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Pumpkin Chuckers descend on Stowe for annual event - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Pumpkin Chuckers descend on Stowe for annual event

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STOWE, Vt. -

If you're looking for a new spectator sport, try Pumpkin Chucking. That's what hundreds of people did Sunday in Stowe.

Wood, metal, or rope -- whatever it takes to chuck a pumpkin the farthest.

"It's not really about the pumpkins. I don't really have a grudge against pumpkins," said Dave Jordan, who started the Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' festival eight years ago. Judging by the large number of spectators and the number of competitors, his pumpkin throwing event has grown in size and intensity. 

The goal is to chuck a pumpkin as far as you can in the field behind Stoweflake Mountain Resort. What you use is a gravity pulled catapult called a trébuchet. You have to build it yourself, following strict rules on weight and size. One tug of the rope can launch a small pumpkin hundreds of feet. 

"The simple way to describe a trébuchet is, you put a pumpkin on one side of the teeter-totter and you have an elephant sit on the other one," Jordan said.

A few smashed pumpkins is not the only price you'll pay. Proceeds from the day go to the Lamoille Restorative Center, a court diversion and justice center that helps about a thousand people a year. "We also have employment programs and lots of alternative justice programs that keep people out of the justice system," said Heather Hobart, the center's Executive Director. Hobart says the center is aiming to raise $10,000 at the event -- a spectacle she says is squashing her expectations. "Well I'm learning a lot about it," she said.

And so are the participants -- from the old to the young.  "I don't really get the physics part, but I like to make stuff," said 10 year-old Emerson Stapleton from Essex. Stapleton won last year's lightweight division. She's back again with a new trébuchet. Her dad is a physics teacher.  He's just down the line with a similar, but much bigger, version of her catapult. He's competing for a title in another of the four categories.  Stapleton says she's shooting for 235 feet -- a distance she was just shy of after round one. 

Flinging fruits for a good cause.      

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