If you find yourself in Downtown Rapid City tomorrow morning be sure to keep an eye to the sky. The Eighth Annual Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival starts tomorrow at 9am, and at 10am the CAMP teams from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology will be launching pumpkins over 200 feet to see who’s can go the furthest.
The rules of the contest are simple. You have to build a catapult, no cannons or aerial equipment allowed. And you can’t fire it more than 300 ft, because then you’d be hitting cars on 5th Street and that’s no fun for anyone. Other than that the rules are wide open and this year 6 teams will be competing for the title.
CAMP is the Center of Excellence for Advanced Manufacturing and Production and is a nationally recognized competitive program that brings students together to solve problems and challenge one another. CAMP along with RESPEC of Rapid City sponsor the contest.
One of the teams you’ll see on Saturday is the Formula Racing team, and while they normally work on cars, their trebuchet building skills aren’t to shabby. Their goal is to launch their 6-8 lb pumpkin 250 ft and they get three tries to dial in their best shot.
Two of the other teams participating are the Mini Baja and Steel Bridge teams, and despite very similar designs I reckon it will be a very close competition. While I wasn’t able to meet up with any of their members, I was able to grab a few photos of their catapults. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited for tomorrow morning at the Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival!