The official photo blog of J. David Buerk Photography.

Punkin Chunkin 2013

I've always watched it on The Science Channel, but until last year, I didn't realize how close The World Championship of Punkin Chunkin actually is - just a few hours away, in Southern Delaware, halfway between the Chesapeake Bay and Rehoboth Beach.  2013 was my first Chunk as a spectator.  I'll preface by saying that what you see on The Science Channel is nothing like the actual event's atmosphere - Discovery Communications has some fantastic videographers and editors that manage to condense three days of competition into just one hour of highlight footage. Unfortunately I missed the Trebuchets, which were my largest interest in the competition.  I did, however, see most of the Air Cannon class, and a few of the Centrifugal and Catapult Chunkers.  "Bad to the Bone," the Chunker I wanted to see most, unfortunately broke down and was unable to Chunk.  Other highlights included  "Chunk Norris," and the Human Hamster Wheel powered Chunker, to which the crowd cheered, "GO, HAMSTER, GO!"  Pumpkins were painted green for visibility, though they often travel so far so quickly downrange that you still lose sight of them.  Occasions where Chunkers "pied" resulted in tiny gobs of green pumpkin spraying onto spectators due to the strong wind contestants were firing into.  It was a blast, and I can't wait for the 2014 Chunk!

See all my Punkin Chunkin photos on Facebook... and don't forget to Follow me for updates!


Many long distance Chunks, a few pies, and a handful of breakdowns... but nothing compared to Young Glory III (Punkin Chunkin World Record Holder), which was the very last Chunker to fire in 2013's competition.  Young Glory III fired with brute force of air pressure; so much that it blew off and collapsed the last 1/3 of its barrel.  Clearly my 1D X is an overpriced 18 megapixel GIF machine, because at 12 frames per second, I captured Young Glory III's self-destruction.  Luckily for the team, the damage didn't look too terribly difficult to fix for next year's Chunk.


The result was so impressive that Kari Byron live-tweeted it.  I replied to her, and Tory Bellaci retweeted my photo.

An air cannon just exploded and flew over my head!

— Kari Byron (@KariByron) November 3, 2013

Here's the air cannon malfunction @KariByron talked about. @DavidBuerkPhoto: More on soon.

— Tory Belleci (@ToryBelleci) November 4, 2013

I later posted the GIF above, to which Tory responded,

@DavidBuerkPhoto@KariByron That's cool!

— Tory Belleci (@ToryBelleci) November 4, 2013

My pleasure Tory!  Thanks so much for retweeting, and taking the time to respond back.  Hey, if you're reading this, can you get me a photography job at Discovery Communications... or at least a Press Pass to next year's Punkin Chunkin?  I'm 100% completely serious, dude - Discovery is a dream job for me.

Here's "Young Glory III" in high-res.  See you all at next year's Punkin Chunkin!


I also have a few video clips of the Chunkers below. Don't forget to Follow to keep up to date on all my latest work and adventures!