Tom Bush of Parkesburg was the only competitor at this year’s Extreme Chunkin Festival at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a human-powered machine, the Smokin’ Lamas catapult, writes Travis Morin for the New Hampshire Union Leader.
The fourth annual Extreme Chunkin Festival – “chucking” is intentionally misspelled so as to rhyme with pumpkin – is an annual gathering of hobbyist engineers from across the nation. They use catapults and a number of other homemade contraptions to send pumpkins and various other items flying high in the sky.
This year, 23 teams with colorful names such as Redneck Dream and Mista Ballista competed for trophies and bragging rights.
Bush’s machine was powered by a bicycle pedaled by one of his teammates. It used a mash-up of two designs that Bush had seen at other chunkin festivals.
“I had to kind of combine the concepts of them, totally different concepts, and I came up with this concept of a flywheel, which nobody else had,” said Bush. “I went home to build a little prototype, and that led me to this.”
All the hard work paid off. Smokin’ Lamas launched a pumpkin 2,368 feet, which is now a record for a human-powered pumpkin chunker.
Read more about the Extreme Chunkin Festival in the New Hampshire Union Leader here.