Here is where you can view a living history of ACME Catapult, LLC. It is basically our digital photo album.
We hope you enjoy reading about our history as much as we enjoyed making it!

 

 

ACME Catapult 2007

NEKOOSA This was a busy year for us as we were involved in several big events. We traveled to Nekoosa, Wi for the “Fall Ball Fling” to hurl bowling balls and also old appliances.  We were able to split an oak tree at 1800 feet with our bowling ball and also “load” an old stove into the target pick-up truck.

Loading a bowling ball

Loading a bowling ball

Old appliances went airborne.

Old appliances went airborne.

First place trophy overall.

First place trophy overall.

Re-enactment of the bowling ball against the tree

Re-enactment of the bowling ball against the tree

We had a great time at the Nekoosa Event and came home with a first place victory.

MORTON PUNKIN CHUCKIN  The local contest was great fun and we came close to our record distance with a respectable 1935 foot hurl into the ever present wind.

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MAUSTON PUMPKIN BASH  We traveled to Mauston Wisconsin for the “Pumpkin Bash” again this year.  We threw over 100 pumpkins at old cars and had a great time with the spectators.

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ACME Catapult 2007 Wall Calendar

December, 2006: Download, print, and proudly display this full color 4-page 2007 wall calendar featuring the ACME Catapult in action! Click here to download the 904KB PDF file.

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ACME Catapult wall calendar.
(calendar design: Doug D)

First Annual “Pumpkin Bash” in Mauston, WI

October 2006: The Acme Catapult team was invited to be part of the first annual Mauston Pumpkin Bash held at the Red Ridge Ranch riding stable just outside of Mauston Wisconsin. The event was held Saturday October 28th and Sunday October 29th and was a great success.

We arrived Friday evening and finished our set up early Saturday morning. We only had a 500 foot pasture to throw in, so we dialed the release in for high “lobs” and the first test shot was right on the money between the round hay bales at the far edge of the field. The spectators really enjoyed the long hang time and you could see the large ornamental pumpkin going 600 feet in the air from anywhere on the grounds!

Saturday afternoon was very windy, but it did not stop us from hurling over 80 pumpkins for the visitors. Sunday was also a sunny day, but without the wind it was even better, and a larger crowd enjoyed “Acme” hospitality. Another 60 or 70 pumpkins met there fate at the end of the grassy field. As the pumpkins were fairly soft, large explosions of pulp and seed were visible as each pumpkin thudded into the hard ground! The kids really enjoyed our big green machine.

After saying good bye to our new friends at the Red Ridge Ranch, we packed up and headed home late that afternoon. It was a fun weekend, and we want to thank all the kind people at the City of Mauston room tax committee, Red Ridge Ranch and at the Best Western Park Oasis for their hospitality. Hope to see you all again next year!!

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The Acme Team behind our pile of “ammo”.
(photo credit: Doug D)

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The moment of launch … say goodbye!!
(photo credit: Doug D)

10th Annual Punkin Chuckin contest in Morton, IL

October 2006: The 10th annual Morton Punkin Chuckin event was a big success, in spite of being shortened due to wet weather. The field was still muddy as we set up Friday evening, with the forecast for a windy and rainy Saturday in the back of our minds. The pumpkin gods smiled on us as Saturday turned out to be a mild sunny day.

The large crowd enjoyed watching the various style machines hurl pumpkins near and far. The nearby Green Acres farm featured the giant corn maze, hayrack rides and pumpkins galore. The Chamber of Commerce food tent provided hot and tasty treats for all in attendance. The Acme team enjoyed a relaxing day with our ambulance as a cozy retreat from the wind.

We were happy with our 1696 foot best throw, considering that we were set up flat this year and had less than ideal pumpkins. The cold front moved in about 4:30, and we got slightly wet as we finished tear down and pack up. The ambulance got us out of the muddy field and back to “Acme Headquarters” shortly after dark.

