Medieval Postal Service
Matt and the guys are a very knowledgeable group. As most of us have moved to metal, they have a beautiful wood machine that's even stained. What's more amazing is their machine is pumping out 1,300 bombs with ease. Nice job guys!!! 

Launchness Monster
This team, which seemed to have about 50 green shirted members, was amazing. We saw a juggler, a gorilla, a pink pants member, and concrete block breaker. In all, they had a wild machine that looked like a collapsible house with concrete blocked wedged in the supports.

Team Chucky
We met these guys early on in Punkin Chunkin. They are what chunkin is all about - they want to push the limits of their skills and knowledge to be the best in the world. And more importantly, they want to beat the distances of those Damn cannons that we in the Mechanical line love to hate. My Jersey brothers are kings in my book!!!

Cara and Jeff, Liz, Fran, Jenny, and the rest of the pit crew
A special note from the team... Cara and Jeff, you guys are wonderful. You have no idea how much the team appreciated what you did for us. THANK YOU!!!

Liz, my karaoke partner, I am truly sorry that Don had to spoil the champagne surprise. That damn Don!!! :)

Fran - it means something when someone decides to give up a once in a life time opportunity to see Peyton Manning's last visit to Philly in order to be with our team on Sunday. Also, I think you are a saint for putting up with Don's aggressive behavior with other male members of the PumpkinHammer team. Also, thank you for cleaning Big E's crab pot.

Jenny - Thanks for the goodies, they were great!!!

To the Discovery film crew - You guys were so nice. It was a pleasure to have met you.

To the 6'3" blonde with the mini-skirt, deep voice and Adams apple at the Purple Parrot, Don wants your phone number. And thank you for leaving the toilet seat up...

To the Jersey housewives who were on their annual shopping spree, we'll see ya next year at the Brighton suites. And Go shopping!!!

To my Jersey Wife and Daughters, thank you for spending under $3,000 during your 4 day shopping spree at the Rehoboth outlets.

Day 1 - PumpkinHammer unloads a monster shot and takes the early lead
While it was at least not raining, we arrived at the fields to a very cold and strong headwind. In addition, everything was muddy as hell.

The first day of competition was dreadfully slow - Thank you Air Cannons - POOF. There are over 100 machines, we were in pit 79, and we finally threw about 3:30 PM. In the first round, PumpkinHammer threw a monster personal best of 1,972. American Chucker was in 2nd place with a throw of 1,783, and First in Fright was next with a throw of 1,603.
 

Day 2 - PumpkinHammer still on top...
On day 2, it was cold, but we had less wind. The Hammer got off a weak shot of 1,220 feet. In second place was First in Fright, with a 1,920 foot throw. American Chucker disqualified because they threw their arm, thus dropping them to 3rd.

The hammer team worked furiously to get off some test throws. As it turned out, the sling line got entangled and stuck within a crevice of the arm. We needed to cutoff that line an create  a brand new one. Since we were running out of daylight, and we were running late to the annual trebuchet dinner, we needed to rush. We finally got out a great throw into the fading sunlight. We were ready for a good throw then next day.

Day 3 - PumpkinHammer holds onto to win it's first championship
On the last day, the hammer changed our finger angle from 45 to 48 degrees. We were ready to break the 2,000 foot mark.

As for the Hammer, our last throw went 1,319 feet, but someone said that they saw something fly off the machine. If that occurs, the throw would be DQ'd. After much searching, we decided to take the DQ in a effort of sportsmanship. It really didn't matter, since our Friday throw would be used as our long shot anyway.

We knew that our only possibility of losing would come down to First in Fright's final throw. We all headed down to their machine and anxiously waited. The Fright threw another monster, and we couldn't help but think about the curse. Several minutes elapsed and the final word came back, - 1,815. After 9 years of 2nd and 3rd place, PUMPKINHAMMER WAS A WORLD CHAMPION!!!

The Trebuchet division ended as follows:

1. PumpkinHammer 1,972 (Throw 1)
2. First in Fright 1,920 (2)
3. American Chunker 1,783 (1)
4. Tired Iron 1,443 (2)
5. Shenanigans 1,391 (3)
6. Medieval Postal Service 1,309 (3)
7. Launchness Monster 1,265 (2)
8. Bayesian Experiment 1,161 (3)
9. Hokie Hurler 850 (1)
10. Morgana 830 (2)
11. Tree Bucket 735 (2)
12. Great Gourd Experiment 703 (2)
13. Cinderella's Revenge 677 (2)
14. Hurling Chunks 422 (3)
15. Merlin 200 (1)

Our goal for next year, renting a Pod and a golf cart. Oh and by the way, we WILL exceed 2000 feet. Stay tuned...

 

 

 

PumpkinHammer: Locked and Loaded

By Jim Riley

November 3, 2010 - Area 52, DE.

Team PumpkinHammer is ready!!!

We expect to be setting up by 10:00 AM on Thursday. We'll setup in a couple of hours and then get some test throws in. 

All we can say is we're ready. No major mishaps and we've got the Whipper whipping!!!

We will miss Yankees Siege this year, but the team is bringing down a new machine. It should be interesting!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



2008 Headlines

PumpkinHammer Bridesmaid Once Again

By Jim Riley

November 2, 2008 - Bridgeville, DE.

PumpkinHammer once again ended up in 2nd place at the World Championships. The most talked about Whipper in the Trebuchet world didn't disappoint though, throwing a whopping 1,700 feet.

Only the 4 time world champion and goliath, Yankee Siege threw farther, breaking their own world record with a throw of 1,897 feet. Of the final "Big 3" trebs, Merlin finished third with a throw of 1,589 feet.

Rounding out the Adult Treb division, in order of place were: 4th - Hokey Hurler, 5th - Great Gourd Experiment, 6th - First in Fright, 7th - Medieval Postal Service, 8th - Morgana, 9th - Fred the Treb, 10th - Shenenigans, 11th - Bellum, 12th - War Hammer, 13th - Tree Bucket, and 14th - Shock & Awe.

Development
This year, team PumpkinHammer had the to make the transition back to a Whipper after last years last minute change to a super propped trebuchet. Last year, the whipper broke again about a week before the competition and we had to convert it to a traditional trebuchet.

Work began in June, with the goals of converting to a whipper design, adding a dampening system, and finally adding an automated jacking system. The team worked through many hot and wet weekends. Our hope was to have the Whipper ready for testing in early August.  

Testing
On August 2nd, we had our first Whipper throw. We saw great whipper action and the possibility of the power with only 450 lbs of counterweight. One thing that we all noticed was the dampening system worked perfectly. In the past, our problem was that the machine would go wild after the throw, and many remind us of our first attempted whipper throw at the 2006 championships... 

While the speed, power and dampening worked great, our throws were going 9,000 MPH directly in front of us. The craters created were immense. After playing with counterweights and finger angles, we finally moved to extending the sling length.

"The week before the chunk curse..."
Being an original member of Team PumpkinHammer, I can tell you that this team has one consistent - a terrible curse that occurs exactly one week before each world championship. Every year we have broke something major exactly one week before the competition. From countless arms, to headers, to last year where at one point, we thought we would not be able to compete.

However, this year, was different - well almost... On the day we were were going to test the increased sling length, strange things began to occur. First, our generator wouldn't start. Then our faithful hydraulic winch failed. That put us a week behind and closing in on the dreaded week before the chunk curse.

After working on a new winch, we tested the Whipper. And man did it fly. Actually, it went further and higher than anyone thought it would. It is true that we practiced near an airport, and yes the pumpkin exceeded the height of the incoming airplanes. Also, there was a housing development that must have been built after satellite pictures were taken Google. The bottom-line was that we weren't going to do anymore testing. Our motto became - "It is what it was..."

Thursday arrival and setup
We arrived on Thursday morning to set up the machine. As usual, Yankee Siege was already set up from the day before. In the old days of PumpkinHammer, many remember us working well into the night trying to set up the old wood laminated beam structure. Sometimes it would take all 7 of us up to 12 hours to complete the work. Believe me, it was not fun. Especially when King Arthur would pull up at 4:30 in the afternoon, put it together in 30 minutes and drive off.

These days, PumpkinHammer is a dream to set up. Literally, two people could set it up in two hours. Also, we are not carrying 8,000 lbs of lead like the old days. We max out at 1,200 lbs and the lead is cut into manageable 1 foot squares. Yes, sir, this PumpkinHammer is a breeze to set up.

