The annual competition where machines hurl pumpkins didn't happen this year, but it should return in November 2015.
American Thanksgiving is next week, and while some people watch (American) football all day, the real competition on TV has become Punkin Chunkin. But there will be no Punkin Chunkin on TV this year. The news leaves me shocked and disappointed.
For reasons not explained on the Punkin Chunkin website, the competition, where people and machines gather in a field in Delaware to hurl pumpkins, didn't take place this year. The next competition is scheduled for Nov. 6-8, 2015.
If you've never heard of Punkin Chunkin, let's just say it's a segment of the maker community gone wild. Since 1986, people have spent considerable time and money designing, building, repairing, and refining machines of several types to see whose pumpkins can travel farthest. Machine categories include air cannons, torsion catapults, and centrifugal-force machines.
What does Punkin Chunkin have to do with test and measurement? In 2011, I interviewed John Camping, a member of Team ETHOS (Experimental Torsion Hybrid Onager System) from Beavercreek, Ohio. The ETHOS machine uses a data-acquisition system from Measurement Computing to measure the tension that the torsion machine puts on its ropes. When the ropes are released, an arm holding the pumpkin swings forward, hurling the pumpkin. The photo shows the Team ETHOS tortion catapult.
The Team ETHOS machine hurls pumpkins by creating torsion on ropes.
Unlike football, Punkin Chunkin actually uses technology, not to monitor machines, but to measure distance. Football uses chains, but Punkin Chunkin uses GPS.
"Chunkers," as they're called, didn't take the lack of a competition sitting down. Some were crushed to learn of the cancellation. Even with no competition, some Chunkers gathered for a demonstration anyway, as reported by WBOC-TV.
In recent years, the annual competition has been broadcast on Discovery Channel on Thanksgiving night. But with no competition this year, we might be forced to watch football. But seriously, which would you rather see sail through the air: a football or a pumpkin?
— Martin Rowe, Senior Technical Editor