Many friends stopped by to see us this year, including Northwestern student Jina and two of her friends, and our friends from the Newell Produce Distribution Center (SuperValu Food Chain). We really enjoy seeing our friends from past events. See you next year!!!

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The ACME Catapult team, left to right: Joe, Mick, Bob, Ronnie, and Doug.
(photo credit: Don Pyles)

ACME’s New Tow Vehicle

Fall 2005: Acme catapult now has a fleet … of one. We purchased a 1985 Chevy Ambulance, for use as our tow vehicle. It was owned by the city of Naperville Illinois, and only has 77,000 miles on it. It has a big block Chevy 454 engine and heavy duty everything. We had to do a few repairs, and a lot of cleaning to get it ready to use, but we love it. Finally we have storage for all our stuff! There are compartments everywhere inside and out, and it even had a trailer hitch that Bob reinforced for towing the catapult. This winter and spring we hope to do a lot of updates to the inside, and hopefully add some new Acme green paint and logos to the outside.

ambulance-topNew Acme Ambulance: 454 cid engine, dual fuel tanks, room inside and out for all our equipment (photo credit: Doug D)

ambulance-centerThe Acme Ambulance (photo credit: Doug D)

ambulance-bottomInside the Acme Ambulance (photo credit: Doug D)

Country Corner Farm in Alpha, IL

October 2005: We had a busy Saturday and Sunday, October 15th and 16th at the Country Corner farm near Alpha Illinois. We were there to try for a new world record and entertain the crowds that came out to enjoy the corn maze, pumpkin patch, and many other activities. The weather was nice, but the wind did not cooperate, and we knew it would be tough to reach our goal. We made an attempt on Saturday and another on Sunday. We managed to break a boom cable and tear a sling, but patched things up and did get a best shot of 1920 feet into the wind on Sunday. Moyer’s Soil Testing Service used their GPS system to measure the throws. It was very interesting to be out in the field and see and hear the pumpkins go over head. They make a great sound! The rest of the weekend we enjoyed throwing easy 1000 foot shots for the visitors, as we tried to put a pumpkin on the railroad tracks at the end of a the field in front of us.

Country-Corner-1aSet up in field. (photo credit: Doug D)

Country-Corner-2“Hollywood” Mick gets a TV interview. (photo credit: Doug D)

Country-Corner-3Bob has spectator kiss pumpkin for good luck. (photo credit: Doug D)

Country-Corner-3aMoyer’s Soil Testing provided GPS measurement. (photo credit: Doug D)

Country-Corner-4Bob and Mick load pumpkin. (photo credit: Doug D)

Country-Corner-4aBob takes a bow after a good “hurl”. (photo credit: Doug D)

Country-Corner-5Joe pulls the safety pin. (photo credit: Doug D)

Country-Corner-5aSome of the spectators at the Country Corner. (photo credit: Doug D)

Morton Pumpkin Festival in Morton, IL

October 2005: Morton’s Annual Pumpkin Chuckin contest was October 22nd and 23rd this year. We had replaced our broken cable and made a few other changes by then, and were looking forward to a fun relaxing weekend. The Acme team set up the catapult on Friday evening, and tuned up Saturday morning.The weather was brisk and windy again this year. We met Jina Bartholomew from Northwestern University. She was there to do a documentary on Punkin Chuckin, and had contacted us earlier in the month to get information and video on the Acme Catapult. We also talked to fellow chuckers from the Armed and Dangerous Trebuchet team and the Q36 and Q9 Air Cannon teams.