Where's Merlin...
People often ask me why do do pumpkin Chunking? Besides the fun of competition, we really do enjoy seeing the friends we have made in this sport. Quite frankly, they are all very bright and friendly people.

As we were setting up, we started to run into our friends - Yankee Siege, Morgana, War Hammer, Hokey Hurler, Chucky, Onager, Roman Revenge, Fibonachi, Troop 6, etc... However, there was someone missing - Where was Merlin?

We had everything set up by noon, we were inspected, had lunch, and shot a few test throws. We were ready to leave the grounds by 5:00 PM, and to our amazement, there was no sign of Merlin. Where were they?

If King Arthur was the easiest treb to set up, Merlin was now the most difficult to erect. Some of us had a bet if they were actually going to show up. Speculation was that they may have had too many problems and decided not to attend. Others thought they developed the "one push of the button" method that Chris always talked about.

As it turned out, one of their trucks lost a wheel, which forced them to arrive very late. To their credit, they worked threw the night, and actually had a great first throw.

Day 1 - PumpkinHammer takes the early lead
The funny thing about Punkin Phunkin are the testing stories. There is one general rule - DON'T BELIEVE ANYTHING YOU HEAR!!!  The over and under statements are dramatic.

Yankee Siege for example uses the demoralizing tactic. We were hearing testing distances of 2,400 feet and sending shots into the campgrounds. After hearing this, most teams would just shake their heads, pack-up and go home.

Merlin on the hand always understates their throws. We were told that they were having major problems with the machine, and they'd be lucky to reach 1,000 feet. As you can figure out, they tend to fib...

As for us, we have two major problems in giving anyone our test distances. First, we really never have enough time to test and more importantly measure our throws. And the biggest problem, our test site is mostly woods. Therefore, we couldn't give anyone an accurate measurement. All we can tell anyone is that it went high and far.

After we threw our test throws at the championships, Yankee Siege came over to estimate the distances using laser binoculars. All we could tell is that we went significantly past a drainage area, which was about 1,000 feet away.

The first day of competition was dreadfully slow. There are 130 machines, we were in pit 84, and we finally threw about 4:00 PM. In the first round, Yankee Siege misfired and had a first day throw of 0 feet. Merlin threw a whopping 1,589 with Chris and gang grinning ear to ear. Next we threw 1,596 feet, surpassing Merlin by 7 feet.  Morgana was in third with a throw of 666 feet.  
 

Day 2 - Yankee Siege back on top...
When it released, you knew it was going to be far. And far it was, 1,894 feet to be exact. Before that throw, our team members were watching their test throws on Friday night. Apparently they weren't watching too carefully because they said all of their throws were pop-ups barely reaching 500 feet.

We had increased our counterweight by almost 300 lbs. We had tested the night before with the weight and it really went far. One thing we started to notice was that the machine started to roll on our Flintstone wheels. We had never encountered that before, but as we said before, "it is what it is..."

Merlin threw next, reaching 1,564 feet, nearly 44 feet less than the day before. You could tell that team Merlin were stunned by the result, as they went to the very top of their roller coaster track.

We then threw, increasing our day 1 results to 1,640 feet or about 125 feet farther. We were now securely in second place.

Our annual Trebuchet dinner was held on Saturday night at the Big Fish Restaurant in Rehoboth. The teams of PumpkinHammer, Yankee Siege, Merlin, Hokey Hurler, and War Hammer were represented. Also, our friends Costa and Bobbie from the Flying Pumpkins the Movie, attended.  Besides socializing with some great people, many ideas were shared, including a revolutionary design by Walker...

Day 3 - Yankee Siege New World Record and Champion
As it has been in 2004, Yankee Siege took the top spot with a throw of 1,897 feet. From very reliable sources, it has been rumored that once Yankee Siege reaches 2,000 feet, they will no longer enter the giant machine into competition.

As for the Hammer, our last throw went 1,700 feet. Putting that into perspective, that's 2 feet shy of the world record established by Yankee Siege. Let's put into further perspective... Pound for pound, PumpkinHammer is the most efficient trebuchet in the world. With about 1,500 lbs of counterweight, we are throwing ungodly distances. It only shows the power of a whipper.

The Trebuchet division ended as follows:

1. Yankee Siege - 1,897 (New World Record)
2. PumpkinHammer - 1,700
3. Merlin - 1,589
4. Hokie Hurler - 723
5. Great Gourd Experiment - 719
6. First in Fright - 709
7. Medieval Postal Service - 686
8  Morgana - 666
9. Fred The Treb - 652
10. Shenanigans -644
11. Bellum - 563
12. War Hammer - 468
13. Tree Bucket - 434
14. Shock and Awe 137
 

Mark from Hokie Hurler has given us a goal for next year - "2,009 in 2009". Stay tuned...


 

PumpkinHammer moves to 2nd

By Jim Riley

November 1, 2008 - Bridgeville, DE.

PumpkinHammer moved into second place as Yankee Siege set a New World record at 1,894 feet on the second day at the championships. The world's largest whipper improved it's first day throw to 1,640 feet. Merlin dropped to 1,564

Here are the rest of the results:

1. Yankee Siege - 1,894 (New World Record)
2. PumpkinHammer - 1,640
3. Merlin - 1,564
4. Hokie Hurler - 721
5. Medieval Postal Service - 686
6 Morgana - 497
7. Bellum - 499
8. War Hammer - 468
9. Fred The Treb - 442
10. Tree Bucket - 0
11. Shenanigans -192
12. Shock and Awe 134
13. First in Fright - 126
14. Great Gord Experiment - 0
 

 


 

PumpkinHammer in 1st place

By Jim Riley

October 31, 2008 - Bridgeville, DE.

PumpkinHammer, the world's largest whipper takes the early lead at the 2008 World Championships with a throw of 1,596 feet. The whipper really whipped one out there under a low 1,200 lbs of counterweight. Merlin is in second place with a throw of 1,589 feet and Morganna in third with 666 feet. Yankee Siege misfired with the pumpkin rolling out as the massive treb's arm started to move.

Here are the official results of day 1:

1. PumpkinHammer - 1,596
2. Merlin - 1,589
3. Morganna - 666
4. Hokie Hurler - 634
5. Medevil Postal - 501
6. TreeBucket - 434
7. Warhammer - 413
 

The Big 3 News:
PumpkinHammer will be adding 300 lbs to it's counter weight box, moving to a total of 1,500 lbs to the world's largest Whipper. It's planned to add another 300 lbs on Sunday. Stay tuned...

Merlin has said that they have an additional 3 feet to work with on their slide.

Yankee Siege has indicated that in practice they have been throwing great distances with their carbon fiber arm. Don't count the big machine out yet...

More to come...


 

 

 

WHIP IT GOOD!!!

By Jim Riley

October 18, 2008 - Sources close to PumkinHammer have indicated that the team has completed it's testing and is currently dismantling the "World's Largest Whipper" for transportation to the World Championships.  

Those who have seen the monster whipper throw have said it reminded them of Fibonacci. However, all have been sworn to secrecy at Area 52.

Can a monster trebuchet whipper throw over 1,500, 1,750 or even 2,000 feet? We all should find out shortly.

Remember, the power is in the WHIPPER... lol  

More to come...


 

WHIPPPPPPPPPPPPY...

By Jim Riley

August 7, 2008 - According to sources, an extremely loud whipping sound was heard at a secret location (Area 52) within the Delaware Valley. Reports indicated that the sound could be heard from New Hampshire to Virginia...

"I don't know what it was, but it was loud", said local farmer Dave Daddazio. "The strangest thing happened after the whipping sound ended; I thought I heard a bunch of men who were very happy.", added Daddazio.

The NSA released this sound recording of the event. Judge for yourself...

More to come...

 

 



2007 Headlines

 The Windy City...

By Jim Riley

November 3, 2007 - Someone turned on the turbo fans, as Bridgeville, Delaware became one gusty and cold place to throw pumpkins. The after effects of the tropical storm Noel really played havoc with all teams on day 2.

Yankee Siege threw barely 1,000 feet, PumpkinHammer threw a paltry 713 feet, and Merlin had a little blooper backthrow that went into the crowds.  Speaking of crowds and backthrows, the World Championships experienced their first spectator incident, as the team from the University of Tennessee had a line drive that went directly into the crowd. All action was stopped for about an half an hour as emergency crews attended to the injured spectator.

