Annual Pumpkin Drop celebrates 25th year
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 11:10
On a warm October morning, the West Virginia University Evansdale campus was full of the sounds of fluttering plastic and satisfying thuds during the University’s 25th Annual Pumpkin Drop.
The Pumpkin Drop was hosted by the WVU student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Friday, and all proceeds were donated to the Morgantown Ronald McDonald House.
During the contest, teams of students from primary schools around the region presented devices designed to protect pumpkins from an 11-story drop and land on a target.
More than 280 pumpkins were entered into the contest at $10 per pumpkin. Only 41 survived the drop.
The rules for the pumpkin drop are simple: The pumpkin must be at least 10 inches in
diameter and may not be altered (no
freezing or adding chemicals). The weight of the pumpkin and its protective structure is limited to 60 pounds.
Pumpkins must free fall (no bungee cords). No Styrofoam peanuts or other small, non-biodegradable packing fillers were allowed, or hard materials such as wood or metal, but soft garbage cans were acceptable. No liquids or electrical sources were allowed.
Team No. 196 from Summersville Middle School earned first place by landing closest to the target. The team of Jacob Grose, Jackson Reed, Jeff Rader and Eric Castle landed their pumpkin three feet, five inches away from the target, earning themselves a $50 prize.
Justin Ritchie and Brandon Amick, a duo from Richwood Middle School, won second place with their pumpkin landing three feet, 10 inches away from the target.
Team No. 216, "Boom Goes the Silly Goose" from Suncrest Middle School, finished third, with their pumpkin landing four feet, seven inches from the target.
The prize for second was $25 and $10 for third.
This was the first year Ryan Helmick, a Grafton High School senior, attended the event.
"I got with a bunch of friends (and) we thought, ‘Hey, it would be cool to go to the pumpkin drop this year, see a bunch of pumpkins get smashed,’ " he said. "It was pretty fun."
Cynthia, 12, a TAG (Talented And Gifted) student from Suncrest Middle School.
She said she first participated in the pumpkin drop last year.
"Ours survived, but it was really off target," she said. "We were trying to get it to land on the target, but last year was really windy. This year, it’s less windy, and we are hoping it will land right on target."
Some teachers attended the event with their students.
"It is a great engineering feat for our students," said Paige Muendel, a sixth and seventh grade special education teacher at Suncrest Middle School.
"They do often have a couple of years in which to participate, so there is a lot of trial and error. They can learn one year to the next, and they really love it," Muendel said.