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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fire In The Hole...

This one you have to see to believe...

So, I love living in DC because there is the craziest variety of stuff to do around here. One night you can go watch b-boys battle in a breakdancing competition held in a church in a neighborhood in northeast and the next night you can go to La Boheme at the Kennedy Center and enjoy the rest of the evening strolling along the Potomac waterfront. There is no end to the things you can do in this area.

Not only is DC full of totally varied activities, but you have the entire East Coast within just a few hours...from the Hamptons to the Hills of West Virginny...you can do and see it all and don't have to go that far out of your way.

This past weekend, however, may have topped my list of craziest and most fun things I have done while living out here. Last Saturday's activity definitely takes the cake...or pie, rather...punkin' pie.

Last Saturday, several of my friends and I got up at the crack of dawn...okay, pre-dawn, let's be honest, there is no semblance of sunlight at 5:30 in the morning...which seems particularly cruel on a Saturday...anyway...tanget...sorry...

We got up early and headed to Bridgeville, Delaware. What's that? You've never heard of it? Well there's a reason...There's NOTHING there...Except of course for the annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin! The Punkin Chunkin (heretofor referred to as "the Chunkin" or "PC") takes place annually in Bridgeville, and is, by all accounts, the biggest deal of the year. The point of said Chunkin is basically to build a contraption for the sole purpose of flinging, rocketing, or basically propelling a pumpkin as far as you possibly can. The competition is broken into three categories...Catapaults, Trebuchets, and Pneumatic Guns. Let me tell you, if you've never seen a pumpkin come rocketing out of a steel pipe at 200 mph and subsequently fly over 3,000 feet, you are missing out.
Now, don't get me wrong, I grew up in a small town...The rodeo every year was a big deal and there was an inordinate amount of drunken beligerence and debauchery that went along with that whole scene (my parents, being the responsible folks they were felt it wasn't the place for a little girl, and thus I was never allowed to compete in any of the rodeo events like my other little tyke farmhand friends...I still feel this is why I never claimed my title in mutton busting...but I'm not bitter). Anyway, the point is, I've been around rough crowds and seen my fair share of tailgating and associated activites, but this brought things to a whole new level...

On entrance to the Chunkin, we were greeted by what appeared to be the entire student body of Bridgeville Jr. High School, along with a few booster club moms sprinkled in for good measure and supervision (?) directing traffic. By all appearances they had been there since about 6 am.

Not only had the traffic directors been there since about 6am, it seems that so had the tailgaters. There were people in RV's, pickup trucks, vans, you name it, they brought it. It looked like some of these people had been camped out for days just waiting for the PC events to begin. Not only had these folks been camped out since whenever, but that's about the time they started drinking (beer of choice, Natural Ice or "Natty Ice" to anyone who's ever been to college party where the point was not to enjoy the finer bouquets of an alcoholic beverage, but to get wasted as quickly and as cheaply as possible...so I've been told anyway).

In addition to the beer of choice, there were definitely some popular clothing options...camouflage, overalls, hunters orange, cut off denim, and hard hats.

So, the first few seem obvious...tailgating, public intoxication, mass gatherings in fallow soy bean fields in Delaware...but "why the hard hats?" you ask. Well, I'll tell you why...Because on the off occasion these pumpkin-flinging contraptions will have a misfire. What this usually results in is the gourd in question being flung backwards into or over the crowd of onlookers..."isn't that dangerous?" you ask...to which I say, "ummm, yeah, it is. " I was pretty much afraid for my life during the entire Trebuchet competition after watching one of the machines completely self destruct in a flurry of snapping cables and cracking timbers (no one was hurt, thank goodness) and then seeing yet another of these modified war machines fling its payload backwards over the crowd of onlookers and into the fairgrounds area where normal carnival type activities were taking place...good thing there were no innocent and unsuspecting children in that area...oh wait...

Luckily we all made it out unscathed, and managed to escape falling victim to even one stray seed.

Some highlights from the day included BBQ for lunch (they just do it better in places where people have fewer teeth, I really don't understand it, but I'm working on a theory), watchingwhat appeard to be the entire population of Bridgeville High School act as the pumpkin chasers (basically a fleet of them out on 4-wheelers sitting in the field waiting for the pumpkins to drop out of the sky so they can measure the distance of the chunk...again you may ask "isn't that dangerous?" and again I will answer you..."ummm, yeah."), playing "spot the minority" (not a lot of them out in Bridgeville, and yes I was among Asian friends so it was okay...geez, so sensitive), and, of course, seeing what was basically a huge airsoft gun shoot a pumpkin 4,482 feet...yeah, that's right almost A MILE...a pumpkin...like I said...you haven't lived until you've seen that.

By the end of the day we were completely exhausted and had watched about all the Chunkin we could handle...despite the enticing invitation to stay and watch that night's fireworks display (billed as second to none in the world...imagine that...move over Paris...back off New York, Tokyo, DC...Bridgeville is about to show you what's up) we decided it would probably be a good idea to get on the road before all the drunken tailgaters, so we headed back to what appeared a much tamer DC.

All in all, it was a very fun and unique day, and I think I have definitely gained a greater appreciation for all the types of personalities that make this world a much more interesting place.

5 comments:

mav said...

I like this story. It's fun. I can't believe the pumpkins go that far.

MomAlicia said...

Thank-you for finally updating, I've been waiting for ages. I love all the pic's of the punk's...except for maybe that last guy. He kind of creeped me out.

JD said...

too bad i missed it. fun stuff

Mike and Emily said...

You chunk those punkins, girl! Shoo...

Mr. and Mrs. Joel Wagstaff said...

That sounds like a great weekend! Good to talk to you this last weekend for a bit. Love you oh and guess what... I UPDATED! yahoo!