Punkin’ Chunkin’ is back and bringing in new competitors

Published: Oct. 16, 2021 at 6:53 PM EDT
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CLAYTON, New York (WWNY) - The task is simple. Build a trebuchet, load up a pumpkin, and let it fly into the St. Lawrence River.

Punkin’ Chunkin’ has been an awe-inspiring event for almost a decade in Clayton.

It’s back this year after being canceled due to COVID-19 in 2020.

For STEM Teacher Nelson Spratt and his students from Morristown Central, this was their first go around.

They took first place in the youth division.

“In two weeks we were able to bring it to a launchable phase, and we tested it once and it was Wednesday and it had to be on the dock Thursday night,” said Spratt.

“I did not think it was going to go in the water to be honest, I did not think it was going very far,” said student Hayleigh St. Germain.

Many of the participants have been involved for years, like Larry Cupernall. His team’s catapult, the Incredible Chunk, sounds like the pumpkin is being shot out of a cannon.

Cupernall says last year he missed putting the thrill of the show.

“I’m just about like everybody else in this country, we had to get out. You know, being cooped up for a year, it’s tough,” said Cupernall.

The Incredible Chunk has some competition from it’s dock neighbor Rusted Redemption.

Creator Michael Hazlewood says his team loves to come out on top, but it’s more about the ‘oh’ and ‘ah’s’.

“That’s what this is all about. It’s not about how far the pumpkin goes, but how much the crowd enjoys it,” said Hazlewood.

A chance to bring back that go big or gourd home mentality.

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