The 19th Annual Punkin Chunkin Colorado festival was held at the Arapaho County Fairgrounds in Aurora, Colorado. This was our first time there. The event and organizers are truly special. Everything was laid-back, but ran like clockwork. Aurora treated the Chunkers with such kindness! Thanks!!!!
Our time at the event started by setting the machine up on Thursday and tuning her Friday morning. We tuned to a medium level and shot 2 test shots (pie and 3,294 feet). Chunk Norris attended the contest all the way from New Hampshire. Even though they were in the “catapult” division and we are in the “torsion” division, we considered them our main mechanical machine competitor, and they promply shot 2 test shots ~4,200 feet down range. Talk about intimidation! However, those guys and gals are wonderful folks! We also had a great time meeting Team 4G, another torsion catapult team consisting of 4 generations of family and friends. 4G helped us tune our machine and lent us tools.
The PC Colorado contest consists of 6 total shots, 3 of which count toward the World Championships. At the Captains meeting Saturday morning, we all agreed that shots 1, 3, & 4 would be the designated World Championship shots.
Saturday: mid-50s with a really horrible headwind (15-23 mph). A bit depressing, especially when we pied our first shot. Our tuning level was roughly 6,000 pounds draw load, so this was a surprise. It appeared as though a sling rope sliced the pumpkin clean in two. Shots 2 and 3 went better (3,176 & 3,051), not bad for the headwind. Chunk Norris managed a 3,243 foot shot. We tuned up at the end of the day in preparation for Sunday.
Sunday: mid-40s and neutral winds. Shot 4, counting toward the World Championships, was simply fabulous! 3,776 feet at 433 mph and a new World Record (for torsion and, for now, all mechanical catapults). We were on cloud nine, so the fact that our next two shots were not as good didn’t phase us a bit. Our friends, Chunk Norris, unfortunately had a bad day. Their 1st shot had troubles due to a power bundle failure (3,035 feet). Their 2nd shot was so stupid fast (512 mph) that the pumpkin disintegrated. Finally, their 3rd shot pied also. This left us with the lead and winner of the traveling PC Colorado trophy and the keeper torsion trophy.
The two shot photos to the right are from Shots 4 & 5. You can see why Shot 5 didn’t travel as far. It turned over and dived to the ground.
The 13th annual Combined Federal Campaign Pumpkin Chuck was held on the runway adjacent to the National Museum of the USAF. It was an amazingly pleasant day with temperatures between 50-60 degrees. We had 2 Class ‘A' machines (Team ETHOS and American Chuckers), a number of small machines, and a human powered fundraising machine.
The Phoenix’s first shot of the day was 3176 feet and turned out to be our best of the contest shots. Unfortunately, for our good friends, American Chuckers, they suffered a mechanical failure on their first launch that put them out of action for the day. We shot 3045 feet on our second shot and then decided to tune up. I’m so proud of the professionalism and skill of Team ETHOS members. We added a significant tuning in just 30 minutes! Too bad the results were not so great. Death spiral and 2536 feet! However, we shot a 4th demo shot that hooked very badly but still carried 3294 feet and cleared the Phoenix at ~425 miles per hour!
I will add more photos and videos in the near future!
The 12th annual Combined Federal Campaign fundraising Pumpkin Chuck was held on the runway adjacent to the National Museum of the USAF. The weather was cool with a cross-wind and rain in the morning. We had 3 Class ‘A' machines (Team ETHOS, American Chuckers, and Chunkworks), a number of small machines, and a human powered fundraising machine.
The Phoenix kicked off the event with a great shot (trace of pumpkin in picture) of 3086 feet! Once the celebration died down, we tuned up to a higher load for shots 2 and 3. Shot 2 hooked badly left, traveling 2719 feet. Shot 3, however, was spectacular, covering 3319 feet and insuring a contest win. American Chuckers had shots of 1726, 1703, & 1843 feet while ChunkWorks had shots of 1526 & 1795 with one shot not found.
Our shot earned $513 for charity. A report of the total fundraising from the contest is still pending.
Team ETHOS began their travel to the 3-day World Championships on Wednesday, covering the 575 miles in 1-2 days, depending on the team member. We setup The Phoenix on Thursday. The Torsion Division has six competitors including, Team ETHOS, Onager, Chucky 3, Alesia Gaul Busters, Roman Revenge, and, new-comer Shenanigans.
Day 1: Friday the 4th: We were “on-the-clock” at 0830 in the morning. It was cold with a bit of a head wind. Our machine (and team) was not awake yet and threw a spiralling shot of 2198 feet, placing us in 2nd place for the day. Ranges for the others were Roman Revenge - 2331, Onager ranging 2128, Chucky - 982, Alesia Gaul Busters - pie, and Shenanigans - 173 feet. We tuned up more (thanks Onager for the loan of team members) getting ready for day 2.
Day 2: Our shot time was a much more civilized 1215. Temperature was in the low 60s with a slight wind from the left. Onager made a fantastic shot of 2787 to put pressure on us. Team Captain, Bob Carbo, said in fun “I throw down the gauntlet”, to which I replied “Bob, I pick it right up!” Our shot was fantastic, traveling very straight and lifting. Even with a high release angle, we achieved a great shot of 3202, putting us in first place for the day. The other teams scored as follows. Roman Revenge - 1864, Alesia Gaul Busters - 1108, Chucky - pie, and Shenanigans - pie. We then tuned up even more, readying ourselves for Day 3
Day 3: This day must be prefaced with a note about an accident that occured at the very end of the contest. A cannon breech exploded during a shot and the breech plate struck a woman in the head. The head injury is very serious, with the woman (a producer for Sharp Entertainment) in critical condition. As of 5 days later, we still have not heard any news. Another person was hit by shrapnel, but is ok. Due to this, all scores of the day were not posted. UDATE: We have an update on the injured producer. She is recovering, but it will be a long road. See this CNN.com article for more information. It sounds like she has a great spirit and is positive about the situation! Day 3 Wrap Up: As I said above, we pied. I’m not sure of all the other’s ranges as the Association has not published final results. I do know that our Day 2 shot of 3202 feet held on as the Division first place.