The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


October 27, 2013

Bucknellians pitch pumpkin 177 yards

SUNBURY — RIVERSIDE — Co-workers Stacy Cole and Holly Brandon weren’t intimidated by the competition they faced in the Susquehanna Valley Pumpkin Challenge on Saturday.

“What we lack in distance, we make up in enthusiasm,” Brandon said.

Problem is the competition, held at Whitenight’s Farm Market as part of the third annual Pumpkin Palooza, tested the five participating team’s homemade catapults strictly on distance.

Cole and Brandon’s arm-powered slingshot made out of wood, a fence post, garage springs and two bungee cords was clearly out-matched by the four other teams’ much larger trebuchets created by Bucknell University mechanical engineering students, employees from Mifflinburg Lumber Co., Lewisburg Cub Scout Pack 3509 and three Shikellamy High School students.

As expected, the engineers from Bucknell won the challenge by tossing a pumpkin farthest into a cornfield at 177 yards, or 531 feet.

Placing second were competitors from Mifflinburg Lumber Co. who launched a pumpkin 111 yards, followed by the three high school students with 73 yards and the Cub Scouts, whose catapult pitched a pumpkin 60 yards. Cole and Brandon were able to propel a pumpkin about 65 feet, not even far enough to land in the corn field, but they had fun in the process.

For Cole, it was also a way to celebrate her son and inspiration, Jonathan Babb, who built a catapult for a high school project a few years ago and will soon deploy to Afghanistan with the U.S. military.

Cub Scouts Jhace Trewitz, Henry Rovnyak, and Ben Feuerstein, all 8, and Zander Tallent, 7, spent more than a month building a large wooden trebuchet for the event and, for safety reasons, watched on the sidelines as their fathers launched the 8-pound pumpkins.

Spectator Scott Blair, of Bloomsburg, studied each of the teams and their trebuchets carefully.

“I’m doing research because I’m definitely going to be a part of this next year. I’ve been wanting to fling stuff for 20 years and there’s nothing that will make you smile more than flinging pumpkins,” he said.

It was the same for Shikellamy High seniors Sam Zartman, Tanner Chesnick and Lance Brosious.

“We’ve been wanting to do this since elementary school,” Zartman said.

They spent two weeks building a 16-foot long catapult and when they tested it the night before the competition, the pumpkin launched a mere 7 yards. The second attempt was even worse.

Their dreams were nearly dashed the morning of the event when the wooden throwing arm snapped in half as they loaded it onto a trailer. The young men were able to make the repairs and scored well in the competition, including winning most creative, but the trio has their sights on an even bigger score.

“We’re hoping to get extra credit in physics class,” Zartman said.

All the competitors will be tested again Nov. 2 at the Buffalo Valley Pumpkin Pitch at Ard’s Farm Market near Mifflinburg on how well they can hit a target with their catapults.

Text Only
  • xfire20b.jpg Firefighters battle blaze at BJ's in Danville

    DANVILLE — A fire Sunday damaged BJ’s Steak & Rib House, 291 Mill St., and endangered a neighboring shop and apartment building.

    April 20, 2014 6 Photos

  • Chase leads to jail

    MILTON — Charges were pending Sunday against a man allegedly tied to a rash of recent burglaries in Milton borough who ran from Milton Police on Saturday.

    April 20, 2014

  • Police: 3 steal debit cards, $10G in jewelry for drug trip to NY

    NEW BERLIN — Three Valley teenagers are under investigation for allegedly stealing debit cards and roughly $10,000 in jewelry from three parked vehicles in Union County earlier this month to fund a trip to New York to buy drugs.

    April 20, 2014

  • Valley farmers keep eye out for deadly pig virus

    CAMP HILL — Pork producers across the commonwealth — and in the Valley — are on the alert for a still existing virus that last year killed 12 piglets in Pennsylvania and a million piglets around the country.

    April 20, 2014

  • Loaded language

    Sometimes it’s the offhand remark that’s the most telling. Indeed, the way we Americans casually, often unthinkingly, incorporate gun metaphors into our everyday slang says a lot about how deeply embedded guns are in our culture and our politics, and how difficult it is to control or extract them. Consider this list, presented as bullet points — which are themselves so conventional, so central to the typography of mind-numbing PowerPoint presentations, that you can forget what their shape represents.

    April 20, 2014

  • Prize claim cost man $1,829

    WINFIELD — Western Union is doing what it can to educate people about the risks in wiring money. An entire section on its website ( is devoted to providing information that might reduce the risk of people falling victim to fraud schemes.

    April 19, 2014

  • Reel good time enjoyed by 200 young anglers

    TREVORTON — It only took about three minutes for J.C. Wallish to reel in his first fish at the Little Shamokin Creek Watershed Association’s annual Youth Trout Derby on Saturday.

    April 19, 2014

  • Elytte Barbour's 'bad trip' put him on the road to prison, friend says

    SUNBURY — A former roommate of slaying suspect Elytte Barbour drove 450 miles from North Carolina to spend 45 minutes in the Northumberland County Prison with his best friend last week, and was not surprised when he heard Barbour say: “I am afraid to spend the rest of my life in jail.”

    April 19, 2014

  • bonehunt20a.jpg 60 dogs battle for biscuits at annual bone hunt

    It was a scene similar to ones playing out all over the nation this weekend: nervous parents holding baskets and bags, watching their little ones search for goodies in the grass.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona tribe set to prosecute first non-Indian under a new law

    PASCUA YAQUI INDIAN RESERVATION, Ariz. — Tribal police chief Michael Valenzuela drove through darkened desert streets, turned into a Circle K convenience store and pointed to the spot beyond the reservation line where his officers used to take the non-Indian men who battered Indian women.

    April 19, 2014

The Daily Marquee

How do you eat your chocolate Easter bunny?

Feet first
Tail first
Ears first
     View Results
Photo Galleries
The Valley


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.