Teams gather on the field. Teams harness their weapons and let fly, sending vegetable fodder into the air. And while flying isn't a problem for these pumpkins, landing can be.
Started in 1995 by local farmers, the Estancia Pumpkin Chunkin contest in Estancia draws contenders from all over. Records are sought and anyone who sets one has the chance to compete in the nationals. The national contest is held in Delaware every November, where the catapults are serious and people come worldwide to compete in the World Championship Pumpkin Chunkin Contest.
The 2013 Pumpkin Chunkin event will take place on Saturday, October 19.
Pumpkins that launch are between eight and ten pounds. The record distance was set in 2008 at the World Championship, when Young Glory III flew 4,483.51 feet. Launched by trebuchets and catapulted through the air, these giant bucket slings got their start in the Middle Ages as weapons of war. Catapults have been around even longer, since the days of Greek and Roman glory. Both work well to hurl, or chunk, pumpkins through the air.
At the Estancia Pumpkin Chunkin Festival, pumpkins fly from:
- Air cannons
But the pumpkin chunkin is just part of the day's festivities, which also include a parade, a pie eating contest, the crowning of the Pumpkin Chunkin Festival Prince and Princess, and more.
You'll Also Find:
Schedule of Events
8 a.m. Gates Open at the Pumpkin Chunkin' Field
10:30 a.m. Pumpkinfest Parade on Main Street
Noon Practice launching begins
1 p.m. Official Launching Begins
1 p.m. Raffle drawing
2 p.m. Raffle drawing
2:45 p.m. Parade results announced
3 p.m. Pie Eating and Pumpkin Seed Spitting Contests Begin
3 p.m. Raffle drawing
3 p.m. Exhibition Launching
4 p.m. Raffle drawing
4 p.m. Prince and Princess Crowning
4 p.m. Final Launching Results
Event times subject to change.
Raffle drawings take place on the hour starting at 1 p.m. Keep your parking ticket stub to enter the raffle for prizes. (Must be present to win).
Prince and Princess
Each year, local kids from kindergarten through 6th grade compete for the title of Prince and Princess of the Pumpkinfest. Each child puts out jars and cans and asks for coin "votes." The child with the most money wins the title, one boy and one girl. Proceeds go to the Estancia Rotary, which awards it in $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school seniors.
Where to Find It
Estanicia is east of Albuquerque and south of Moriarty. Take I-40 east to Moriarty, and go south on Route 41 about 18 miles to Estancia. The contest takes place at Cape Calabaza, 1.5 miles west of Estancia on NM-55.
Parking is $10 per vehicle, which admits up to six people. Or pay $5 per person.
The Pumpkin Chunkin Festival is put on by the Estancia Rotary.