Also, there was some controversy this morning as Team Chucky's amazing 3,000 foot throw on the first day was disallowed because the pumpkin had cracked while it was in the air. The Association handled the episode very professionally and voted that it was a pie. To their credit, Team Chuck graciously accepted their decision. But hell, what do you expect from my fellow Jersey boys!!!

Yankee Siege and PumpkinHammer put on a show for the crowds during the free throw event. In fact, both teams performed a simultaneous throw which brought the crowd wild!!!

Tonight, the teams of PumpkinHammer, Merlin, Yankee Siege, and WarHammer met for our annual dinner. We also had special guests but I'm under contract that I can not discuss it... These folks are great friends and good people.

 

More to come...

 


 

Day One Results...

By Jim Riley

November 2, 2007 - Yankee Siege is in first place with a throw of 1,658. Merlin is in second with a throw of 835. And in third is PumpkinHammer with a throw of 750.

It turned VERY windy and cold as the Tropical storm Noel passed closer than expected to Delaware.

More to come...

 


PumkinHammer Throwing "Curve" Balls...

By Jim Riley

October 20, 2007 - Photos just released indicate that Team PumkinHammer have come up with a completely new type of Trebuchet. Is it a Whipper?  Is is a Super Prop? Is it a Traditional Treb? "We're not quite sure", said CIA Director Smith.

At this point, team members have only confirmed that the Trebuchet is steel, with a pronounced CURVE. "I've never seen anything like it", said Curt Schilling. "Quite frankly, it looks like a baseball pitchers arm", he added.

What is up with team PumpkinHammer? Stay tuned...

 


 

Hammer Moved to Area 52...

By Jim Riley

October 7, 2007 - According to sources, the new PumpkinHammer was transported across the state of Pennsylvania to it's top secret test location, appropriately named Area 52.

According to state officials, there were sightings of an "all steel" machine being transported through the Pennsylvania mountains. Some witness attested that the odd machine stood 60 feet tall and had a "WHIPPING" motion.

"Steel? No way, PumpkinHammer is wood, right?" added Gov. Rendell. Stay tuned...

 



2006 Headlines

 

Hammer Whipped Out...

By Jim Riley

November 4, 2006 - Well the rumors are true, PumpkinHammer was converted to the world's largest Whipper. We purposely did not post anything on the website this year for two reasons, 1) we started very late, and 2) we wanted to surprise everyone at the World Championships.

Early Development
After last year's third straight 2nd place finish, we knew that we could not keep adding weight to PumpkinHammer to compete with Yankee Siege. Also looming in the back of our minds was the potential emergence of Merlin, Chris Gerow's latest creation.

During last year's championships, we heard about Ryan's whipper in the youth division. After seeing the mechanics and his results, we thought we had an answer to the power of Yankee Siege and the finesse of a future Chris Gerow machine.

In late May, the Foley Brother's got together and created a model whipper, using a golf ball as the projectile. Seeing that it could be done, Rich Foley then began modifying the design of PumpkinHammer into the world's largest whipper.

We had several items on our wish list to purchase which included a brand new variable speed hydraulic winch, and more importantly a new trailer. When we moved the to the 40 foot flat bed trailer, we had several issues to contend with.

First, it was terrible to work on since the wood decking was rotted out over most of the trailer. However, the the biggest problem was that we had to totally rely on a tractor trailer driver for moving. In fact, our rig became an issue after last year's competition because our driver was not able to pick up the rig. It stayed on the field for months until the Association finally had it moved.

Work Begins
In retrospect, we began work on the whipper a little too late. While our Newark build site began work on the wheels, base and tower redesign, our Pittsburgh unit was fabricating our throwing arm arm, steel counterweight arms and anything that is magnetic.

We worked most of the weekends in the in the months of September and October. Our new 20 ft. trailer arrived, along with our new winch. The tower redesign was complete and everything looked like we were going to have at least one weekend for testing.

Testing
Unfortunately, our last year's test site fell through. We finally found a place to to test on Dante's farm located near the Delaware / PA border. The rig was moved from our build site to this location. As the towers were being raised using our new winch, no one noticed that the steel plates were ripping through the wood. In fact, the top part of the tower was now stuck in position and many parts of the tower were damaged. Thus disaster struck PumpkinHammer once again right before the championships.

The damage looked terminal and everyone on the team was pretty dejected. After a night of much thought and many beers, team captain Rich Foley felt we could still make the competition. It was decided to scrap the tower raising mechanism by just using the Association's huge forklifts to hoist the top portion of the tower in to place. The only problem was that we still needed to get the stuck towers down, repair the damages, and transport the unit down to Millsboro.

Oh by the way, did someone say testing???

Thursday - Setup Day
At 8:30 am, PumpkinHammer arrived at Millsboro. The team did a super job of putting together the giant whipper, along with improvising as we moved along. We'd also like to thank the beautiful air cannon, Fire and Ice, for providing a giant forklift for us.

As we were building, many of our chunking friends stopped by. Yankee Siege, King Arthur, and the Honorable Councilman Adam from Chucky II. Yes, Chucky II's brother Adam is now an elected politician. (And yes, Adam, I will take down the picture)

About 6:30 PM we were finally ready to make our first ever test throw. A crowd surrounded the monster machine at dusk, awaiting it's maiden throw.  For anyone who has never seen a whipper, picture a combination of a centrifical machine and a trebuchet. The arm actually does a 360 before releasing it's projectile. However, the strangest thing is seeing 1,500 lbs of lead suspended 60 ft in the air.

Well, it was ready for the test. Everyone there made sure their vehicles and selves were well beyond a safe distance. The trigger was pulled and the thing actually worked. The pumpkin was released in a line drive that went about 50 feet. However, the old gal suffered some damage as the counterweight and arm clanged and bagded all over the tower.  We did suffer some damage, but we were ready to throw.

Day 1 - Friday (Our final day)
On the first day of competition, we finally got to see the damage that was done the night before. The counterweight arms were significantly bent. Our front wheels were also significantly bowing out-ward. In our hearts we were hoping for the best, but in our minds, we knew that this would be our final throw in 2006.

In the final phase of our three phase winch down process, we saw that we had a problem. A rope was caught up in the steel cable. Tim and Dan Foley did a Herculean effort to cut and untie the rope using an improvised knife-on-a-pole dangling 40 feet in the air.

As our turn came up, many came to witness this giant whipper do its strange gyration. As the trigger was pulled, the Hammer cranked down but the pumpkin didn't release. As the machine was doing it's wild after throw action, the sling whipped back, almost destroying our backstop, but significantly ripping up our beautiful 13 foot sign.

So that was it. PumpkinHammer for the first time in five years did not place in the top three.

And as always, just wait till next year...

 

 



2005 Headlines

By Jim Riley

Always the Bridesmaid...

November 9, 2005 - The 20th World Championship came to a close on November 6th, and once again Team PumpkinHammer found itself in second place. The team had high expectations going into the season, but after initial testing of the new arm, soon realized that this would be a "regrouping" year.

Early Development
Shortly after last years chunk, designs for a new and improved PumpkinHammer were developed. This included a new counter weight box able to contain up to 7,000 lbs of lead, and a new guy wired, steel reinforced, aluminum arm. Also on the drawing board was a mechanism to self raise the massive towers of PumpkinHammer. The latter was probably the only thing that worked, well almost...

Every year, the team has to find a location to store our 40 foot rig over the winter. Then we have to locate a field location that we can build and then test. Hailing from the East Coast, it's tough for us to find many 1,700 foot open spaces to accomplish this.

During the winter months we made numerous phone calls to secure a test site. Finally, we were put in contact with Moon Nurseries, located on 800 acres near the Delaware / Maryland border. The people from Moon were willing to help and always provided us with great support. For our build site, we were located at Newarc Welding, located in Wilmington, De. Again, the guys at Newarc are first class, and were always willing to help us.

Work Begins
Work on the 2005 PumpkinHammer actually began with ordering an aluminum arm, a new winch and 3,000 lbs of lead. In addition, our Pittsburgh operation began fabricating the steel arm support, arm welds, and all of the other miscellaneous metal items we need. We'd like to acknowledge Bob Crihfield who was our master welder and does a fabulous job.

Work at the build site began on a very hot August 6th, with rebuilding of the tower cradle. We followed one week later on a extremely hot August 14th, by building the lifting rig ramps and lowering the towers onto the cradle. We also did our favorite job of moving lead.

