This past weekend Sally, Jessie and I were invited to take part in an annual fall activity called “Punkin Chunkin”. If you are not familiar with “Punkin Chunkin’” don’t feel bad. Neither was I. Evidently this is a pretty big deal in the North East. Punkin Chunkin is the art (and competition) of creating machines to hurl pumpkins as far as possible. This sounds amazing! I cannot believe it has not caught on down here.
Luckily Sally is friends with a true visionary. Kathyrn Boyd is, as far as I know, the first “Punkin Chunker” in Texas. She has created her very own Punkin Chunker that her daughter Emmy Kate has dubbed “The Pumpkinator”. They invited my family to join their family for an afternoon of good natured vegetable destruction.
“The Pumpkinator” is an ingeniously simple catapult that Kathryn designed for the sole purpose of propelling pumpkins hard enough to explode on impact. Katherine’s Pumpkinator is built on a 2” drill stem frame that looks a lot like an old swing set. Pointing down from the top bar are two arms that hold long rubber lines made from surgical hose. The rubber lines are attached to a funnel that has been modified to include a handle. The pumpkins are placed in the funnel which the shooter pulls back as far as possible. Then, it is just a matter of point and release.
I cannot describe the shear bliss that burst out across those kid’s faces when those bright orange orbs exploded against the plywood wall! It looked like so much fun that Sally and I gladly lined up for our turn. After firing “The Pumpkinator” I can tell you that you have not really lived until you have used a catapult to fire a pumpkin into a wall!
Even though chunking pumpkins is new to me, the feelings I felt while doing it are not. I miss the days when families actually got together and participated in good, old fashioned, wholesome activities. I know I sound like an old man here, but I truly believe we would all be better off if we got up, turned off the TV, the computer, the Ipad and the Playstation and went outside and chunked pumpkins with our friends and family. I want to say a big Thank You to Kathyrn for creating “The Pumpkinator”. People like you remind us all that life is best when lived unplugged!