Area high school technology teams have been working for weeks to design and build trebuchets (pronounced treb-yeh-SHETs) to compete in this weekend’s annual Pumpkin Catapult Contest, as part of The Great Pumpkin Farm’s Fall Festival. Thirteen teams from area schools are scheduled to compete in Clarence for distance and accuracy and with enough precision to win cash prizes and trophies for their schools and prestige for their teams.
The competition starts at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 21, with winners being announced at approximately 4 p.m. Here is a list of competing schools and times:
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Williamsville South, Harkness Center East, Newfane, Buffalo Academy of Science, Nardin Academy, Pioneer Central, Scio Central
1 – 4 p.m.: Harkness Center West, Forestville Central, Clarence, Fredonia, Genesee Valley, Depew
A trebuchet is a slingshot-like weapon used in medieval siege warfare that relies only on counterweight – no springs, motors or agents like gun powder – to hurl large stones or other missiles. In this competition, pumpkins are the “missiles.”
Teams are required to design, build and test their trebuchet using knowledge learned in math, science and technology courses. Trebuchets must be constructed only of wood and the hardware necessary for assembly; no other materials can be used, except for reinforcement of gussets and load-bearing areas, and trebuchets must meet requirements set forth by the rules of the contest.
Cash prizes are awarded for the longest distance shot, highest total combined shots and for “storming the castle”(hitting a target 150 feet away). All teams receive a plaque for participating.
Students from Depew High School took two of the top three honors last year: Longest Single Throw (502 feet) and Combined Throws (total of 1,427 feet). Buffalo Academy of Science took the Storming the Castle trophy.