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Team Urban Siege Narrowly Edged for First

Day 3 of the 26th World Championships of Punkin Chunkin was a wild one. The winds were non-existent all day long, leading to some super shots. The trebuchets led off again, with Yankee Siege II firing it's second official misfire of the chunk, leaving them with the 2326' from Day 2. Merlin also repeated their Day 1 shot, although not with as much hang time. Suffice to say that their 1985' from Day 2 was their best, and a personal best by a long shot. Great Gourd Experiment finally joined the 1000 foot club. Congratulations to Terry and the gang!

Next up, First in Fright ripped off a massive shot, but fell less than 5 feet short of joining the 2000-foot club. So close guys! Hokie Hurler also shot backwards, and the whole machine flipped on it's back as a result. Luckily, no one was hurt. Bayesian Experiment, after 2 days of cutting, grinding, and welding, had gotten their machine shortened down to the point where it could shoot. They had a nice shot in the morning before the chunk started. Unfortunately they pied their official shot. Hopefully they will be back next year with it working properly!

Launch-Ness Monster snapped one of their winching lines early in the morning, and did not have enough time to even think about restringing in time for an official shot. So they strapped some of the spare rubber from their catapult entry and turned the frame into a catapult. They smashed their pumpkin into their frame, but put on a fun show beforehand!

Next up was Team Urban Siege and our new machine, NASAW. We had not added any weight from Day 2 as we were concerned about breaking another pumpkin. Test shots on Saturday night proved we still needed a good solid pumpkin and while the one we had was good (donated by Launch-Ness Monster, thanks guys!), we were still worried and not tuned at all for more weight. We felt we had enough in there to beat Yankee Siege II anyway. Long story shot, we fired the machine with 1900 pounds of counterweight and the pumpkin came out very clean. And man did it fly! We all went nuts as it landed, shouting and cheering and high-fiving, sure we had caught Yankee Siege II. The number came in: 2316'. That's right, 10 feet SHORT of catching Yankee Siege...

Admist the agony of being so close, Shenanigans III fired off a terrific shot over 1600 feet, great job by Tom and the gang! We are sorry about the hard hat bouncing off the machine as we were cheering...glad we didn't hit the pumpkin. Tired Iron shot a 1400-foot shot, leaving them with their Day 1 shot of 1700+. American Chucker is starting a tradition for them as they chucked their arm again, but not quite like last year. This time the main section of it just fell off the front of the machine. The shot wasn't all that far either, leaving them with Friday's 2032. We were guaranteed a podium spot now, as only Pumpkin Hammer was left.

And Pumpkin Hammer had a tremendous shot. We were all sure it was over 2000 feet and the question was where it left them. Surprisingly it was 1950, which this year meant 6th place for them. What a year for the trebuchets! And we had Second Place!!! We could have had first, but that's all right, we will take second and be back next year for first!

Torsion followed up, and most of the teams shot shorter than their best for the weekend. Onager snapped their arm as soon as the trigger was pulled, sending most of the arm spinning through the air. But Mista Ballista broke through and joined the 1000-foot club, awesome job guys! Roman Revenge also shot better than their previous and put one out over 3200, which was enough for second as Chucky III had their mammouth 3636' on Friday. Their lowest shot of the weekend was over half a mile (2640'), a very solid weekend! Gaul Buster also had a nice weekend setting a new personal best in the 1900s, while Ethos took third with their Saturday shot of over 2900 feet.

One thing to tell about Sunday. Just before the last mechanical team fired (Human-Power entry Pumpkin Slayer, who won again this year), their was an incident with one of the head spotters in the field. Dan Fair flipped his 4-wheeler in a ditch and ultimately ended up motionless in the field with several spinal injuries. The chunk was stopped for nearly 3 hours as he was helicoptered out to a hospital. As of this writing, we are informed that he has some feeling in his legs, but cannot move them yet. He is in good spirits, but the prognosis is yet to be determined. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dan and we wish him a complete and speedy recovery.

The Youth 11-17 Trebuchet division had its first AND second 1000-foot shots Sunday. Congratulations to both teams. Intertia II ended Bad to the Bone's 15-year run in the Centrifugal Division and took first place back to Colorado with them, a HUGE congratulations to those guys. It was great getting to talk with them and learn more about their machine.

We also want to thank and congratulate Smoking Lamas, a Human-Powered catapult team. Last year we took notice of these guys and their innovative human-powered centrifugal catapult. Unfortunately there are only 2 teams with Human-Powered Centrifugals and so they compete with all the other Human-Powered entries. But they came down this year wanting to shoot 1200 feet. They had a disappointing Friday shot, but hit 1144 on Saturday and 1240 on Sunday. CONGRATULATIONS!!! It is our opinion that they ought to be awarded the Human-Powered Centrifugal World Record despite not competing in that division (not their fault there are only 2 teams, not the 3 required to have the division), especially since the standing record from many years ago was only in the 200's. But perhaps they have inspired another team to enter so that this division can come back!

That's all for now, but stay tuned in the coming weeks as we add pictures and videos from the chunk.

Also, make sure to watch the show about Punkin Chunkin 2011 on the Discovery Channel/Science Channel (it will be simul-cast), hosted by Kari, Grant, and Tory from the Mythbusters! Thanksgiving Night (November 24) at 8PM! We are likely to be featured!

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Use "common sense" when operating trebuchets and catapults. Even little ones can be dangerous. Do not place anything you are not willing to lose in the plane of the arm rotation (this includes yourself, body parts, car windshields, cameras, etc). These catapults and trebuchets are capable of throwing just as far backwards as forwards, and the use of a backstop of some sort is recommended, though the use of one does not make the region behind it safe.

Also, just because the throw got away safely downrange does not mean the end of the danger. The arm is likely still swinging wildly along with the counterweight, and there is a sling whipping around. One thing many people fail to take into account is this sling; some people put a metal ring on the slip end of the sling and this ring can HURT when whipping around!

Have fun hurling, but please KEEP IT SAFE!!!