Homemade device shoots pumpkins

Forget the battle for the biggest pumpkin. The Jungle Farm has pumpkins that can fly. Its new — Pumpkinator — can launch a squash almost a kilometre through the air.

Jungle Farm owner Blaine Staples loads a small pumpkin into the firing chamber of what he calls a Pumkinator. The pumpkin cannon is capable of launching a pumpkin about a half mile

Forget the battle for the biggest pumpkin. The Jungle Farm has pumpkins that can fly.

Its new — Pumpkinator — can launch a squash almost a kilometre through the air.

“It’s built out of a 500 gallon propane tank, the barrel is 10 inches in diameter and 20 feet long,” said pumpkinator designer and operator Blaine Staples at the first public demonstration at his farm north of Innisfail at noon on Saturday.

“As far as we’ve been able to determine, this is probably the biggest cannon in Canada,” he told the crowd of about 65 people waiting to witness the flight of the first gourd.

Staples set the air compressor to 35 pounds. The crowd shouted out the count down and — pooouuuuuf — the pumpkin soared to the shrieks and cheers of both children and adults.

“I’m not a bullet. I’m a pumpkin,” said Aiyden Nash, 4, of Red Deer, as he imitated the airborne vegetable.

“It was cooool.”

When Staples asked the crowd if he should try one more. Pumpkinator fans yelled — YEAH!

Larry Hildebrandt, of Didsbury, said he was amazed how far the pumpkins flew.

“Just think of all the other things you could launch,” Hildebrandt said with a laugh.

Constructed by Red Willow Welding Ltd. of Innisfail, Staples was thinking about issuing a challenge next year to local fabrication shops, maybe getting the mechanic students involved at Olds College.

“I think there’s a lot of potential.”

He designed the pumpkinator after seeing other pumpkin cannons in action down south.

“I saw some of these in the States and was kind of intrigued and felt it was time we had one up here in Alberta.

“It’s something different. I think every guy has aspirations to be a junk yard mechanic.”

And the possibilities are endless.

“I’ve got to try some cabbages. I’ve got to see how far it will shoot a football,” Staples smiled.

Leona Staples said her farm will be open until the end of the month to sell two acres of pumpkins.

“We had a phenomenal pumpkin crop this year, which is weird because we had a cold spring. But it was the very warm fall that made our pumpkin crop,” she said.

The pumpkinator will put on a shows every Saturday and Sunday.

Even though a few pumpkins will have a smash landing in his field, Blaine Staples said it’s not a waste.

“I’m sure we’ll have pumpkins growing in the wheat field next year.”

For more information go to www.thejunglefarm.com

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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