2014-10-24 8:00:00 GMT-05:00
Members of the Punkin’ Chunkin’ Association, sponsors of the annual World Championship Punkin’ Chunkin’ event honored four men this year considered the founding fathers of what has become a nationally recognized event.
Wayne Sennett, a punkin’ chunker and member of the association, presented plaques to John Ellsworth and Trey Melson in Ellsworth’s Preservation Forge blacksmiths shop. Sennett presented a plaque to Bill Thompson during the awards banquet held last week. Arrangements are being made to get Donald “Doc” Pepper’s plaque to him.
“It all started back in 1986,” said Ellsworth. “We were playing around one day and somebody started talking about throwing pumpkins. There had been an article in a newspaper or on television about some people throwing pumpkins at Salisbury State. A physics class or something. One of us said that they could throw further than someone else and I threw my hat on the ground.”
“No one had any gloves” said Melson.
“Anyway,” said Ellsworth, “Trey and Bill both stomped on my hat and that kind of threw the gauntlet down. I can’t remember who won that first year.”
“Yes you can,” said Melson.
“Oh yeah. You whupped up on everybody.”
(The longest shot that year - in a small field in a woods owned by Thompson near Georgetown - was 126’. Wolfman Joe Thomas’ winning shot this year went more than 3,000 feet into the wind.)
Ellsworth remembers that Melson’s bow with a catapult arm broke all day long. “It broke on every throw and every time it broke, the pumpkin went further.”
Melson said he was “tickled to death” and surprised at receiving the plaque. “I’m glad that people are recognizing who was involved.” Ellsworth said that he was “highly honored.”
This years event drew more than 20,000 people and grossed more than $100,000 in ticket sales and associated revenues. A total of 72 teams competed. Sennett said that more than $70,000 of that will be distributed in scholarships to a variety of community organizations.
“We’re particularly proud that this year’s event was organized by an all volunteer committee,” said Sennett. “We’re presenting these plaques on behalf of every man, woman or child who ever threw, tossed, catapulted or smashed a pumpkin, with our wholehearted thanks, gratitude and great respect.”
Reprinted courtesy of the Cape Gazette.
The World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association supports the mission of the above organizations by contributing to the funding that keeps them going strong. A share of the proceeds from our annual Punkin Chunkin event in November is earmarked for charitable giving. We are proud of our relationship with these vital nonprofits and the work they do to make life better for those in need.