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WCPC 2010 - Day 1

A windy by rain-free day helped to slightly dry out a very messy cornfield today in Delaware as the 25th annual World Championships of Punkin' Chunkin' kicked off. Another long day of waiting in the wind for the air cannons to finish saw the firing end at 6PM, shortly before all light was gone in the sky.

Testing Day

Testing day for Team Urban Siege is in the books. It took until early afternoon before the Safety Committee started inspecting machines, but we got off 3 solid shots before deciding we were ready. Medieval Postal Service is firing great just as it was the last time it fired, at last year's chunk. We reverted to the pre-chunk tuning from last year which was firing at roughly 25 mph faster than we got at during competition last year, and the distances looked great. The pumpkins were falling beyond a drainage area well down field, but we are not sure exactly how far out that is this year, it was around 1200 feet last year though.

Punkin Chunkin Time Has Come Again!

Quick update for everyone wondering if we are still alive. Yes we are. We traveled down to Delaware yesterday (Monday) and set up Medieval Postal Service today for the 25th Annual World Championship of Punkin Chunkin, which is this weekend. As in previous years, we will try to post daily updates about how the day went, where teams stand, etc. Tomorrow (Wednesday) is our testing day since we have not fired the machine since last year's chunk. Stay tuned for more!

2009 WCPC Post-Mortum

So it has been nearly a month since we returned from Delaware and the World Championships of Punkin' Chunkin'. It is time to really condense down what happened.

2009 WCPC Video for MPS

Just a quick update, we have uploaded a video of all of our shots at the 2009 World Championships of Punkin' Chunkin'. More videos will be coming eventually, from our fall testing to other machines at the event, we took video of a lot of different machines. Other pictures of Medieval Postal Service from this year during modifications, and some information on those modifications will come as well.

Pictures from 2009 WCPC Online

We have uploaded 114 new pictures to the site from the 2009 World Championships of Punkin Chunkin. Also new this year is that not all of the pictures are from Matt's camera this time, Chris took a bunch too, and some are in the gallery. Enjoy all the pictures, most are of the extremely competitive trebuchet division, which saw a staggering 9 machines break 1000 feet, 5 of those machines never having broken that mark before in competition. Soon we will post a full trip report on the World Championships, there is a lot to talk about.

Medieval Postal Service Joins the 1000 Foot Club

Sunday is traditionally break it Sunday at the World Championships of Punkin Chunkin. Everyone adds more counterweight, torques up their ropes more, etc. And today did not dissapoint. After the 2000 foot shot on Saturday, Yankee Siege shot a high 1800's shot, 1870 or so. We will post final distances later. Pumpkin Hammer, still stuck as a HCW this year, did not improve their distance. Hokie Hurler added even more weight to their machine, causing it to lean noticably, but they did not get any more distance. The machine did survive the shot, however.

Yankee Siege Breaks 2000 Feet on Way to New World Record

That's right folks, you heard it here first! Yankee Siege shook off their troubles from yesterday, whatever they were and FINALLY broke 2000 feet with a 2034 foot shot! Needless to say, they are in first place after two days with that shot. More interesting is where the rest of the field placed. Pumpkin Hammer shot a shorter distance than yesterday, but Hokie Hurler broke 1300 feet! Congratulations to them. Great Gourd Experiment looked to improve their distance, but we did not get the actual number. First in Fright finally got off a decent trajectory shot and broke 1100 feet!

Merlin in First, Medieval Postal Service Breaks 900 Feet

Day 1 is in the books with some very interesting results. First Yankee Siege only shot around 1295 feet after some very impressive-looking test shots yesterday. Pupmkin Hammer fired as a standard HCW as expected and went 1100 feet or so. Hokie Hurler followed up with an OUTSTANDING 1187 feet! Great Gourd Experiment bombed one out around 600 feet or so, and First in Fright had a massive pop up that netted them 350 feet roughly. Then Medieval Postal Service shot one out there to 916.04 feet, but it was a very flat trajectory and our sling may have rotated in midflight causing the pumpkin to come out slightly sideways, likely robbing us of some distance. Unfortunately it is not clear in the video if this happened for sure or not. What is known is that our trajectory was fairly flat, though not terribly so. We can only try again, we know we have much more distance. Morganna shot a decent shot, but only 500 feet or so probably and Fred the Treb was in roughly the same range, maybe a bit shorter even.

Medieval Postal Service Set up and Ready to Roll

Well we finished setting up Medieval Postal Service today with fairly little incident. Really the only issue was that it took a while for us to get inspected, as the inspector likely forgot our request with all the other stuff he was undoubtably having to deal with. No big deal, we got inspected and got our first shot off around 4:15 PM (though we were ready to start firing ops around 2:30). A decent shot, but the one 25 minutes after it was even better, certainly a 1000+ foot shot. We are expecting stiff competition this year, as several teams from last year have made massive improvements to their machines, First in Fright and Hokie Hurler being among them. Shenanigans II should also be right in the mix, assuming they can get off reliable shots. They are there and set up, but we have yet to see John or Tom. Pumpkin Hammer is on site, unfortunately firing as a standard HCW this year due to some major problems that cropped up during their testing this fall. Yankee Siege looks pretty strong, and Merlin showed up late in the afternoon. This year Chris Gerow also brought the 3-time World Champion (albeit a few years removed) King Arthur, which historically shot right around the distances we are probably looking at. Like I said, it should be and interesting competition.

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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!!!