University of Rochester

EVENT: Pumpkins will be Flying at this Year's Annual Jack-O-Launcher Competition

October 28, 2004

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers at the University of Rochester will be sponsoring its third annual pumpkin launching competition at 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29, on the Wilson Commons quad on the University of Rochester's River Campus.

Engineering students and faculty will create a diverse array of machines built to pitch the pumpkins as far as possible. The team with the contraption that throws a pumpkin the greatest distance while sustaining accuracy will win. Each team must adhere to a list of rules that includes using pumpkins weighing between two and five pounds. To clarify the official landing point of a pumpkin will likely be in pieces, each will be hollowed out and contain a bag of Skittles candy that remains inside during flight. The final position of the Skittles at the end of the launch will determine distance. Last year, competitors fired pumpkins anywhere from minus 25 feet to 200 feet.

There will be three prize categories: maximum airborne range, most accurate shot, and best-looking launcher.

The event promotes engineering as an exciting field and encourages education and teamwork in and outside of the classroom.