Did you know we have World Champion Punkin' Chunkers right here in Warren County, New Jersey? They practice and work on their machine at a great farm in Asbury, New Jersey – the West Portal Pumpkin Patch.
The West Portal Pumpkin Patch is one of the first farms in the area to offer the total fall farm experience – corn maze, hay maze, hay rides and pumpkin picking and fall decorations and more.
Interested in helping or coming out to the farm to cheer the team on (spectating only - there is a charge per question) contact Captain Dan at Daniel.Collins@ge.com to receive the e-Newsletters for updates on progress and work sesssions.
Team Chucky has been competing and WINNING for years in the World Championship and original Punkin Chunkin near Nassau, DE.
In 2011 Chucky II of Washington, NJ came in 1st place in the Adult Catapult category, shooting a winning shot of 2,027.96 feet.
Team Chucky anticipates coming to the Last Fling Pumpkin Sling for the first time in 2012.
Marc, Dan and Adam with Chucky 2 at "The Chunk" last year.
Team Chucky is always looking for people to come out and help with the work on the machines and to cheer them on as they fine tune their machines.
From Left to right: Kevin, Marc and Brad at the machine, 1st work session, 2011
Some news from Captain Dan and Team Chunky – local celebrities & World Champions in Torsion
We had a great time at this year’s Chunk and did exceptionally well in the competition, to boot.
Friday’s shot was best, a world record for all mechanicals (that’s ANY kind of machine except air cannons!) of 3,636.39’ Click here to watch. Not only was the shot record-breaking, but was the first time any mechanical broke the 1 kilometer mark. In terms of the “mileage”, the shot was just over 2/3 of a mile! At the end of Friday, Chucky 3 was in 2nd place in the whole competition, trailing a single air cannon by only 8 feet!
We did have strands of rope break under pressure each day (we were using 1” rope instead of our preferred 1 ¼” which we didn’t have in time for the event, due to a shipping mishap), which may have contributed to our diminishing distances over the next two days, but also wind and the vagaries of pumpkins likely played a role, culminating in a very disappointing Sunday throw of less than 2,000 feet. It appeared the pumpkin completely rolled over in the air and hooked, hard, into the ground. In the end, our Friday shot was good enough to win the Torsion Division, set a new World Record for the Torsion Class and for any mechanical and beat 44% of all the Adult Air and Women’s Cannons (we bested 100% of the Youth Cannons, but who’s counting). Here’s a video of Saturday’s shot.
Once again, the Torsion Class brought their “A-game” to the field in Delaware. Personal bests were racked up by every team; Roman Revenge, with 2 throws over 3,000 feet (their best was 3,223’); Onager, personal best at 2,409’; Ethos with a new best distance for their machine of 2,911’, Mista Ballista broke the 1,000 foot mark for their best shot ever, 1,041’, and Alicia Gaul Buster, whose Captain, Glenn Battschinger missed the last 2 Chunks serving in the US military in Afghanistan (thanks, Glenn!), set their own best-shot-record with a throw of 1,923’. The only thing more impressive than the improvement in distances was the carnage. Both Onager and Roman Revenge have a lot of work to do. Onager blew up their throwing arm on Sunday, and damaged their frame up front as a result. They’d been having trouble with their modioli earlier in the competition and it looks like they will have to be replaced as well. Roman Revenge suffered what looks like significant frame-bending damage and it may take quite a bit of effort to rebuild her. Luckily, Chucky 3 saw very little damage and should be up and running very quickly this spring!
General Team Chucky News
A possible reality show is in the works, featuring Team Chucky, where it seems we may be pitted against champions of other odd and unusual competitions around the USA. Other options include Team Chucky joining up with a perennial also-ran team at one of these competitions and trying to help them win. We’ll see what happens. Could make a good show. What we really would like is some advertising work where we could get some money from promoting power tools, steel, whatever, to help defray the costs of our catapults, so we’re still working on that, as well.
Plans for 2012
There are several things we plan to do to improve Chucky 3 in our quest to overtake the cannons, win the competition, and throw a pumpkin over 1 mile. This list is not inclusive, but reflects most of the tasks we need to accomplish before next year’s Chunk:
1) Make a new power arm. This is relatively easy. It involves cutting and welding heavy steel plate to make an improved power arm. The original of which was (kind of unbelievably) bent during the competition. Update: Marc tells me this will be done at DeJong Steel within the next few weeks: look-out, the 2012 season has already begun!!
2) Make a new throwing arm. The original was not damaged this year, but all agree it needs to be lighter to increase the speed of the pumpkin when released. To that end, we have been in contact with carbon fiber and laminate specialists within General Electric, whose jobs are to design the sometimes massive wind turbine blades (some over 100 meters) for GE’s windmills. We’re also looking for a place that can help us get the materials at cost and maybe use their autoclave to cure the thing. Know anybody like this? Let us know!
3) Re-do the hinges connecting the top of Chucky 3 with the main section. The current ones are so tight we cannot lubricate them and they need to be somewhat more forgiving and loose to make the “flipping of the top” easier. We’ll make them stronger while we’re at it.
4) Rework our hydraulic cart, which is somewhat of a Frankenstein affair at the moment. It can be made smaller and more efficient, at the very least.
Dan and the rest of Team Chucky