Our long term sponsor, Dr. Lonnie Luscavage of Eye to Eye Ophthalmology provided much needed support in helping secure our new winching system. Another long term sponsor, 84 lumber provided us again with all of our lumber needs. Tri-state battery came through with new batteries. Our sponsors mean the world to us, and we are grateful for their continued support.

On Labor Day weekend, we got the Tower lifting system to work, painted, and hammered the lead into rectangle shapes. On a VERY rainy October 8th, we met at Moon Nurseries and to our surprise we were detained by the Cecil County Sheriff's department for breaking and entering. True story!!!

Testing
During the next few weeks, we put the arm onto the tower and raised it, in which we were ready to throw. Unfortunately, our practice throws were less than what was predicted and guaranteed by the engineering and design team. It became abundantly clear that the combined weight of the 1/2 thick walled 24 foot aluminum arm, steel support, and 3/4 " cables were too much to produce a good throw.

This came to a thunderous head, when on the fateful day of October 22nd, the tires of the mighty PumpkinHammer jumped one and half feet off the ground, forcing it's landing gear off its cribbing and completely tipping over the goliath treb. Did I mention that we put about 6,500 lbs of counterweight in the box, and I may have failed to mention that we were not on level ground.

Needless to say, our testing did not go well. It took us almost two days to jack the rig back up to it's cribbing. We didn't bother measuring any of our throws because they were embarrassingly short, perhaps around 600 feet. In other words, PumpkinHammer was going into the championships behind the 8 - ball. However, we need to give a special thanks to Barry Riggins, who provided us with a pair screw jacks that saved our collective butts!!!

Thursday - Setup Day
At 9:00 am, we found our pit location, and began to set up. For anyone who has attended the chunk, the field is laid out in a huge "L", and we along with Yankee Siege and King Arthur were at the prime real estate location at the elbow. It's prime real estate, because you don't have to walk as far and you're at the center of attention of the event.

The day was beautiful and we had the hammer up in about three hours. We did some test throws, which weren't the greatest, but they were definitely farther than we had at our test site. Next to us was the goliath Yankee Siege, which beat us by 44 feet the year before. Their test throws were monstrous, but they kept changing things and it seemed they getting shorter after each test. We also noticed that they pied several throws. Nonetheless, we thought knew we were battling for second place at that time.

John Huber, of Hypertension fame and an officer with the association, came by to visit. We asked who the pit next to us was, and he indicated that it was Merlin. We knew that Merlin was the name of Chris Gerow's Top Secret trebuchet or catapult project. Before the chunk, we e-mailed Chris and asked how his Merlin project was coming along. He indicated that he didn't have time to complete Merlin, so he was just bringing the legend and 4 time world champion - King Arthur. We started to question if Chris was playing poker with us during his e-mail and in fact was bringing Merlin as a surprise.

Around 4:00 pm, Chris and the King Arthur team arrived (Thank god without Merlin). As usual Chris, pulled the little guy up, unloaded, and was set up in about a half hour or less. And in keeping with tradition, he didn't fire one single test throw.

It was great to see our friends from Yankee Siege, King Arthur, and others such as Brother Adam of Chucky II, and Bob Carbo from Onager. John Collier, the measuring man also stopped over. We met the gang from Loaded Boing, who were in the pit right next to us. They are a great group of people.

Day 1 - Friday
On the first day of competition, we had a fairly long wait till they got to our machines. During the wait, we discovered that Wes Frank from Team Trebarbaric was visiting the chunk along with officials from the Burlington, Wa. Pitch. These are absolutely great people. Wes reminded us about his post on our guestbook. We joked with him that his "record" was atmospherically enhanced, since everyone knows that the air is thicker in Washington, which helps loft.

I also took the opportunity to visit a legend in Punkin Chunkin. None other than Bill Cheyney of De-Terminator fame and the Discovery Channel special on Punkin Chunkin. As it turns out, Bill was the Vo-tech teacher and mentor of one of my friends. They hadn't seen each other in 25 years and my friend was heading down to the Chunk to see the championships and to try and see Bill. As my friend correctly pointed out, Bill is one of the nicest men you'll ever meet. Only after spending a short time with Bill, you can understand why a former student would drive 2 1/2 hours just to see him.

The Adult Trebuchet division has really changed since we first started competing. In the old days, this division consisted of the regular guy who just wanted to enter an inexpensive machine. This was by far the largest division at the championships. Over the past couple of years the division has dwindled down to a handful of machines. This is mostly due to the fact the the bar has been raised so high, that to be competitive, you have to spend countless hours and money.

This year, the main competitors were Yankee Siege, PumpkinHammer, King Arthur and Morganna. Mainly it was two brute force machines vs. two finesse machines. After day one, PumpkinHammer lead with a throw of 1,102. King Arthur was second with a throw of 1,016, and Morganna was in third with a throw of 944. Did I mention that Yankee Siege pied in their first throw.

During the free throw period, PumpkinHammer and Yankee Siege were tossing throws in roughly the same distance. Somehow PumpkinHammer was gaining distance and Yankee Siege was losing it. To make matters more interesting, Yankee Siege broke their best sling line. Perhaps the Hammer had a chance...

Day 2 - Saturday

On day 2, we started seeing the crowds arriving at the event. We heard estimates as high as 45,000 people came. We also heard stories of 2 to 3 hour traffic backups and people just parking their car's on the side of the road and walking a couple of miles just to get there. Another thing you couldn't help but notice was the amount of media at this years chunk. They were from all over the world, including Russian, Swiss, British TV. It also included the Learning channel, Sirius radio, Scrap Yard wars and the list goes on.

They started in the morning with the mechanicals down the crowd fence line. To be honest, the crowds love the mechanicals, because they can at least see something, and more importantly they fire at a very fast pace. When they got to our three machines (PH, YS, and KA), the association officials informed us that they were going to stop, take a break, and move to the air cannons. Our three teams complained because we were already cocked and ready to fire. After some tense moments and chants from the crowd of "Let them throw", the officials agreed and let us fire. The crowd was very happy over this.

The results from the three throws were - Yankee Siege was now in first place with a throw of 1,344. PumpkinHammer was in second with a throw of 1,260, and King Arthur third with a throw of 1,092. We thought we were in striking distance...

One comment about Saturday; with a crowd of 45,000, the Association had a great opportunity to ensure these people would come back in future years. The problem is with the Air Cannons. They take too long between shots and no one can see anything but a sound a some white smoke emitting from their nozzle. In other words, they may attract the people to come, but they are the most BORING part of the event. We had people in the crowd begging us to throw because they were bored to death with the air cannons. They were just waiting for us to free throw because these mammoth beasts just blow...

On Saturday night, the teams of PumpkinHammer, King Arthur and Yankee Siege got together for their annual dinner. We were also joined by Wes Frank and the Burlington Recreation officials. As usual, we had a great time and enjoyed the company of some really classy people. We were also entertained by the infamous comedy team of Mike and Leah.

Day 3 - Sunday

As Sunday approached, we were informed that we would be the last on the firing line. According to the Association, they wanted to end with our machines as a crowd pleaser. To us, that meant that we would be working well into the night tearing down PumpkinHammer.

During the morning, we had the opportunity to watch the youth trebs do their magic. This included Physics teacher John and his students reach their goal of going past 500 feet. We also had the pleasure to see Ryan and his Pumpkin Whipper reach an ungodly distance of over 700 feet. Way to go guys!!!

Next up were the torsion guys, who put on a great show. My buddy and fellow New Jerseyite  brother Adam, from Team Chucky had a heck of a throw, considering they a problem earlier. These guys are phenomenal with the amount of effort they put in each year, plus they're a lot of fun to be around.  Next Bob Carbo and his amazing Onager proved to be too much for the competition. 

As the mechanicals line ended around 11:00 am, we now had to endure the Air Cannons. Again, they take a really long time between each throw, and all you see is a puff of white smoke. The centrificals, which include Bad to the Bone, De-Terminator, and the Brittish "United Flingdom" put on a great show as usual. This happens to be my favorite division, because machines are so awesome to watch.

Next up were the Youth Air Cannons which are as boring as the adult air cannons, but they just take longer between throws. Finally the catapult division was up. This includes John Huber's Hypertension and the unbelievable Fibonacci. If you have never seen Fibonacci, it's one of those things you must see to believe. This thing threw a pumpkin over 2,800 feet. Folks, that's unreal. When it releases the pumpkin, I can't begin to describe how high and far this thing goes.