When we fired up the power unit to pull down for our first hurl on Saturday we discovered our trigger cylinder would not retract! We quickly unbolted the cylinder and took it to Bob’s shop. Disassembly reveled a mushroomed piston rod had pulled completely out of the piston. We knew the only thing to do was weld it back together, as a temporary repair. We needed to preserve the piston seal, as none was available that day, so Bob submerged the assembly in water up past the seal, and welded the piston to the rod. We threw it back together and got back to the event in time for the second round. It worked and our best shot on Saturday was 1800 and some feet. We celebrated by eating all the food Chad, Joe and Mick had cooked for us. Our wives (The Punkin Chuckin Widows Club) enjoyed the food as well. On Sunday it was much colder, and everyone was bundled up. We geared up for our shot and decided to use the ugliest pumpkin we had. Bob placed it just so in our sling, and we got a great launch. We knew it looked good, but were ecstatic when we heard the distance of 2066 feet! That is a new best competitive distance for the Acme team, and gave us a few ideas for next year.

Morton-PC-2005-2Machines set up at Green Acres Farm. (photo credit: Doug D)

Morton-PC-2005-5Acme Catapult set up in field. (photo credit: Doug D)

Morton-PC-2005-7Acme Catapult hurls one out there. (photo credit: Doug D)

Morton-PC-2005-10Jina captures the action. (photo credit: Doug D)

MPC-23Team Armed and Dangerous. (photo credit: Doug D)

MPC-27Acme Team with Northwestern Student Jina. (photo credit: Doug D)

Morton-PC-2005-9Packed up and headed home. (photo credit: Doug D)

Newell Produce Distribution Center Open House in Champaign, IL

October 2005: The last Saturday in October found the Acme Team in Champaign, Illinois for an appearance at the SuperValu open house for their huge Newell Produce Distribution Center. We set up in their brand new parking lot and had a fantastic time lobbing big orange pumpkins about 800 feet. They marked out a numbered grid at the end of the parking lot and gave a prize and donation to charity to the department that picked the grid the pumpkin landed in. All the employees and their families had a great time watching the big SPLAT as each pumpkin hit the asphalt. The Acme Team really enjoyed the day, and hope we can do more of this type of event. Thanks to Kim Barnes at SuperValu for putting it all together for us.

openhouse-004Setting up in the Newell parking lot. (photo credit: Newell photographer)

openhouse-008Final assembly. (photo credit: Newell photographer)

openhouse-015Locked and loaded. (photo credit: Newell photographer)

SuVa-02Bob checks cable tension. (photo credit: Doug D)

SuVa-04Chad selects the best ammo. (photo credit: Doug D)

openhouse-025The Newell employees and their families enjoyed the event. (photo credit: Newell photographer)

“My Kind of Town” TV Show Taping in Mt Horeb, WI

July/August 2005: In July 2005, we were contacted by a young lady named Sara Parks at Pressure Productions in New York. They were looking for a catapult that could throw “stuff” on a new “reality-quiz show”, and wanted to know if we were interested. Oh yeah, we were interested. Originally the episode they wanted us for was to be filmed in Alabama in two weeks, but it worked out much better to use the catapult in the episode to be filmed in Mt Horeb, Wisconsin a week or two later. Everything had to be kept low key, as the show is considered a game show and knowledge of our appearance in Mt Horeb could have affected the outcome.

We left on Friday morning August 12th and drove up to Fitchburg, just outside Madison WI. Mick’s wife Pat and Bob’s wife Gail followed in another car. We stayed at the same motel as the TV production company (http://www.qualitysuitesmadison.com). We had a late lunch and a beer at the nearby Great Dane Pub (http://www.greatdanepub.com), and met the My Kind of Town “go to” guy, Charles, while we were eating. Afterward, We met the segment producer David Cook and his crew face to face for the first time. We all piled in their rental cars and hi-tailed it out to the farm of Steve and Tom Burns, just outside Mt Horeb. A hilltop field behind the farmstead would be the site of the catapult segment. Steve and Tom were great hosts, and provided lots of help. It was during the discussion about placement of the ACME Catapult that we found out we were to hurl early Saturday morning instead of in the afternoon. We got the OK to set up Friday evening, and went back to the motel to get the catapult and trailer full of equipment. As the sun was setting, we put the final parts in place and were ready for the Saturday morning taping.

