Yes, there was a pumpkin shot more than a mile

The Big 10 Inch air cannon holds the Guinness World Record for shooting a pumpkin the greatest distance, but not the actual Punkin Chunkin record. BY RON MACARTHUR
November 7, 2013

Shhh. Don't tell anyone that the longest launch of a pumpkin didn't occur in a Sussex County field.

While the World Championship Punkin Chunkin in Sussex is the oldest and largest event in the country, pumpkin hurlers do fire up machines in other states.

The Guinness World Record – sorry Sussex County – belongs to the team of air cannon Big 10 Inch from Chadd's Ford, Pa. On Sept. 9, 2010, in the rarified air of Moab, Utah, the team shot a pumpkin 5,545 feet, which is 851 feet greater than the new world record set at the 2014 event at the Wheatley Farm near Bridgeville.

Confused? Remember the official world record can only be set at the Sussex event.

This year with a strong tailwind, nine air cannon teams eclipsed the magical 4,000-foot mark, but so far, the almost-unthinkable mile mark has not been reached on Sussex County soil. On Nov. 1, American Chunker broke Young Glory III's record with a shot of 4,694 feet. The Milton-based team set a record of 4,483 feet back in 2008.

It's hard to believe that the winning chunk the first year in 1986 was 178 feet by the Melson-Thompson team. As machines became more sophisticated, the event needed larger and larger venues as it outgrew locations in Lewes and Millsboro. Who would have guessed that backyard engineers would be able to build machines capable of shooting pumpkins nearly a mile.

As Larry and Cable Guy would say: “Only in America.”

  • Ron MacArthur has lived and worked in Sussex County all his life. As a journalist for more than 40 years, he has covered everything from county and town meetings to presidential visits. He also has a unique perspective having served as an elected official and lived on both sides of the county.

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