November 4, 2012 -
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.
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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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!!!
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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
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!!!
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.
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…
Ohio’s finest is represented here. This is a fun group and likes
to have multiple support vehicles…
Tom and team are really nice people. On the last day they had an
amazing shot 1,567 feet.
These guys have a nice machine that can throw pretty darn well.
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.
These are my Jersey Brothers and may be the most popular team at
We met some great young competitors this year. J.T., Josh,
To the all the film crew (Amelia, Lindsay, Kim,
John and crew) - You guys were so nice. It was a
Below are the results of the 2012 Adult Trebuchet division. As you
can see, all the trebuchets were far short of the world record.
Yankee Siege II
First In Fright
Chapel Hill, NC
Great Gourd Experiment
Stand Back And Watch This
Pumpkin Flight School
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
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.
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
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.
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...
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:
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.
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)
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
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...
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
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.
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. 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
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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
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
Jenny - Thanks for the goodies, they were
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
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
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)
goal for next year, renting a Pod and a golf cart. Oh and by the
way, we WILL exceed 2000 feet. Stay tuned...
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
Day 1 - PumpkinHammer takes the early
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.
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
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
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
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...
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
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
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
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...
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...
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...
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
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...
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...
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
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...
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...
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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???
- 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
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
By Jim Riley
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.
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 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
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!!!
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.
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!!!
- 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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
videos of these shots, plus John Collier announcing 1,702 to
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
Click here to see
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
Click here to see the latest
Click here to see the latest
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
Click here to see
Click here to see
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
Click here to see
By Jim Riley
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
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...
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Our annual Saturday night dinner with
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
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
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
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