MKOT-BarnThe ACME Catapult team at the farm of Steve and Tom Burns. (photo credit: Doug D)

MKOT-SunsetThe ACME Catapult is ready to go as the sun sets. (photo credit: Doug D)

At 7 am the next morning the production crew and safety guy were anxious to see if we could do what we said we could do, prior to taping. The weather was overcast and cool as Bob and Mick filled a plastic “test” drum with water till it weighed the same 120 pounds as the dryer. They did not want stuff going into the farmers soybean field so Bob set the release pin on “lob” and we put that plastic barrel high up and dropped it right near the edge of the field. We did a couple more test shots with the barrel, which they actually used in the show. They were impressed!

We had five “hurls” on our schedule, including the dryer, garden tools and lawn tractor. The townspeople were brought out on a bus to watch the process, and cheer for Andy Steiner. Andy’s family were in New York appearing on the quiz portion of the show. The set-up was that while they were gone, Andy was back home in Mt Horeb doing chores and cleaning out the garage by hurling stuff with our ACME Catapult. They got to see what he was up to via satellite during the taping in New York City.

MKOT-AudienceMt Horeb townspeople watch and cheer. (photo credit: Doug D)

MKOT-DryerTossACME Catapult hurls the dryer. (photo credit: Doug D)

His mom’s dryer went as one of the first shots, and then while we worked to lighten the lawn tractor to about 200 pounds, Andy triggered the catapult to throw his families clothes, garden tools bowling balls, sinks, and other junk from the garage out into the field. We ended up throwing the garden tools about eight times, just so the crew could get the right camera angles. The lawn tractor was one of the last shots, and truly was one of the coolest shots we have ever done. That thing just went way up in the air turning end over end before crashing down right on it’s nose. The segment producer, David, told us that shot alone was worth the whole trip! The assistant producer, Rob tried to film the tractor toss for me, using my video camera, out in the field. Unfortunately, he was too far away to get it, so all we have is the TV footage of that lawn tractor going end over end, and crashing into the ground nose first.

Below is a home video clip of the dryer toss for the ABC TV show “My Kind of Town”. This is a 40 second video clip with audio. (video credit: Patti D, production credit: Doug D)

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Getting the lawn tractor hooked up to the ACME Catapult
(photo credit: Patty D from home video)

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The lawn tractor is a blur as the ACME Catapult is triggered
(photo credit: Rob, MKOT AP, from home video)

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The end result of a magnificent lawn tractor toss
(photo credit: Patty D from home video)

By then it was noon, and it had started to sprinkle. The TV crew and townspeople went off to film some more segments in Mt Horeb, and we tore down the catapult and loaded up. Steve and Tom were nice enough to let us leave the equipment on their property until we left for home on Sunday. At 2 o’clock, tired, damp, and hungry (all we had to eat that day were donuts and a banana) we headed back to the motel to get cleaned up. Later that evening we all went out to a steakhouse Mick had spotted on the drive to the farm. Fitch’s Chophouse and Spirits (http://www.fitchschops.com) was a truly great dining experience, and we enjoyed talking with our waitperson Suzette.

Sunday morning dawned bright, cool, and clear. We had a big breakfast at the motel, drove out to the farm, hooked up the catapult, and said goodbye to Madison WI as we headed home. We did stop and stock up on cheese curds and sausage before we left the state, and roared home on I-39. We were home and unhooked by mid-afternoon, and all agreed it was a fun trip. Gail and Pat were still shopping in Wisconsin, and would not get home till late that night!

The Mt Horeb episode of the My Kind of Town show was not intended to air for several weeks, but the producer was so pleased with it, they decided to bump it up and it aired as the second episode on Sunday August 21st. We all gathered at Bob’s to watch, and enjoyed the entire show. We knew we would not appear on camera, but were disappointed to see our ACME Catapult signs blurred out, as we were told we could leave them on, and they would be shown. We also noticed the host, Johnny Vaughn referred to the catapult as the “My Kind of Town Mega-pult”. All in all, it was a great experience and we learned a lot about how things are done in TV land. Who knows what’s next for the mighty ACME Catapult!