About 3:30 they finally arrived at our three machines (PH, YS, and KA). What was about to happen was the most wildest ending to Pumpkin Chunkin in 20 years.

First, PumpkinHammer was loaded with all 7,000 lbs of lead in it's CW box. We got the crowd going and released a so so throw, with one exception. The throw headed straight at one of the chase jeeps. In fact landing one foot in front of it, showering it with gourd guts. Needless to say the crowd went nuts!!!!

Next, Yankee Siege loaded a loaned white pumpkin. Apparently, the white pumpkins they brought to the competition lost weight and were under the minimum. Steve had to seek a white pumpkin, which was given to them by a visitor. When the pumpkin landed what seemed to be a suborbital flight, it traveled an amazing 1,702 feet. Again, the crowd went nuts!!!

Finally, King Arthur loaded their machine with 600 lbs of counterweight trying to at least get into second place. When is released, it went straight up into the air about a thousand feet. As it reached terminal velocity as it approached earth's atmosphere, it veered into the direction of the crowd. You could hear screams of "Run, Run", as it landed within 5 feet of a spectator. If this pumpkin hit someone, there would be nothing left of both the pumpkin and the human. Again, the crowd went nuts!!!

It was now about 4:00 pm and we had to spend the next 4 hours tearing down PumpkinHammer. We had one very interesting event during the tear down. As we were cranking down the towers, a chain gave way, almost dropping the towers on a teammates car and destroying the flat bed. Fortunately, it caught, allowing us to correct the problem.

In the end, Yankee Siege was first with a throws of 1,702, PumpkinHammer was second with a throw of 1,260, and King Arthur was third with a throw of 1,096.

The Future of PumpkinHammer

The team realizes that we can't compete against the size of Yankee Siege in our current configuration. We have all committed to going bigger. At this point our design plans call for increasing our towers by 11 feet. We are developing a CW box to hold 17,500 lbs of lead. Finally, we're increasing our arm length to 42 feet. We will be providing detailed designs and providing updates on our status. Stay tuned to this website for further details.

And as always, just wait till next year...

 


Wild Ening...

November 6, 2005 - The last three throws turned out to be the most wild ending for the 20th World Championships.

First, PumpkinHammer wowed the crowd when they came within one foot of hitting a Spotter truck.

Next, Yankee Siege broke the world record throwing an unbelievable 1,702 feet.

Last, King Arthur put a 1,000 foot shot straight up into the air, landing in the crowd. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the crowd went wild!!!

Click here to see the latest videos of these shots, plus John Collier announcing 1,702 to Yankee Siege.

 


 

 

 

 

 

Day 1 - PumpkinHammer is in the lead...

November 4, 2005 - It was a day of surprises at the 2005 World Championships. First, Wes Frank, from team Trebarbaric made a surprise visit to the World Championships.

Next, and are you sitting down? After day one, PumpkinHammer is in the lead, with King Arthur in second, and Morganna in third. Yankee Siege threw pie on their first throw.

Distances were not great as teams were just trying to get one in the books. PumkinHammer threw 1,102, King Arthur threw 1,016, and Morganna threw 944.

Rumor has it that Yankee Siege broke their sling during the free shoot and now has to resort to a very old sling. Also, we are hearing that PumpkinHammer may have found some more distance during testing. Stay tuned to this website for the latest news on the world championships.

Click here to see the latest pictures. Click here to see the latest video.

 

 

 


 

The Two Monsters Meet Again...

November 3, 2005 - Two of the biggest and most popular Trebs on the planet are side by side at the 2005 World Punkin Chunkin Championships. Both of these goliaths tower into the Millsboro sky ready for competition. Yankee Siege looked to be at peak readiness tossing their gourds well past world record distances. PumpkinHammer, after its near disaster a week ago still has some fine tuning to do with its new Aluminum arm. As in past competitions, King Arthur showed up late in the afternoon with no practice throws. Stay tuned to this website for the latest pictures, video, and distances of the 2005 World Championships!!! Click here to see the latest pictures. Click here to see the latest video.


 

When Weebles Wobble...

November 2, 2005 - Disaster was nearly averted on October 22, when the mighty PumpkinHammer's flatbed rig jumped it's cribbing, wobbled a bit, but fortunately never fell down. Crew members were quite relieved when the 6,000 lb of CW stabilized the entire rig. It took a number of hours to gingerly get the big machine back up. The old gal is now on her way to Millsboro to compete in her 4th World Championship. Complete with a new Aluminum arm, new propped CW box, additional lead weight, and a self raising system, PumpkinHammer set for the competition. Click here to see pictures. Click here to see video.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 PumpkinGate...

October 18, 2005 - According to sources, 5 middle aged PumpkinChunkers were detained by police after break-in at Area 53½.  According to the Cecil County Sheriff's Department, a Richard Foley admitted to entering the premises and triggering a silent alarm. Five other accomplices were apprehended with Foley, as they rode on the back of a trailer. Sheriff's Deputy, Bubba Hatfield, said, "the men claimed to have been part of a Pumpkin Chunkin team."  Documents provided by authorities indicate that monsoon conditions were happening at the time of detainment. "Their story didn't seem credible, especially after they said they were working on their Trebuchet in that storm", said Hatfield. "They were either a complete group of idiots or bunch of dedicated Pumpkin Chunkers to have been working in those conditions", he further added. Click here to see more pictures...

 

 



2004 Headlines

By Jim Riley

1,350!!!

November 7, 2004 - Monster trebuchets mean monster distances!!! As it turns out, there were two monsters that invaded Millsboro, Delaware for the 19th Annual World Punkin Chunkin Championships.

America's favorite treb, your own Pumpkin Hammer was pitted against another Goliath treb named the Yankee Siege. As it turned out, both machines reached for the suborbital limits with throws of over 1,350 feet!!! 44 feet separated first and second place, with Yankee Siege taking the championship with a toss of 1,394. Four time world champion King Arthur came in a distant third with a throw of 1,100 feet.

The Broken Arm
As many of you may recall, PumpkinHammer was going to use a 40 cable stayed boat mast as our throwing arm. In line with our past years, that arm broke in half approximately two weeks before this years big event. Fortunately, we kept last years laminated wood throwing arm. We had no time for testing, and all we could do is just dismantle PumpkinHammer for the trek down to Millsboro.

In our test throws with the boat mast arm, all we can tell you was that they seemed VERY far without putting much weight in the box. Since we couldn't accurately measure the throws, we couldn't give the actual distances. All we can tell you is that it appeared very far...

The Rain
Team Pumpkin Hammer arrived in Millsboro on the morning of Thursday, November 4th. As we arrived, we couldn't help but notice a very large steel structure being assembled with a construction crane. The location of this contraption was not in the normal area of the trebuchet class, but it had a unmistakable box of a mid-evil trebuchet.  At first we were hoping that it was just here to demonstrate the art of chunking large objects, such as a car. But could it launch an 8 lb pumpkin? When we arrived, there were only a handful of the mechanicals, but all the towering air cannons were already in place.

We immediately began work on erecting PumpkinHammer. This year's design allowed us to winch the towers directly in place on our 40 ft flatbed trailer. However, because of the problems that we had with the arm, we had to do some additional work on our trebuchet. We also still desperately needed to do some test throws with our old arm. What we weren't ready for was the bath we were about to take.

It began to rain about 9:15, and like the temperature went steadily went down hill from there. Both Tim and Dan Foley only had a jacket, Shawn Wyatt and I had one of those 25 cent Walmart poncho's, however, the outfit of day belonged to our team captain - Rich Foley. He wore what appeared to be a rain coat that was about 6 sizes too small, and had more holes than covering. In fact, if rich had a 12" piece of Saran wrap, it would have offered more protection. Needless to say, we were definitely not prepared.

We finally finished erecting PumpkinHammer around noon and we were set for a test throw. About that time, we looked down to that huge thing that they were building, and before our eyes was an Trebuchet that could have been taken directly from the medieval period. It was beautifully built but more important, it was monstrous. On top of it, they had put it on four metal wheels that had to be at least 10 feet high.

We began to set up for our test throw. Now, please understand, that we had not been able to test anything because of the break that our new aluminum arm suffered only two weeks before the competition. We also were going to test our top secret Rich Foley designed, double dropping counterweight dual triggered system, on last year's arm. In other words, we were on plan "H" at this point.

