During the fall months, Cambridge is home to some of the best seasonal colors. But, on at least one Sunday in this small Vermont town, streaks of pumpkin-orange draw more spectators than the foliage.
Nick Helms says he can't imagine a hobby more enjoyable than 'Pumpkin Chuckin'. "I mean, what's more fun than building something and then watching the success of it flying through the air," he said, "it's just indescribable."
Initially dreamed up during the middle ages as siege weapons, Helms and those at the Fourth Annual Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival use trebuchets to fling gourds through the air. The contest determines the best amateur engineer and raises money for the area Rotary Club.
James Spanier, a four-year veteran, says the key to success is failure. "Trial and error, there's a lot of info out there, but nothing's down to the science," he said, "you have to find the right balance of pumpkin and counter weight, sling length, how your boom works, how long things work before they break."
Spanier call his current creation "Version 3.0." He reduced the counter-weight from 2,000 lbs. to 1,000 lbs. which led to more consistent chucks. His current long is 350 feet.
"I would love to have like close to one thousand feet, but I'm nowhere near that," he said, "next year I think I'm going to modify it again."
Spanier says he wants mimic the design of Helms and others.
Helms eclipsed 500' last year. "It's called a 'whipper' because it whips around," he said.
His secret: an extra arm offers an extra 90 degrees of rotation, and extra distance. He'll need to adapt as well though, because each year there's extra competition.
Friday, April 18 2014 10:02 AM EDT2014-04-18 14:02:17 GMT
A sugaring season was cut short in Swanton overnight after a shed caught fire. Fire officials tell us they got the call around 1:30 a.m. Friday for the sugarhouse fire on Woods Hill Road. They say theMore >>
Sugaring season was cut short in Swanton early Friday morning after a shed caught fire. More >>
Friday, April 18 2014 11:57 AM EDT2014-04-18 15:57:55 GMT
New York lawmakers are engaging the public in the fight against the rise of opiate addiction. The state Senate has created a task force to hear from law enforcement, health care, social service and educationMore >>
New York lawmakers are engaging the public in the fight against the rise of opiate addiction.More >>
Friday, April 18 2014 10:04 AM EDT2014-04-18 14:04:26 GMT
This week, the first line of emergency responders are being recognized for their work. National Telecommunicators Week ends Saturday. It's a national week honoring the men and women who work around-the-clockMore >>
This week, the first line of emergency responders are being recognized for their work.More >>
Friday, April 18 2014 11:50 AM EDT2014-04-18 15:50:17 GMT
Fires may soon be burning in parts of the Green Mountain National Forest. Federal officials will team up with local fire departments for some prescribed burns. They only plan to burn about 300 or 400More >>
Federal officials will team up with local fire departments for some prescribed burns in the Green Mountain National Forest.More >>