Chunking Pumpkins In Delaware Is A World Famous Event

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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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BRIDGEVILLE, Del. (WJZ)– Twenty-six years ago, some Eastern Shore farmers and mechanics thought up a fun way to get rid of some extra Halloween pumpkins.

Now, as Mike Schuh reports, the Pumpkin Chunkin has grown into an event with a worldwide audience.

Jack-o’-lantern, a pie… How about a projectile?

“You take a little baby, and you give him a pacifier, the first thing he does is he throws it away,” said Harvey Ledbetter, a former contestant.

It’s hi-tech hillbilly engineering.

“As we get to be adults, the only thing we got left to throw is pumpkins,” Ledbetter explained.

You can see, hear and feel the power.

Reporter: “Your machine frightened the heck out of me.”

Jeff Wheatley, Contestant: “Well, that’s what brings the crowd, I think.”

It’s always exciting.

“And we had a machine fire backwards, pumpkin went up in the air,” Ledbetter said. “Billy is just running around under it and he got hit by it.”

And now, at his first time launching a pumpkin:

“So today, I believe it was payback. He hit one of the spotters,” Ledbetter said.

The spotter is OK, but failure is part of the excitement.

Reporter: “I was impressed. I could track your pumpkin the whole way.”
Contestant: “You tracked our pumpkin? That’s great!”

It was more than 2,000 feet shorter than the best of the day.

And the Boy Scouts gave it a try, but the pumpkin never went chunkin.

“I was working up to that one moment all day: when you pull something and something amazing happens,” said Sean Grody from Severn. “So when it snaps, it’s just… There’s always tomorrow.”

Failure and success are all part of the fun.

This event is two hours from Baltimore, and on Saturday and Sunday, the pumpkins will continue to fly. The cost is $10 a day.

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