“My Kind of Town” Followup Story on Peoria’s HIO TV News

August 2005: After we returned from Wisconsin, we were contacted by Peoria’s ABC affiliate, W-HOI channel 19, who wanted to air a news story about our recent TV appearance. We were happy to oblige and HOI ended up running a very nice story about us. Due to copyright restrictions we can’t rebroadcast the video from our website, but below are a couple of snapshots from the story.

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HOI 19 News story about ACME Catapult
(credit: HOI 19 News, Peoria)

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HOI 19 News story about ACME Catapult
(credit: HOI 19 News, Peoria)

No Trip East in 2004

November 2004: The ACME Catapult Team had to make a last minute decision to not go to the World Championship contest in Delaware in November 2004. After months of building, testing, and preparation we were disappointed not to be able to compete with all our friends from prior years. I am sure John Huber (Hypertension) will have his hands full with the likes of Fibonacci and Feats Don’t Fail Me Now in his class! Good Luck Everyone!

Many things affected our decision, but the high cost of fuel really ended up being the deciding factor. We want to thank our great sponsors for their support this season. It is great to have friends helping us, as you all did in 2004.

Morton Pumpkin Festival in Morton, IL

October 2004: This years Morton event got off to a muddy start. Lots of rain Thursday and Friday led to wet and slick field conditions. Unfortunately the weather kept all the TV crews away, including The Today Show. The brisk wind helped dry things out, and by late morning the sun was shining brightly. Unfortunately, it was blowing right into our faces at 25 – 30 mph! Quite a few spectators showed up in the afternoon, and we had fun hurling line drives into the wind for a best shot of 1447 feet.

Two new trebuchets participated this year. Krikkit from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Veg-o-Matic, from Brillion, Wisconsin. Both teams were great fun, and had awesome machines. We enjoyed the “Do Not Place Cat Here” warning decals on the Veg-o-Matic treb.

Sunday dawned clear and almost calm. We showed up early to prepare for the day and tune up the Acme Catapult. After a low line drive and an explosive second shot (Pumpkin Pie) we got an official 1791 foot hurl. This bettered the World Record we co-held with Fibonacci, from Delaware last year. During competition, we backed that up with an awesome 1860 foot toss! Veg-o-Matic also dialed in with a 1325 foot shot. This was a world record in the trebuchet category! Great job guys!

We reconfigured the catapult in a little under an hour, and spent the rest of the afternoon tossing appliances for the crowd. We also had a garden tractor to hurl, but a strap got cut, and the tractor did a flip and crashed upside down right were it started! We finished with a water filled dishwasher, and did manage to crash it into the refrigerator thrown earlier. The Q-36 air cannon team did a great job of totally demolishing a Chevy Caprice. They had the car set on its side, and a direct pumpkin hit into the roof knocked the whole car back onto its wheels! They also had a very respectable 4,444 foot distance shot.

It was dark by the time we pulled out of the field. We were totally exhausted, but very happy with our 1860 foot record throw!

2004Morton01-TeamThe Acme Catapult Team proudly poses in front of their powerful machine. (photo credit: Don P)

2004Morton02-FlagThe Acme Catapult machine displayed at the Morton event. (photo credit: Doug D)

2004Morton03-FridgeAcme Catapult machine ready to hurl an old refrigerator for the crowd’s enjoyment. (photo credit: Doug D)

This animation shows the Acme Catapult machine hurling a full sized refrigerator. (photo credit: Don P, sequencing credit: Kurt L)

FridgeAnimation-Large

No one took us up on our “Catapult Rides” promotion. (photo credit: Doug D)

2004Morton05-VegAndCannonsThe Veg-O-Matic Trebuchet team fronm WI. An awesome machine! Air cannons in the background. (photo credit: Doug D)

2004Morton06-ArmedAndFarts“Armed and Dangerous” trebuchet and Fraternal Association of River Team Sportsman (F.A.R.T.S.) trebuchet. (photo credit: Doug D)

Watermelon Wars in Mt Vernon, IL

August 2004: The Acme catapult Team made the 3 1/2 hour trip to Mt Vernon in southern Illinois the weekend of August 7th and 8th to help kick off their 1st Watermelon Wars event. Only two other machines were able to attend, but we all put on a good show and had a great time.

