Farm Fling Encore 2015
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Last year was the first Farm Fling, a local private event to allow chunkers a chance to shoot pumpkins through Sussex county skies. When Punkin Chunkin was canceled, Frank Payton III’s fellow chunkers, friends, and family asked what are they going to do now. He told them Bring your machines to the farm and we will just chunk pumpkins like the days of old. This year Farm Fling was held again and it was just like the year before, friends and family gathered at a farm in a field near Milton, DE and chunked pumpkins. After Punkin Chunkin was canceled again this year, Frank Payton III decided to do a encore Farm Fling. We are going to set up and chunk pumpkins on the traditional weekend, what ever money we raise will be donated to a local charity. Just like Farm Fling this was a private event, invite only, and no access for the media. Since the year is not over, this event like other chunk events was an opportunity for chunkers to go for sanctioned shots for the record books. Jake Burton and Frank Payton Jr. were both going for a record shot with Young Glory III and Old Glory, two of the larger air cannons. Other machines were also going for distance shots for the books.
The whole community was scrambling to get an invite to this event, after all this was Punkin Chunkin weekend, and the boys were going for the record. On Saturday the skies were dark with clouds and it rained a large part of the day. That didn’t stop people from coming out and enjoying a chunk event like back in the day of Punkin Chunkin. A lot of the original founders were at the event and the mood was very relaxed and nostalgic. Everyone was smiling and excited to be at an event that reminded them of the original days. The Payton family is now three generations deep in the chunk. Robbie Payton holds a trebuchet record. The coffee was hot and the scrapple was stacked high on the griddle. The chunkers loaded up their machines and fired off pumpkins all day long, it was a great time, later that day the bonfire was lit and the band showed up to cap off the night. Many of the chunkers were anticipating much better weather for Sunday. Strategies and speculation were the hot subject for the record shots on Sunday. How will the wind be? Will it be too cold? We are at sea level that should make a big difference. There were all kinds of theories. As the night progressed the band played on and friends, new and old with their families all enjoyed a night on the farm. It reminded everyone of days gone by, but not forgotten.
Old Glory ….
Sunday arrived and the weather was beautiful. I spoke with Jake Burton and asked him if he was ready and excited. He just smiled and said, I just want to chunk punkins, we will see how the day turns out. Pumpkins were flying through Sussex county skies at a rapid rate. Every time you turned around a chunker was yelling fire in the hole! Even the air cannons were keeping up at a fast pace, well at least as fast as an air cannon can charge. One of the highlights of Sunday was when Jeff Chorman showed up in his helicopter. We were about to witness a first ever … Heli-Chunking. Jeff took several pumpkins up in the chopper and he dropped them from fourteen hundred feet. He said the target looked like the size of a quarter from that far up. The best one in my opinion was when they dropped a thirty pounder from the air and it exploded when it hit the field. After Jeff Landed the chopper, the spotters got together, one was required from each team. They all had a meeting to decide how they would go about spotting these pumpkins. An official surveyor was there. The target for the record shots was a field beyond a section of woods a mile away. I joined the spotters, I wanted to see what this is all about. We would be looking for pumpkins in the woods, it was a challenge to say the least.
Bust O Matic Keg Toss …
When you watch an air cannon fire in person on the field, it is loud but the sound is not that bad. You hear the rush of the air and the sound of the pumpkin leaving the barrel. It is a fast sound that is over as soon as it started. When you are four thousand feet in front of these cannons, in the woods, and that shot goes off, it sounds much different. This is something I had not anticipated when I was out in the woods standing behind a ten inch wide tree. I’ma tad wider than that tree. This is where signing that waiver came to mind. Holy crap … I’m standing in a scrub pine forest, behind a ten inch tree waiting for a ten pound pumpkin to fly over my head, hopefully. We are spread out in the forest, standing behind our trees, the walkie talkie screams … FIRE IN THE HOLE!!! In the distance you hear the horns. Then it is eerily silent for a split second. Until the cannon goes off. Booooooom!!!!! You know how loud distant thunder sounds? It was like that only much louder, and you could almost feel a rumble in the ground. I looked over at Frank and said a few colorful things as to how loud that was, he just smiled and said listen. For what? Then I heard it. There is another eerie silence after the air cannon thunder. Then I hear the strangest noise, it sounds like nothing I have heard before, then I realize that it is a pumpkin flying at velocity through the air, Epic! You can actually hear it turning in the air, like a whoosh, with a whipping whirl sound. Then it hits a tree or the ground, with a sickening thud. That is when I looked at the tree I was behind and decided I need a bigger tree. We spent the better part of the afternoon looking for pumpkin pieces and marking shots. I spent most of the afternoon looking for bigger trees. I did find one shot in a some serious dense trees. There are two trees out there that are on a first name basis with me now. When one of those shots came screaming over head and slammed in the ground not 30 yards away. Well let’s just say that tree and I became best friends.
The boys didn’t set a world record, but they had a great time trying. The monies raised by Farm Fling were donated to the Home Of The Brave in the form of gift cards. They were passed out on Veteran’s Day by the kids and Frank Payton III. The kids learned a valuable lesson in giving back to their community and to our veterans. The Home Of The Brave does a lot of good things for our veterans. Check them out and help out if you can, not just on Veteran’s Day but everyday. Next year Farm Fling will be back, so will the chunk, but unfortunately not in Delaware. Thanks to Frank Payton III and Farm Fling, pumpkins will always fly in Sussex County skies.
*** WCPCA Official Shots at Farm Fling on 11/8 *** No records were set at Farm Fling Encore 2015, but it will be remembered for years to come for the fun and camaraderie like the days of old.
Young Glory III
Shot 1 = 3,894 feet
Shot 2 = 3,808 feet
Shot 3 = 3,945 feet
Shot 1 = 3,505 feet
Shot 2 = 3,362 feet
Shot 1 = 3,327 feet
Shot 1 = 2,442 feet
Shot 1 = 37 feet
Shot 2 = 173 feet
Farm Fling Encore 2015 …