Expect flying pumpkins Saturday

Photo courtesy ASME

NORTH LOGAN – Thousands flock to Elk Ridge Park every October for the Pumpkin Walk. Hundreds of carved, painted and decorated pumpkins are set up along the walkways for impressive artistic displays.

But what happens to those pumpkins when the pumpkin walk is over? They’re launched hundreds of feet through the air, or course.

For six years members of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) at Utah State University have created medieval devices known as trebuchets to compete and see who can chuck the gourds farther.

“It shows how far back engineering has gone and how it can be applied to today’s world,” ASME’s pumpkin toss organizer Mahala Sakaeda said. “We’re taking all these pumpkins and we’re going to be chucking them onto the field. There are going to be targets on the field like trucks and trampolines.”

As always, spectators are not only invited, but encouraged to come. It will be held at Elk Ridge Park Saturday October 29 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sakaeda said to expect launches of 300 feet Saturday morning, even though last year’s winning team had launches of more than 600 feet.

“None of the other teams came close to that distance,” she said.

If someone can come up with a trebuchet to top that, they could go home a little bit richer. Cash prizes will be awarded to those who exceed the rest in design, accuracy and – of course – distance.

“Those that get first place will get $300, second will get $200 and those that get third will get $100,” Sakaeda said.

Competing with the groups of university engineers will be a high school team and a group of Coorstek Medical.

In addition to the competition pumpkins that will be launched, 20 pound pumpkins stuffed with candy will also be shot into the air. Children will be able to collect that candy after impact.

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