We quickly found that we could overshoot the field, after putting a melon over the woods and into a cornfield! So we detuned a little and shot high lobs and line drives at cars on the other side of the pond.

We had a nice article come out in Sunday’s paper, but the crowd dwindled in the Sunday afternoon heat so we tore down and headed home about 4 pm. We want to thank Russ and hope to see him and the new “melon lobbers” at Morton’s Punkin Chuckin event this October!

Check out the official Watermelon Wars website (http://www.watermelonwars.net/) for more information regarding this festival.

MtVernon1The Acme Catapult Team at the 1st Annual Watermelon Wars contest in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. A new addition to the annual Sweet Corn and Watermelon Festival. (photo credit: Doug D)

MtVernon2The Acme Catapult set up in Mt. Vernon. Getting the sling ready to load a melon. The city supplied about 400 cold melons! (photo credit: Doug D)

MtVernon3Here some of the ladies that made the trip with the Acme Catapult Team relax in the shade … between shopping trips! (photo credit: Doug D)

MtVernon4Bob and Chad find a ripe, ice cold watermelon for us to enjoy in the August sunshine! (photo credit: Doug D)

World Championship Punkin Chuckin Competition in Sussex County, Delaware

November 2003: At the November 2003 Delaware Punkin Chuckin contest Acme Catapult and Fibonacci, a team from Boston, both set a new world record for the catapult division. Both teams hurled an 8 to 10 pound pumpkin a distance of 1752.81 feet, during the two day event. The Fibanacci team went on to win a shoot off, when the muffler on our power unit failed, causing a loss of hydraulic power. The Fibanacci Team is a great group of people, and we had a lot of fun at this year’s event.

Morton Pumpkin Festival in Morton, IL

October 2003: We attended our annual local Punkin Chunkin event which is associated with the Morton Pumpkin Festival in Central Illinois. It was great weather, except that the winds were against us so no new records were set. We did earn First Place in our division, though!

This competition is held annually in late October in Central Illinois, less than one hour from Peoria. Check out the official Morton Pumpkin Festival website (http://www.pumpkincapital.com/) for more information regarding this event.

AcmeCatapult-icon2This photo shows the catapult all set up and ready for the competition. (photo credit: Gail K)

AcmeCatapultTeam-icon2The Acme Catapult Team is ready to compete in Morton! (photo credit: Gail K)

Morton2003Toss-iconThe moment of release! A 10 pound pumpkin is hurled through the air at high speeds! (photo credit: Gail K)

DishwasherLaunch-iconFollowing the Punkin Chuckin competition, the hard-core fans waited around for us to change the boom on our Catapult so they could see the appliance hurling first hand. It takes a much stronger and heavier boom to launch a 200 pound appliance versus a 10 pound pumpkin! This photo shows a 200 pound dishwasher filled with water being launched for the crowds! (photo credit: Don P)

VaporTrail-iconThe dishwasher filled with water was truly a sight to behold! The vapor trail left behind made it look like a comet over the cornfield! (photo credit: Don P)

JustMissed-iconThe dishwasher just barely missed its target (but later we did hit that old ford with a stove!) (photo credit: Don P)

Morton2003Sponsors-iconFollowing the event, the Acme catapult Team poses with a display of all their great sponsors. The Acme Catapult Team Sponsors are as follows: Pete’s Shoe Store, Hagerty Brothers Company, Morton Community Bank, and Morton Metalcraft. Thank you so much for your support of the Acme Catapult Team. (photo credit: Gail K)

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in Hollywood, CA

October 2003: After working hard all summer on the Acme Catapult, we finally made our television debut on The Tonight Show on October 9, 2003. We were “disguised” as the Sears Catapult Team and threw old appliances to promote the “Toss Your Hog” theme for Sears Energy Savings Month. What a great experience! We had a blast! By the way, the show is taped as if it was live, the afternoon of the show. We want to thank Marlene Tsareff for putting the whole event together.

