Smashing Pumpkins at the 2010 Punkin Chunkin Smashing Pumpkins at the 2010 Punkin Chunkin

Smashing Pumpkins at the 2010 Punkin Chunkin

by Peter Smith

November 6, 2010

Everything you ever needed to know about the culture and physics of Punkin Chunkin, where grown men compete to chuck pumpkins with contraptions named Medieval Postal Service, Punkin Pi, and Sir Chunk-a-Lot, appears in the forthcoming issue of Gastronomica magazine.

One of the many things that I learned from the articulate piece is that varieties matter a lot when push comes to shove comes to toss:

Not every pumpkin can tolerate travel at these high velocities. Your familiar orange Halloween pumpkin will not; it is prone to exploding when confronted with high pressure. (How high? For Big 10 Inch, the reigning world champion, the pressure in the two air tanks measures three hundred pounds per square inch.) The Lumina pumpkin, white-shelled and orange-?eshed, has earned a reputation for hardiness in such extremis, as have the white pumpkins of the Casper variety. Calabaza pumpkins—West Indian pumpkins, that are, I’m told, especially strong and dense. Teams either grow their own or ?nd a reliable pumpkin supplier. (PDF)

In case you're near Delaware, the 25th annual Punkin Chunkin event will be held tomorrow.

Photograph (cc) by Flickr user jfernsler.

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Smashing Pumpkins at the 2010 Punkin Chunkin