Today, hundreds of pumpkins plummeted 11-stories from atop West Virginia University’s Engineering Sciences Building at the 32nd annual Pumpkin Drop. It was team 153 from Doddridge Middle School in West Union that went home with the top honors. Their pumpkin landed just one foot and two inches from the target, earning them the $100 first prize.
Team 140 from Pocahontas County High School in Dunmore finished second, landing its pumpkin two-feet, eight inches from the target. The team was awarded $50.
Team 80 from University High School in Morgantown finished third, landing its pumpkin two-feet, 11 inches from the target. The team was awarded $25.
287 pumpkins in total fell from the sky, covered in various padding devices and parachutes to soften the impact, however, only 39 pumpkins survived the fall.
“I love seeing the amount of people and how excited everyone gets,” said Ryan Bumgarner, WVU ASME president and mechanical and aerospace engineering student. “It’s such a big community event. People come from all over the place to see it. It’s a lot of fun.”
The event, hosted by the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the Statler College and the WVU chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), posed new challenges for the teams.
“The rule requirements last year were the same that they had been for several years, and a lot of teams that did well cracked the code,” said Bumgarner. “Last year we had around 100 pumpkins that survived the drop out of almost 300 teams, which is pretty high for what we’re trying to do.”
The student organization decided to reduce the weight limit from 60 to 50 pounds, restrict the size of parachutes and ban certain materials to make students think more critically about how to best protect their pumpkin, Bumgarner explained.
Mechanical Engineering alumnus Mark Reeder, who threw out the first pumpkin for the inaugural pumpkin drop in 1988, was in attendance today to drop the first pumpkin.
The competition, which aims to teach engineering concepts by designing an enclosure to protect the pumpkin from damage when dropped from the roof of the building, benefits the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown.
CONTACT: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
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