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T2860 RECON Punkin Chunkin Wrap-Up (Sent by Mr. Wheeler on Monday, November 5, 2012)

posted Dec 9, 2012, 4:39 PM by Lonnie Rimmer

Greetings Scouts!  RECON is back from Punkin Chunkin and we had a lot of fun!  As a reminder, RECON Scouts visited the World Championship Punkin Chunkin contest near Bridgeville, Delaware this weekend.  What a spectacle this was!  Let’s get right to the details of our adventure.

We launched our hearty team early Saturday morning for the five hour drive to the event site in Delaware.   The trip up was without incident.  Traffic signs along the local highways helped guide us along the final route as we traveled closer to the event location.  It’s kind of like a small State Fair in a giant cornfield.  There were lots of helpers to guide you to parking.  The field was muddy in places.  People got their cars stuck here and there but overall not too bad considering Sandy had just finished drenching the place.  If you don’t want to get dirty, don’t go Pumkin Chunkin.  This is a down to earth (literally) experience.  We set plans for staying in contact and with our buddies and into the world of flinging fruit we went.

The air cannons were taking their turns firing for score as we entered the grounds.  The experience of witnessing this in person is considerably different than on TV.  For one thing the cannons are LOUD!  The sense of distance that little fruit travels is jaw dropping.  There was a bit of a headwind on Saturday making for somewhat shorter shots, but impressive none-the-less.  You have to watch very carefully to keep your eye on the pumpkin as it leaves the barrel.  With a good shot, you eventually lose sight of it, probably around 2,500 feet distance.  The pressures and forces exceed the molecular cohesion for some fruit and they become affectionately known as pie as they leave the launching device.  Quality entertainment for sure.

Basically how this works is the teams arrive and get set up, located on the firing line more-or-less by category and divisions of adult and youth.  There is free fire when nobody is in the outfield and teams can test their machines.  That is called off and the shoot for score begins.  The scoring officials and measuring teams in the outfield work together making their way up the line permitting each team time to shoot.  The pumpkins shot for score are weighed and measured by scoring officials.  The machines must pass many safety protocols and the whole firing line is tightly controlled.  There are a lot of details that you can explore at the official site.  http://www.punkinchunkin.com/ including a listing of the many charities that benefit from funds raised through event proceeds.

Punkin Chunkin is first and foremost a party!  There were carnival rides, many food and merchandise vendors, and bands playing at a very nice stage.  Visitors brought campers that occupied much of the surrounding area around the shooting field.  Campers also pitched tents in designated areas braving the windy and cool conditions.  Parking was plentiful if not a bit challenging in places.  This is literally a corn field recently harvested with the remains of the corn stocks on the ground.  Every manner of ATV was in use everywhere with a large contingent of off-road equipment being used to facilitate event operations.  The crowd was very well behaved.  Security was provide by the State and local police and many volunteers were helping just about everywhere you looked.

The Science channel cameras were prevalent.  A long boom cameral rig with many filming crews worked up and down the firing line.  We Saw Keri Bryan and Grant Imahara from the Mythbuster cast.  In fact, Jared, Grayson, myself and Mr. Tyson were treated to a camera shot set up for Grant on Sunday as he ran along the fence line where we stood and did high-fives with us while the crowd cheered.  We were front and center for that right at the fence.  Pretty cool.  Grant hung around and visited with the crowd for quite a while right by us.

On Saturday as the afternoon was waning, we left the event and made our way to nearby Matinak State Park.  We had three little camper cabins rented for our overnight stay.  Being November in Delaware, we weren’t sure what conditions we’d be in so the cabins were selected for overnight accommodations.  This turned out as being a great decision.  Mr. Tyson treated us to an excellent meal, we had a nice campfire, and later we all crammed into one of the cabins and played aggravation until late into the night.  On Sunday morning we had an easy meal, packed up, and went back to the Chunk.  Entrance this day was much less crowded.  Basically a repeat of Saturday with all the teams shooting for score.

There were some surprises.  The Pumpkin Seed section was very cool.  Youth as young as four years old were involved in building and firing their machines in this section.  The tailgating was pretty amazing with devises for comfort being most inventive.  We saw Fat Jimmy, the Bad to the Bone crew, Big Ten Inch, and all the icons of Chunkin.  Most everyone in the crowd and the teams were decked out in well-worn working man clothing, typically Carhartt and Schmidt gear.  If you don’t know those clothing brands, don’t own any of it, or have never entered a Tractor Supply, you probably wouldn’t fit in with the Chunkin crowd very well.   Being a farm kid myself, I was right at home!!

We finally had our fill of Chunkin about 3:00pm Sunday afternoon and regrouped at the truck.  After a robust but friendly marsh mellow and corn cob fight, we loaded up and headed for home.  We stopped for a meal halfway home, arriving at Woodlake about 10:00pm. 

Thank you:
Mr. Tyson – Another adventure down!  Thank you very much for the meal and friendship as always.  This was a pretty amazing adventure and we couldn’t have done it without you!  I think a new obsession may have been born!

Eagle Scout Jared – Thank you Jared for going with us and helping with the guys!

Grayson, Zach, Tom, Walter, Kyle, Oliver, Alex…you are a great RECON crew! 

The RECON crew is very much looking forward to discussing the possibilities of bringing our experience about Chunkin to the Troop and how we might generate good Scouting around this extremely popular and fun activity.

Mark Wheeler