16th annual Pumpkin Chuck spurs fun, learning, camaraderie

After being forced to take a year off due to pandemic restrictions, the annual Pumpkin Chuck returned with pumpkins once again arching through the air near the old runways behind the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The event, sponsored by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Engineering Directorate, was held Oct. 22. It featured four smaller catapults built by local schools and organizations. Two huge machines -- one of which came from western New York – was capable of hurling pumpkins more than a half-mile.

The purpose of the event was for people to have fun and stoke student curiosity in science, technology, engineering and math areas, according to Scott Steigerwald, lead organizer of this year’s Pumpkin Chuck.

“The idea behind the Pumpkin Chuck was to put on something that was creative and fun, but also inspires the young engineers and scientists to start getting inspired by what you can do when you put your mind and your technical hat on,” Steigerwald said.

“To get these guys and gals out there and have them not only see these pumpkins fly 3,000 feet at 300 mph but actually get out there and talk to the engineers and the builders of these catapults and trebuchets and ask questions, was a great opportunity for them to learn and see some amazing feats,” he added.

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