Looney tradition lives on through the 20th annual Pumpkin Chunkin’

American Society of Mechanical Engineers poses with their trebuchet. - Staff Writer / Paige Britt

On Oct. 27, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers celebrated the 20th annual Pumpkin Chunkin’ at Rowan Technology Park field. 

Teams from various schools in the area participated alongside Rowan, such as the University of Delaware, Widener, Millville High School, and Washington Township High School. The theme of the event this year was “Looney Toons,” with characters displayed on plywood targets. Each team came prepared with their very own trebuchet, hand-built themselves. The targets went as far back as 300 feet, and the goal of the teams was to launch their pumpkins at least half that distance. 

Trebuchets line up in front of the field of targets. – Staff Writer / Paige Britt

Along with launching pumpkins into the sky, the event also included a costume contest and pumpkin carving and painting, all with the chance to win prizes. 

Shane McCarron, president of ASME at Rowan, gave a quick rundown of the function.  

“Pumpkin Chunkin’ is the main event we do,” McCarron said. “We have our own trebuchet participating in this event, and Rowan SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers)  is also participating in this event. We do this every year and this is our 20-year anniversary.”

Ilinca Vilceanu, Events Chair of ASME and junior mechanical engineering major, described some of the rules and prizes of Pumpkin Chunkin’. 

“The teams are all launching sugar pumpkins, which are around 5 pounds each,” Vilceanu said. “We also have golden sugar pumpkins, which are double the points. At any point in the competition, they can launch their golden pumpkin and get double points for whatever score they get.”

“The first place prize is a 3D printer, the second place prize is a slightly smaller 3D printer, and the third place prize is a drone,” Vilceanu said.

Teams prepare to launch their pumpkins. – Staff Writer / Paige Britt

As for the team representing the Society of Automotive Engineers at Rowan, they came with a thirst to win, spending 10 hours on their trebuchet. When they are not aiming pumpkins at Tweety Bird, SAE builds off-road vehicles to race against other engineering clubs at Rowan. 

“We’re kind of here to compete mainly with ASME,” said Nate King, sophomore mechanical engineering major. 

Jack Rhodes, a freshman mechanical engineering major, seconded this declaration. 

“Unfortunately we usually get beat out by the high schools, but we’re mainly trying to beat out ASME which it looks like we’re going to do,” Rhodes said. 

Winners and losers aside, the 20th anniversary of Pumpkin Chunkin’ was a labor of love organized by ASME, and they encourage all to join the fun next year. 

“It’s really fun and people should come out next year if they missed it this year because it will definitely be better. We’re getting better every year,” Vilceanu said.

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