As the rain went from bad to really bad, we had guys who working in pretty high places in very dangerous conditions. But nonetheless, we were ready to shoot. 3 - 2 - 1, fire!!! The shot went exactly 60 feet - backwards. It only overshot our "protective" backstop by a mere 10 feet, then barely clearing Shawn Wyatt's rented Tahoe by a few inches.

We had two words for Thursday - Drenched and Disappointed...

A Friday that we'd like to forget
When we arrived Friday morning, we drove by the huge treb - Yankee Siege. The engineering of this machine is phenomenal - and quite frankly with it's wheels, it looks like a giant toy. As we pulled into our stall, we got the first glimpse of the legend - King Arthur. After saying hello to our old friends, we went right to work. The first thing we had to do was change the triggering system back to a single release. Since we hadn't really had time to test, it was decided to go only with 2,000 lbs for our first throw. With only 2,000 lbs of counterweight, PumpkinHammer is pretty lame. And lame was a good word for our first throw - 644 feet. Next up was King Arthur, with a throw of 1,071 feet. At that point, we felt quite disappointed that we wouldn't be a factor in this year's competition.

Because of their pit location, the Yankee Siege did not throw within our time frame. They were scheduled to throw later in the day, so we had more time to sit an wonder what they could throw. As the day progressed rumors spread about the distances that the new treb could chunk. They ranged from 600 to 2,000 feet. A few theories floated that a trebuchet that big was only good for throwing large objects, and most likely would not be a factor. After their first throw, all the "experts" were quieted - 1,362 feet. With a 2,000 lb steel arm and a 9,000 lb counterweight box - they were the new big boys on the block. And we're back to third place once again.

Back at the hotel, a few of the PumpkinHammer team members decided to partake in liquid refreshment activities to soothe the disappointing two days. In fact at least one team member, who shall remain nameless, was contacted by hotel security for disturbing the other guests. Later, this same team member was put into the National Registry of Hotel Room Abusers.

Saturday and the "shot" that changed our weekend
As we rolled into the hollowed chunking grounds on Saturday, we had the feeling that we just wanted to get the day over.  Our game plan was to add all four thousand pounds of counterweight and see what we get. Our thoughts were that we'd be in the 1,000 foot region.

While we waited for our turn to chunk, we ran into Adam (Chucky II), the cursing brother from the Discovery channel special. He began to tell us story that even made our situation look good. They began their journey from North Jersey still needing to make a stick weld to their machine. Let's just say that their trek went from bad to really bad... Despite all the problems they experienced in getting to the event, they still kicked butt finishing 2nd in their division. Teams like Chucky II are the reason that the sport of chunkin is so great.

As we got ready to shoot, our thoughts were not exactly of being competitive, but to at least throw a thousand feet. It was around 10:15 AM, and there was a very large crowd behind us. As the countdown began, we had no idea of what to expect. 3-2-1-FIRE... And fire it did!!! At first it didn't hit you but then you saw this pumpkin rising like a professional golfer's drive off the tee. The next thing you saw was the spotters in their 4 wheelers going like a swarm of bees to the rear. At that point, we knew this shot was far, but we had no idea that it was over 1,300 feet. As we waited, John Collier, the WPCA official turned and told us - 1,315 feet. We couldn't believe it. Just a few minutes before, we were just trying to be respectable, and now we are within striking distance of first place.

For three years, we wanted first place, which meant getting past King Arthur. As we've said in the past, King Arthur is pure finesse. We are just size and power. However, now we competing a against a much bigger opponent - Yankee Siege. At 4,000 lbs of counterweight PumpkinHammer didn't even budge. The throw was flawless and smooth. After a little discussion between our team, it was agreed to increase the counterweight. There was much concern over increasing the weight might not increase our distance, or might even destroy the machine. However, it was time to put up or go home. One of our teammates went for a concrete bag run, which we later loaded onto the machine. At that point, we had around 4,800 lbs in the counterweight box.

Our annual Saturday night dinner with King Arthur 
Each year, we have a get together dinner with Chris Gerow and the guys from King Arthur. We extended an invitation to the new guys on the block - Yankee Siege. It was the first year we were going into our annual dinner ahead of King Arthur, but still in second place thanks to the treb from New England.

As usual, it's a great way to get together and talk to our competitors.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday 
Our biggest challenge on Sunday was not the throw, but the winching the arm down. There was much concern that our winch wouldn't able to handle the added weight, or is the arm would break from the stress. To our relief, everything went down A-OK. It was our moment to throw, and there seemed to be a lot of tension in the air. At this point, the Yankee Siege had throws of 1,362 and 1,345. King Arthur had throws of 1,071 and 1,133. Our two throws were an embarrassing 644 and 1,315.

The trigger pulled, and all 4,800 lbs came down flinging our gourd towering into the fall sky. This throw was BIG, and the crown went wild as we did. Right before the throw, they give the spotters a distance estimate which was in the 1,300 foot range. Let's just say that the spotters seemed to have misjudged how far we were going to throw, because they all had to make up the distance to reach our pumpkin. From our position, this throw seemed so much farther than our 1,315 throw the day before. In fact the "Fire Boss" came up to us to report that the pumpkin came within 50 feet of the fence line. At that point, we couldn't guess at what distance we had gotten.

When John Collier came back, we heard 1,350. Can you believe that throwing a trebuchet 1,350 feet as a disappointment? Later in the day, the big Yankee Siege threw a whopping 1,394 feet.

Oh well, that was PumpkinHammer's 2004 exploits at this year's World Championships. Just wait till next year...

 

 


Monster Sighted in Area 53 

October 11, 2004 - According to Delaware authorities, there have been numerous sightings of a extremely large red, white and blue object in the New Castle County area.  Residents have been advised to keep in-doors and all aircraft have been diverted from the area.

Reports have suggested that this object stands sixty feet tall and is extremely mobile. "We're not exactly sure what it is", said Captain Louis Albano of the WPD. Several eyewitnesses claim they were attacked by orange projectiles that were launched from the beast. Several of those witnesses claim they were a few thousand feet away, however, Captain Albano could not substantiate those claims.

At this point, citizens are urged to report any further sightings. The President and the joint chiefs of staff are fully aware of the situation. Experts working on the case have indicated that the triggering and throwing mechanism of this creature is revolutionary. See additional Pictures...

 

 

 


PumpkinHammer gets set for 2004

September 11, 2004 - Sources close to Team PumpkinHammer have acknowledged activity at their new top secret location - Area 53. From what we understand, each team member has been sworn to secrecy. However, we have been able to gather this:

  • PumpkinHammer will incorporate a revolutionary, if not radical counterweight and triggering system.

  • The beast is estimated to stand nearly 60 feet tall. (Yes, that was six - zero feet)

  • The forces generated from the new design have required space age materials for the 35 foot throwing arm. (Oooops, did we reveal too much info)

  • PumpkinHauler, the teams mobile transportation rig has been overhauled and will become a mobile launching platform.

  • New Sponsorship associations have have allowed the team to flex it's capitalist muscle.

Bottom-line, PumpkinHammer is not a Flip-Flopping machine like John Kerry. Being one of only two trebuchets that have thrown a pumpkin over a 1,000 feet, this team has to be reckoned with. In just their third year of competition, they have both placed and shown. They believe that this year, will be their year.

Also, on another note... This being the third anniversary of the heinous and cowardly attack on our country, Team PumpkinHammer would like to express our support to our great country, our courageous President, and most of all, the brave men and women of our armed forces. God Bless America!!!



2003 Headlines

By Jim Riley

PumpkinHammer reaches the 1,000 mark!!!

PH's distances, as recorded
by John Collier

November 3, 2003 - It finally happened!!! Not only one, but two trebuchets have reached the coveted 1,000 foot mark in competition. At the 2003 World Championships, America's favorite trebuchet team - PumpkinHammer had a throw of 1,024 feet. That mark was only exceeded by 4 time world champion - King Arthur, with a shot of 1,150.

The team's big rig - "PumpkinHauler" arrived sharply at 8:00 AM on Friday morning. The team quickly began the massive job of erecting the goliath treb. The Hammer took 4 practice shots and were pleased with their results. The game plan was set for a Counterweight of 3,000 for throw 1, 3,500 for throw 2, and then a final weight of 4,000 lbs for throw 3. The finger angle was set to 0% for all three throws.

