Pumpkins were not the only thing smashed in Petersburg on Sunday, a record was broken too.
On a beautiful afternoon, several hundred people turned out to witness the 12th Annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ event. The fun filled day included kids games, a petting zoo, outhouse races, lots of grilled food and of course the pumpkin blasting.
Every year, contestants from around the area haul their cannons, air guns and catapults to Petersburg to see who can launch a pumpkin the farthest. The event is put on by the Petersburg Community Club with the help of committee members and many volunteers.
The Weeder family of Lindsay, Nebraska is no stranger to the Punkin’ Chunkin’. The grandsons of Ralph Weeder have participated in the event with their air gun “Grandpa’s Gun” almost every year, winning the competition several times. What is their secret? They claim the pumpkins make all the difference.
“The right pumpkin really can make or break it.,” said Ralph's grandson Kyle Wegener, "Whether it's too tight or perfectly round or the shell is hard or not. We usually try to go with the white ones they seem to be the hardest."
Not only is the perfect sized pumpkin a factor, but the last two years they have had their pumpkins autographed by the visiting Miss Nebraska.
This year their lucky autographed pumpkins not only won them two awards for the distance shot and the accuracy shot, but they also broke the Punkin’ Chunkin’ record of 3,930 feet. Their pumpkin was launched over 4,000 feet.
The award for the distance shot was a cash prize of $500. For the accuracy shot there were several envelopes each with a cash prize, one of which held $500. They drew a prize of $20.
When the family was being recognized during the awards ceremony, they made a surprising announcement. They were donated $250 of their prize money to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
According to Wegener this is something the family does every year.
"It was something we started when we first won, and we keep going.," Wegener said.
The family includes grandson's Matthew Wegener, Kyle Wegener, Scott Jarecki and Easton Baumgart.