Due to copyright restrictions, we cannot show you images of the actual television broadcast, but it was absolutely awesome to be on stage with Jay Leno and to meet Dolly Parton face to face! After Jay performed his monologue, he introduced us as the “Sears Catapult Team from Morton, Illinois” and called us out on stage with him. After the cheering and applause died down, Jay asked us all “Which of you guys is the shyest?”. We all pointed to Bob as he tried to hide behind Jay. So Jay interviewed Bob for a couple of minutes and then we ran through the studio to the backlot and Mick launched our first appliance … a washing machine. Later during the show, we also launched a refrigerator. Then Dolly Parton came out to the backlot and she pulled the lever to launch a bunch of melons. Then finally we launched a dishwasher during the show’s closing credits.

LenoBacklotGroupPhoto-iconHere is a photo of the whole team, including Marlene, without whom we would not have made it to The Tonight Show in the first place! (photo credit: Patty D)

SettingUp-iconSetting up the Acme Catapult on the backlot of the NBC Studios was a blast! Hats off to the stage crew…they were great! (photo credit: Patty D)

DougAndMick-iconMick and Doug take a second to smile for the camera while setting up the Acme Catapult. (photo credit: Patty D)

LandingZone-iconChad and Joe are busy measuring out and marking the official Appliance Hurling Landing Zone. All of our appliance tosses landed within 15 feet of the desired landing zone. (photo credit: Patty D)

ProducerInstructions-iconThe Producer of the show told us everything we could expect during the “live” taping. (photo credit: Patty D)

LenoBacklotPanorama-iconMick and the rest of the Team wait patiently for their turn to hurl another appliance! (photo credit: Patty D)

Cleanup-iconThe stage crew clean up after us in this photo. You can see quite a crowd has lined up to watch the hurling from the backlot. They look closer than they actually are. (photo credit: Patty D)

MelonCheck-iconBrian makes one final melon adjustment before Dolly Parton comes out of the studio to launch them high into the air. (photo credit: Patty D)

LenoBacklotDolly-iconThe crowd goes wild after seeing Dolly Parton launch the container of melons down the street. We couldn’t wipe that silly grin off of “Hollywood” Mick’s face for weeks! (photo credit: Patty D)

TV Show Auditions in Allentown, IL

Summer 2003: Marlene Tsareff, an Indianapolis advertising agency executive, came to Central Illinois to witness our appliance hurling abilities. So we put on quite a show for her. The team was uncertain if the demo would even take place, as over 4 inches of rain fell that morning. That turned out to be a plus, as the rain stopped and we were able to throw the appliances into the flooded pasture.

A refrigerator makes quite a splash when it is thrown a hundred feet into the air, spinning end over end, and lands in 18 inches of water and mud! The catapult worked flawlessly and we ended the day by throwing an old pink toilet. Bob capped it off by stuffing it with rags and setting it ablaze just before launch. The pink flaming toilet was quite a sight as it arched across the sky and smashed into a hundred pieces! Marlene took the video we had made of the audition day and sent it to Sears, and then on to the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

World Championship Punkin Chuckin Competition in Sussex County, Delaware

November 2002: After missing the 2001 Delaware Punkin Chuckin contest, we were eager to get back east, see all our friends, and hurl some pumpkins! This was our first trip with the catapult on wheels. We had never towed the machine this far, but all went well, as Ronnie’s big Dodge got us there. The big green Acme Catapult drew a lot of comments as we had it raised up on the back legs. No one had seen anything quite like that! We broke the record for unlimited catapult and were in first place until John Huber and Hypertension pulled one out of his hat on the last throw of the weekend, and went 12 feet further! The Discovery Channel was at the event and produced an excellent hour long program covering the competition. We even made an appearance on the show!

