People enjoy launching pumpkins from homemade air cannons at a special event in Boone County. And, this year's event appears to be the last.
"They organized the first Punkin Chunkin in 2004, so this would be the 16th year," Doug Wright said. "The idea is to launch a 6 to 8 pound pumpkin as far as you can throw it. The most popular method is air-powered cannons."
The Punkin Chunkin was started as a fun community event, and a way to get others to come and see the area. "It's something fun to do in the fall, and it's family fun," Wright said. "There's a variety of air cannons. A lot of people have used an old grain auger as the carriage. A fellow from a couple of years ago brought one down, it was an old propane truck."
Pumpkins have been launched as far as 4,600 feet. When pumpkins are going that kind of distance, organizers say there are many factors to keep in mind. "We think about accessibility for visitors, and we also think about making sure not to hit wind towers and power lines," Wright said. "So you have to choose the right kind of location. You need enough space to do it." Weather is also something to consider. The shooters come from within 30 miles of Petersburg, but people come to watch from Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Island and points beyond. "We even had a gentleman come from Texas to see it," Wright said.
Turns out this will probably the be the last Punkin Chunkin in Petersburg. Organizers say a shrinking number of spectators is one of the reasons for this being the final year.