Aludium Q36 Pumpkin Modulator Punkin Chunkin
Posted by LOTGK on October 8, 2009
Halloween Lost! About 10-12 years ago, the Punkin Frolics or Punkin Chunkin came to my town. The Canfield Fairgrounds hosted the event. The concept was for groups and individuals to build contraptions to fling pumpkins through the air as far possible. How cool was that?
The contest was grouped into several categories to keep the competition fair. The categories were, Human Powered, Catapult Powered, and Air Powered. All groups were lined up in one long row, about 100 yards long. There were approximately 100 entrants in total and to my surprise, about a dozen in the air powered category, the big daddy category.
The cost was $5 dollars to get in the gates but you received a delicious piece of pumpkin pie. It really was good. There was a pretty good crowd, at least several hundred people, and for a pumpkin throwing contest, that was a lot of people.
The event was very relaxed and casual with the human powered category first on the block. Basically, this category was a lot of people picking up 10 pound pumpkins and tossing them as far as they could. I and the rest of the crowd found this very amusing as many contestants stumbled and twisted to the ground in their attempts to fling their pumpkins.
The catapult category was also entertaining as several machines, loaded with old garage coil springs stretched back a launcher holding a pumpkin and with a loud (TWANG!) would launch the pumpkin hundreds of feet in the air.
Some catapults did not fare to well as springs and bungee cords snapped or not positioned correctly. Some machines slammed the pumpkins straight down into the dirt creating a cloud of dust. One contraption launched a pumpkin backwards causing a stir in the closely watching crowd. Some pumpkins went straight up, and straight down.
But this is what everyone came to see. (Spoken in my best Looney Tunes Marvin The Martian cartoon voice) The Aludium Q36 Pumpkin Modulator. The Q36, (As people in the biz like to refer to it as) was the world record holder of pumpkin tossing. It shot a pumpkin over 4800 feet. That’s close to a mile folks.
In it’s first shot, the pumpkin shot out of the cylinder so fast you could barely see the trajectory of it. Mostly, you saw the smoke and mist of the after effects. The call from the spotters, (The men who measured the distance of each pumpkin toss) radioed back that the first shot landed 3800 feet away. A very impressive shot indeed. We could over hear the handlers of the Q36, (Actually they were hooin and hollerin and carryin on) that they were just getting warmed up and the next shot would break their standing world record. the crowd was abuzz in anticipation.
After about half an hour of the other machines entertaining us shooting pumpkins, it was the Q36’s turn again. The pumpkin was loaded carefully so as not to dent of bruise the pumpkin, and then the 100 foot long 10 inch diameter barrel was slowly raised into firing position. Several men were snapping valves closed and checking air pressure as the compressor revved it’s motor filling the pumpkin modulator to capacity.
A minute later, a judge waved his flag signaling it was clear to fire. A long horn rang out and a second later a 10 pound pumpkin made history as it shot forcibly from the cannon and propelled through the air and completely out of site. The crowd waited for the report from the distance spotters but no news came in. Usually, it was within one minute the distance would be radioed in and reported over the loud speaker system to the crowd. No news came. The contests and events continued.
Rumor has it that the Aludium Q36 Pumpkin Modulator shot a pumpkin past the containment area, and onto Route 11, one of the busiest roads in Canfield. Smashed pumpkin remains were spotted by some motorists passing by. If true, the pumpkin traveled almost 6000 feet, longer than a 5280 foot mile.
The next year, the Q36 was on the list to return to the Canfield Fairgrounds for the second annual Punkin Chunkin. Mysteriously, it never made the trip, never fired a single pumpkin, and to my knowledge, never competed in the competition ever again.
Happy Halloween – Samhain
LURKING, IN THE SHADOWS, ON THE GRASSY KNOLL