DawnThompsonCatapult-2002-DelawareEvent-DougD-iconThis photo shows us with our friend Dawn Thompson and her catapult. (photo credit: Doug D)

World Championship Punkin Chuckin Competition in Sussex County, Delaware

November 2000: Morton, Illinois was not able to hold a Punkin Chuckin event this year, as no suitable “field” was available. We were able to gather enough support to enable us to make the long haul out to the Delaware World Championship contest. It was a long trip, but well worth it, as we took top honors in unlimited catapult. We got to meet a lot of great people and made many new friends. Doug did a filmed interview that was later used in a Maryland Lottery commercial!

TripToDelaware-2000-DelawareEvent-DougD-iconThe Acme Catapult is hauled to Delaware on the back of Morton Metalcraft’s tractor trailer. (photo credit: Doug D)

SpringsInstalled-2000-DelawareEvent-DougD-iconThe springs are all installed and the Acme Catapult is ready to show its stuff! (photo credit: Doug D)

WaddyThompsonCannon-2000-DelawareEvent-DougD-iconHere is a photo of our friend Waddy Thompson’s human powered cannon. It is an engineering marvel! (photo credit: Doug D)

Construction & Practice in Allentown, IL

Summer/Fall 2000: Every Summer and Fall, we make any necessary modifications or improvements to the Acme Catapult and test it every step of the way.

BrianGeigerBowlingBallLoad-2000-PracticeSession-DougD-iconBrian and Mick get a bowling ball loaded into the Acme Catapult during a practice session. (photo credit: Doug D)

Bengston Pumpkin Fest in Homer Glen, IL

October 1998: We appeared at the 2 day Pumpkin Fest held at Bengston’s Pumpkin farm, near Joliet, Illinois. They had seen us at the Morton contest, and invited our team up for some fun. Bengston’s has a great farm with pick your own pumpkins, a “spook house”, gift shop, corn maze, and pig races, during the fall. We were able to throw all sizes of pumpkins, as well as pumpkin “bouquets” consisting of several smaller “gourds” thrown at one time. It rained so hard on Saturday that we had to stop early. On Sunday we were throwing into a flooded field. The spectators loved watching the pumpkins send up a large spray of water when they hit!

Check out the official Bengston Pumpkin Farm website (http://www.pumpkinfarm.com/) for more information regarding this festival.

TeamPhoto-1998-BengstonPumpkinFarm-Unknown-iconThe Acme Catapult Team poses next to the machine during a break in the action, on Sunday. You can see the flooded field in the background … a muddy mess! (photo credit: Doug D)

Morton Pumpkin Festival in Morton, IL

October 1996: Here is where it all started for the Acme Catapult! Morton’s first Punkin Chuckin event … patterned after the contest held out east in Delaware each fall. Morton Metalcraft had commissioned long time employee Bob K. and a team of others to construct a device capable of tossing a pumpkin for the inaugural Morton event.

In less than two weeks, we had a machine “powered” by 14 small garage door springs that would throw a pumpkin. Sometimes it even went forward! We won that first event with an astounding throw of 386 feet! Later that evening the huge Q-36 air cannon showed up, fashionably late, and shot a pumpkin out of sight!

Check out the official Morton Pumpkin Festival and Punkin Chuckin Contest website (http://www.pumpkincapital.com/) for more information regarding these annual events.

DougAndFirstPlaceTrophy-1996-MortonEvent-Cathy-iconDoug poses in front of the catapult, with our sign and the traveling First Place Trophy.
(photo credit: Cathy D)
firstmortonpumpkinchunkintrophyMick, Bob, Brian, and Duane hoist their First Place Trophy.
(photo credit: DeWayne Bartels/Fleming Newspapers/The Tazewell News)