Trail Life USA, a faith based alternative to Boy Scouts ventured to Sussex County, Delaware in search of options for an alternative to the traditional Pine Wood Derby competition. Local troop master, Troy Martin, reached out to Punkin Chunkin to get feedback on the idea and how to approach such a popular sport. Technology Officer of Punkin Chunkin, Frank Payton III, volunteered his farm and time to setup a demonstration for the troop out of Camden, Delaware. With the assistance of Robbie Payton, captain of “Pop Pop’s Machine” and Frank Payton Jr, captain of “Old Glory”, they met the troop on their farm in Milton, Delaware to provide insight for the building and firing of a Trebuchet class chunker. Without any pumpkins in supply, an old soccer ball, filled partially with water was the ammunition of choice for the demonstration.
The first shot of the demonstration was directed downward several yards in front of the machine. This provided the group with insight on the dynamics of a trebuchet. Based on the counter weight, length of the sling, angle of the pin, and weight of the projectile, the sling held on way to long to achieve the best trajectory. The Paytons explained all the different factors that you have to take into account with a trebuchet and made a pin adjustment to allow the sling to release sooner. The second shot went soaring five hundred plus feet, with over 10 kids eager to retrieve it. The Paytons continued to fire “Pop Pop’s Machine” until every kid in the troop had a chance to launch the soccer ball down field and retrieve it. All the kids were very enthusiastic seeing the soccer ball being chunked and the father’s in the group were very inquisitive … “how does this work?”, “where do you by this?”
Overall, the demonstration was a success and there will be continued talks between the Punkin Chunkin Association and Trail Life USA on how they can provide this experience in the structuring of a new aged competition for youths in the Trail Life USA organization.