This Week In Weird Sports: Punkin Chunkin

How far can you launch a pumpkin?

Remember what nerds used to be? In the old days, they’d just sit there and do equations while wiping their perpetually sniffling noses on their sleeves. But now, nerds are awesome. Because these days they take those equations and put them to good use by building huge machines that can fling pumpkins really, really far. Hence, the Punkin Chunkin. Started in ’86 by four guys who built catapults to see who could fling a pumpkin farther than the world record, which at the time was 126 feet. Now, Punkin Chunkers (who are usually professional or armchair engineers) come from all over and build giant machines–which can only use springs, cords, counterweights or compressed air) to fling pumpkins farther than ever imagined. The current record is 4,438 feet (over a quarter of a mile!).

The only stipulations are that each pumpkin must be between eight-to-ten pounds, no part of the machine can cross the firing line and all pumpkins must remain intact until they impact the ground.

The 2010 Punkin Chunkin Championships took place last weekend, but luckily you can catch them on the Discovery Channel on Thanksgiving Day at 8PM ET.