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Halloween lays siege on Hood Canal

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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Six competing armies came together on a muddy Union battlefield last Saturday, covered with gourd innards and armed to the teeth with homemade tre-buchets.

They came, they saw, they chucked some pumpkins.

"What kid wouldn't want to break a window with a pumpkin?" said Shelton High School Career and Technical Education teacher Roger McCausland. The premise of the 2011 Union Pump-kinFest Catapult Competition is simple. Teams compete in high school and adult (Olympic Catapult League: Open Division) by hurling pumpkins with handmade trebuchets — a kind of catapult - judging the best by distance and accuracy and style.

Two teams from SHS entered trebuchets, one Charlie Brown themed and another painted pink to champion breast cancer awareness called "If Pigs Could Fly."

Both Charlie Brown and the pink pig trebuchet fought hard against competitor West Sound Tech, which brought two teams and one trebuchet, decorated with an axe and named "Pumpkin Chopper."

SHS's "If Pigs Could Fly" trebuchet won first place in the accuracy division by smashing out a window in the target - an old boat donated by Hunter Farms, where the event took place. The Charlie Brown trebuchet came in at second after a tiebreaker.

While shut out of the accuracy test, West Sound Tech ran away with the distance portion of the competition, shooting a pumpkin a massive 251 feet.

"That is the pumpkin throw of the century," said announcer Mick McCartney.

West Sound Tech also won the design portion with SHS coming in second.

Adults also got a chance to hurl some gourds on Saturday in the open division. Two adult teams showed up for the event, a Hunter Farms team and a "Save Our Air" team with their "99 percenter" trebuchet.

The Hunter Farms catapult won first place in the distance competition with a throw of 117 feet.

The 99 percenters occupied the field during the accuracy portion and won first place.

Last year's PumpkinFest Catapult Competition was hampered by horrendous weather, organizers said, but this year the rain cleared in plenty of time for the competition, letting all teams hurl their pumpkins in optimum cool, sunny weather.

Despite the bad weather last year, organizers estimated a crowd of about 150 came, but this year more than 300 people showed up.

Shelton's McCausland plans to talk up the competition at an upcoming CTE (Career and Technical Education) conference.

Organizer James John Bell said he hopes McCausland's advocacy will bring more teams to the competition next year.

"Next year I think we're going to have 6 to 12 high schools because of Roger advocating to the high schools," he said.

Copyright 2011 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: November 3, 2011

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