Science Lab » Punkin Chunkin Rules

Punkin Chunkin Rules


Punkin Chunkin Rules

Specifications for Devices


Max. total weight of any counterweight used 100lbs.
Max. height = 6 feet at rest

Max. width = 6 feet at rest

Max. length = 6 feet at rest

Each pumpkin projectile = minimum 2 lbs.


Open to anyone to compete. One person or a team of up to 20 people. However, a current Benchmark student must be able fire the machine safely (an adult may load and set machine). Only 4 team members will be allowed in the launching area on launch day. Children are expected to participate in all phases of the building of the machine.


Teams participate in this event at their own risk. The adults in each group are entirely in charge of the safety of every member of their group during the entire competition. SAFETY GLASSES MUST BE WORN.


General Rules
BYOP - Bring your own pumpkins! Each pumpkin must be in its natural state, with no artificial additions. We suggest you have 3 prime pumpkins at exactly the right weight for the contest, and several other for practice and free-for-all at the end. Be sure each pumpkin is AT LEAST the required weight. They will be weighed and examined during the safety inspection! Each pumpkin must be painted or marked with a team name or logo for easy field identification. Last year we discovered pumpkins were hard to find in November, so you may want to stock up in advance, or you may substitute other small produce that meets the weight requirements (melon, pineapples, etc.).


No metal springs, electricity, motors, pneumatics, compressed gas, fuels or explosions may be used in launching of device. NEW THIS YEAR….the use of elastic bands of any type are prohibited (these are supposed to be catapults or trebuchets, not sling-shots!)


All entries must have a safety device (like a C-clamp or safety strap) to stop the device from firing prematurely during movement or loading of the projectile. Another excellent safety device is a support which can be placed directly under the counterweight, preventing it from falling.  The safety committee will inspect all devices before firing and each device must pass the inspection to fire.


A remote trigger (pull rope) must be used to launch pumpkin from a safe distance (10 feet or more).


Sandbags, staking, and possibly backstops are encouraged to prevent movement during firing.


A prop or firing device may fall over the firing line, as long as the arm or main structure of the device stays behind the firing line.


No physical pushing or shoving of counterweights will be allowed. Trebuchets must be gravity-only powered, not gravity-plus-a-shove. Breaking this rule will result in disqualification of the throw.


If there is a mechanical failure during launch, the team may repair the problem and request a second launch ONLY if the repairs and reload can occur within that round (or within 5 min, if they are the last team in that round.)


How to WIN!!

The winner will be decided by the longest distance a pumpkin is chunked in 3 attempts firing.