The trebuchet division was fielded with it's best competition ever. Teams included perennial favorites - King Arthur, Regulator, Pumpkin Air, Junk Yard Chunker, and Man Killer 2. Several new competitors arrived and also showed great promise, such as - Morgana, and a super group of engineering students. Team PumpkinHammer felt confident going in, however, any team in this group could have pulled out a win.

PumpkinHammer

As Saturday rolled in, temperatures were a balmy 79in Millsboro, Delaware. And in light of the Discovery Channel special from last year, the formula was set for attendance records. However, in this reporters opinion, the sport of punkin chunkin lost a great opportunity. Unfortunately, the Air cannon class shot twice on Saturday, with all other classes only going once. For anyone who has ever attended a punkin chunkin event, they soon realize that the Air Cannons are the most boring things to watch. Why? It's simple. The only way you can see a pumpkin shoot from an air cannon is by being directly behind it. With the set up in Delaware, for obvious safety reasons all spectators are placed on the side and at a great distance from the big guns. Basically, they see a white puff of compressed air emit from the end of the barrel, then hear a loud roar. That's it. The crowd then begins to ask - "Did it fire yet?"

This was compounded by the fact that the air cannons were taking exorbitant amounts of time before each throw. Around 12:30 the side firing line of trebs and Cats began to throw. Spectators finally realized what a waste of time Air cannons were and how amazing the little guys truly are. It was rumored that the crowd began chanting - "Air Cannons Blow, Trebs and Cats throw"!!!

All joking aside, this reporter gives the big guns all the respect they deserve. Sending a gourd over 4,000 feet without breaking is truly amazing. However, they and the Chunkin Association need to remember from a spectator's shoes, these cannons are a bust. The loudest crowd response is with the mechanical machines.  Watching a centrifuge like Bad to the Bone spin at amazing speeds, Hypertension, Acme, Fubiachi, Onager or Gene's Machine toss at amazing distances, or the beauty of the trebs like King Arthur or PumpkinHammer lobbing get more crowd reaction then all the cannons combined. Perhaps it's a new and larger location, or strict five minute time limit between tosses.  We have found the people who run the Chunkin Association to be absolutely great people. They go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome and try to provide as much fairness and safety as possible. Something needs to be done, and hopefully the association will remedy the situation.

ManKiller Guest rider "Brother Adam" gesturing that Chucky II is number 1

In the first round, Morgana, the engineering students and the crowd pleaser Man Killer II all had great throws.  Punkin Air then set a personal best with a great throw of around 750 feet. Unfortunately for Punkin Air, they broke their throwing arm. Then it was PumpkinHammer's turn. We wanted to just get a safe throw in with 3,000 lbs of CW. It went and the crowd went wild. John Collier, the association's official measurer came back and told us we had a throw of 832 feet. There we were, finally in first place!!! Well, for a few minutes anyway...

However, next was last year's runner up - Regulator. From the time we arrived, we noticed that team Regulator was experiencing a lot of problems. First, their trailer had a flat tire. Then they failed at moving their treb into their official pit location. But we all knew, you can never count out Regulator. With that, they fired a shot well into the 900 foot range. They were in first place, we were now in second.

Next, up - the reigning world champion - King Arthur. Right before their throw, Chris Gerow and the guys approached me to say, "get ready". That had us quite concerned. Over the past few months, we have been in communication with Chris, and would inquire as to their progress. Chris would make a great poker player - because his responses were consistent - "They had one problem or another, but were moving to competition level". We also noticed that when they arrived at the championships, they did not take one test throw. And I repeat - not one test throw.

Watching King Arthur throw, is a thing of beauty. The machine is a super propped, dual action armed, trebuchet of wonder. While PumpkinHammer is a beast of power, utilizing tremendous weights, and structural strength. King Arthur captures it's power with a whipping action, that is very similar to a Tiger Woods tee shot. As the toss was released, you could tell immediately, that we were moving into third place. There was a bus placed in the throwing field, which we had heard was around 1,000 feet away. Their pumpkin significantly went past it, with a new world record throw of 1,137 feet. After day 1, it was 2002 all over again. King Arthur was in first, Regulator in second, PumpkinHammer in third, and Pumpkin Air in fourth.

Team's PumpkinHammer and King Arthur
at Jakes Seafood

On Saturday night, our team met Team King Arthur (David Bresnahan, Peter Hart, Peter Jesinski, and Chris Gerow) for dinner at Jakes in Rehoboth Beach. Although we may be competitors on the chunkin field, these guys are first class in our book. At that time, we had learned that our friends from Team Pumpkin Air had broken their second throwing arm during the free-for-all throw which eliminated them from further competition.

When we arrived on Sunday morning, we found a huge gift laying at the feet of PumkinHammer - three white pumpkins. Anyone in the punkin chunkin business will tell you, white pumpkins are revered. The reason is they seem to hold up better when being chunked. Unfortunately, we only had traditional orange pumpkins which we felt put us in a disadvantage. Mark Denlinger and team Pumpkin Air - thanks for the gift. You guys are one of the reasons why the trebuchet division is the class of the field.

On Sunday, the air cannons again dominated the entire morning. The trebs finally began to throw their second of three shots around 1:00 PM. Again, great throws were made by each team. Man Killer was again a real crowd pleaser, with having "Adam", the cursing brother from last years Discovery channel special as a guest rider.

Team Pumpkin Air

On our second shot, we added 500 lbs to get us to a total CW of 3,500 lbs. There was discussion from team members to modify the plan and use 4,000 lbs on the second throw and add anything we could find, including the kitchen sink on the 3rd and final throw. However, we kept to the script. While the shot seemed farther than our first throw, it was very apparent that it was no where near King Arthur's first throw from the day before. That throw was probably our biggest tactical error. The predominate thinking was that 3,500 lbs was going to get us to the 1,000 foot mark. Unfortunately, with the extra 500 lbs we gained about 100 feet, to a throw of 927 feet. At least we were in second place...

Next up, Regulator. Their team had added extra weight, however, as they released, you could tell that their throw hadn't gone further than our second throw. Here we are, now officially in second place. Next up was the mighty King Arthur. They had added 100 lbs to their CW, which now totaled 500lbs. Their shot screamed from their trebuchet, but their release was a bit early. It seemed like their pumpkin hit the stratosphere, before returning to earth. Bottom line, the pumpkin went higher, than farther. Still, they managed a throw in the 800 feet range.

As the third round approached, our team went into full discussion about increasing the CW to as much weight as we could find. We had no more lead or steel, but other team's such as the great crew from Junk Yard Chunker and the Engineering students offered anything we needed. We also had teammates who were willing to ride in the basket to add weight. Because we didn't have the opportunity to do as much testing as we needed, we didn't know what was the magical weight of diminishing returns. In other words, at some point, there is a weight which is the most optimum and going past that will not increase your distance. In fact, with too much weight, we could even damage the machine. Again, it was decided to go the more conservative route, and concede first place, to ensure that we achieve the 1,000 foot mark. Again, we only added another 500 lbs, for a total CW of 4,000 lbs. Again, another 500 lbs gained us another 100 feet, for a total distance of 1,024 feet. In retrospect, many of us felt that PumpkinHammer could have easily handled an additional 1,000 lbs. And perhaps we would have given King Arthur a run for their money.

Regulator

Through out all of this, the team members from Regulator were coming out of the woodwork with all kinds of weights. I'm not sure if anyone has ever seen the Regulator machine, but it's all metal with Yosemite Sam at the top. It's not exactly the prettiest or cleanest machine to look at, but it always seems to throw very well in the competition. You have to give credit to the team Regulator, they had the guts to go for it all on their last throw. No science was involved, just the desire to put as much weight as possible to get distance. As they cranked down the arm of Regulator, all those who had any engineering sense or half a brain stood as far back as possible and behind a solid object. It was clear that this machine was achieving maximum overload. As a member of team PumpkinHammer, I thought three things were going to happen - 1) They would be the first chunkers to throw a mile, 2) the entire treb would break apart creating havoc for anyone within a mile (even those standing behind solid objects), or 3) they'd backfire. Their final shot was a line drive right into the crowd. Fortunately, no one was injured, including the backstop that was supposed to protect the crowds from backfiring line drive shots...

On their last throw, King Arthur, threw another 1,000 + foot shot, thus adding to their legend. We left knowing that we finally have a machine that can handle massive counterweights and achieving great distances. We are all ready discussing improvements for next year. King Arthur, congrats on your win, and JUST WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR...

 


 

PumpkinHammer Packed and Ready

October 25, 2003 - PumpkinHammer's own specially designed rig - "PumpkinHauler" was seen rolling into Area 52.  Rumors have it that the paint scheme alone carried quite a big price tag. The rig also contains many of the same amenities that can be found in the NACSAR circuit. On other developments, AP reported today that a newly designed "aero-arm" was being developed on the site. How much distance do these chunkers want to chunk?
Stay tuned...

 


PumpkinHammer breaks 1,000 ft. Mark

October 18, 2003 - News from Area 52 has spread through out the pumpkin chunkin world. At approximately 10:30 AM  today, PumpkinHammer has shattered the magic 1,000 foot mark in testing. According to team officials, this was accomplished with only half the counterweight load that the Hammer was built for. What's next for this massive trebuchet? 
Stay tuned...

 


First Two Victims

October 12, 2003 - Officials from Area 52, PumpkinHammer's secret project location, have reported the first two pumpkin casualties of the 2003 punkin chuckin season. While the volunteer pumpkins appeared somewhat quiet before the launch, both were said to have made a loud thud sound as they reentered Earth's atmosphere. As for distances, let's just say one word - FAR!!!
Stay tuned...

 


 

MONSTER Treb Raised

October 11, 2003 - At 40 feet tall, 30 feet wide, and carrying a 4,000 lb counterweight, the monster trebuchet PumpkinHammer was raised early this afternoon. "It's big", said the team of the enormous punkin chuckin machine. Experts from around the world have been estimating just how far this trebuchet will throw. "You do the Math", said Professor Irwin R. Sphinkta. "40 feet with 4,000 lbs will produce a lot of distance, said Sphinkta. According to an FAA spokesperson, all flights have been diverted away from Area 52 air space.
Stay tuned...

 

 

 


PumpkinHammer Attacks Foley

October 4, 2003 - Famed trebuchet captain, Rich Foley was savagely attacked by his latest creation. Word from Area 52 revealed that the 40 foot beast lunged at Foley and would not let go. Fortunately for Foley, the trebuchet centered it's attack on the hand region. Other team members had to beat back the the monster treb, which some have said, wants to be free to launch pumpkins. This event marks the second tragedy of the weekend. On Friday night, Roy Kohn of Ziegfield and Roy was attacked and critically injured by a tiger. Both Roy and Foley are said to be resting comfortably as of this report.
Stay tuned...

 


 

PumpkinHammer Laughs at Isabel

September 22, 2003 - The storm of the century, hurricane Isabel came and went. The great American Trebuchet, PumpkinHammer weathered it with flying colors. Although, Area 52 received some wind damage, director of site services, Donald Sheldon implemented the Emergency Plan with precision.
Stay tuned...

 


PumpkinHammer braces for Isabel

September 16, 2003 - The National Weather Service has issued hurricane warnings for the East Coast of the U.S. In that region is the secret PumpkinHammer build location named - Area 52. Sources close to the team indicate that it would take a lot more than 200 mph winds to even sway the monster machine.
Stay tuned...

 

 


NSA releases Area 52 Satellite Images

September 8, 2003 - The NSA released the first satellite imagery of the top secret location, known as Area 52. Pentagon officials continue to deny it's even existence. The photos released today clearly indicate some sort of activity. Many speculate a new super weapon being developed using 8 - 10 lb orange projectiles.
Stay tuned...


(Click photo to enlarge)


 

Team PumpkinHammer ready for 2003

August 14, 2003 - According to unidentified sources, it is rumored that Team PumpkinHammer is preparing for the 2003 World Punkin; Chunkin Championship. The rookie team surprised the Punkin; Chuckin world with their 3rd place finish in last year's event. 2003 promises to be a Star Spangled year for the team.  From our sources, we keep hearing "BIGGER", "BETTER", and "FARTHER".
Stay tuned...



2002 Headlines

By Jim Riley

 

TEAM MEMBER FEATURED ON DISCOVERY CHANNEL

Sunday, February 2 - The Discovery Channel was wise enough to feature PumpkinHammer's own Jim Riley in their broadcast of "Punkin Chunkin". "Jim Riley is a natural", said Director Steven Spielberg from his home in Santa Monica. "You can't teach the changing of expressions that quickly and on queue", he further said. Riley, modest as ever thanked his fellow teammates for understanding that only one member had the looks and talent to be on TV. Stay Tuned...


 

TEAM PUMPKINHAMMER - 3RD BEST IN THE WORLD

Sunday, November 3 - Team Pumpkin-Hammer, competed in this weekends World Pumpkin Championship in Millsboro, Delaware.  Against all odds, this first year team placed 3rd in the world with a chunk of 717 feet. Congratulations go to our new friends from Team "King Arthur", who are the reining World Champions. Many new friends were made this weekend, including Team "Punkin Air" and Team "Mankiller" - Great job guys!!! The Trebuchet division proved to be one of the only divisions that not only increased from last years marks, but shattered them!!!  Last years winning chunk was 643 feet, that mark was broke by several competitors, including your own team PumpkinHammer. Team PumpkinHammer is already in gear to improve.  Stay tuned...

SEE THE VIDEOS

The 4 test throws at Millsboro (Front brace broke on the 4th throw)

Throw 16 (Test 1)

Throw 17  (Test 2)

Throw 18  (Test 3)

Throw 19  (Test 4)

 

Official Throws (2nd throw breaks the header)

Throw 20 (1st  throw - 515 Feet)

Throw 21 (2nd  throw - 717 Feet)

 


TEAM PUMPKINHAMMER LOADED FOR BEAR (or pumpkin)!!!

Sunday, October 27 - Team Pumpkin-Hammer, still celebrating from Saturday's world record throw made further enhancements to PumkinHammer.  Sources close to the team indicated that the FAA had to divert air traffic from PumkinHammer's secret location. 
Throw 15 shows a unique close up view of a PumpkinHammer throw. Pay special attention to the violent forces of this monster trebuchet. Stay tuned...

SEE THE VIDEO

 Throw 14 | Throw 15


WORLD RECORD THROW!!!

Saturday, October 26 - Team Pumpkin-Hammer, overcame adversity from the past two weeks and has achieved the impossible - A NEW WORLD RECORD!!! Team members, located at their secret training camp at Area 52, were overjoyed by their accomplishment. Will PumpkinHammer continue tossing monster chucks? Stay tuned...

SEE THE VIDEO

The World Record Throw


DEATH NARROWLY AVERTED!!!

Saturday, October 26 - Team Pumpkin-Hammer members Rich Foley and Jim Riley narrowly escaped with their lives as a misfire launched a projectile 1,000 feet - straight up. Exclusive video shows Foley running for his life, as Riley bravely stands his ground.  The projectile officially landed with a distance of negative 8 feet. Can PumpkinHammer overcome this near tragedy?  Stay tuned...

SEE THE VIDEO (Viewer Discretion Advised)

The Death Throw


PUMPKINHAMMER RISES FROM THE ASHES

Saturday, October 26 - Team Pumpkin-Hammer is back, and its back with a vengeance.  The Hammer is throwing flawlessly and will be very competitive at the 17th annual punkin chuckin championships. Stay tuned...

SEE THE VIDEO

Throw 6 | Throw 7 | Throw 8 | Throw 9 | Throw 11 | Throw 12 |


WANTED: ONE USED TREBUCHET ARM

Sunday, October 20 - Team Pumpkin-Hammer has experienced its 2nd set back in as many weeks. On Saturday, the team reinforced the arm from last weeks disappointment. Unfortunately, a complete system meltdown had occurred. The team will be very busy this week in developing PLAN B. Stay tuned...

SEE THE VIDEO

Throw 5 | The aftermath


HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!!!

Sunday, October 13 - Team Pumpkin-Hammer has found a whole set of new challenges on it's second day of testing. The chucker is doing it's job, by tossing world record distances. However, several key component's need additional reinforcement and engineering. Will Team Pumpkin-Hammer overcome these key obstacles? Stay tuned...

SEE THE VIDEO

Throw 3 | Throw 4 | R. Foley Interview | Arm | Box


IT FLEW, AND BOY DID IT EVER!!!

Sunday, October 6 - The first testing of Pumpkin-Hammer took place today. While Team Pumpkin-Hammer did not disclose actual distances, it has been  rumored that world records will be broken. Stay tuned!!!

SEE THE VIDEO (Arm action only)

Throw 1 | Throw 2


 

 
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