Students Preparing To `Squash' Competition
Date: October 15, 2014
Section: News (Local)
Miniature medieval siege machines are being built around Rockingham County in preparation for a day of launching and smashing. The first-ever Rockingham County Public Schools Trebuchet Competition is scheduled for Nov. 1 at Back Home on the Farm.
The farm, located just northwest of Harrisonburg on Willow Run Road off Va. 42, also is hosting the fourth annual Great Pumpkin Run scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.
The trebuchet competition follows the run.
Trebuchet is a French term for a type of catapult used to break down enemy fortifications, such as a castle wall, during the Middle Ages.
But these latter-day catapults will be tabletop-size with arms about 30 inches long.
They will launch squash balls weighing between 23 and 25 grams with a diameter of about 40 mm.
"Six secondary schools in the county are participating," said Ed Smith, executive director of Rockingham Educational Foundation Inc., a nonprofit that raises money for the school division. "That equals about 15 teams total."
Smith said physics and technology classes are working together to build the trebuchets.
"The competition will have two contests," he said. "One will be for distance - how far the trebuchet can launch the ball - and the other will be for accuracy. We'll have a wall up as a target and see how many of the trebuchets can hit it."
Participants launching for accuracy will aim at an archery bull's-eye.
For some added fun, a cannon will launch pumpkins, separate from the competition.
Proceeds from the Pumpkin Run benefit REFI. Last year's event raised about $3,000 and hosted about 60 runners and walkers.
"Beyond raising money for the schools, the walk and run is about our community being active and getting outside together to have some fun," Smith said.
Participants in the 5K will be treated to a pancake breakfast afterward.
"Other activities include a pumpkin smash," Smith said. "Kids can bring their own pumpkins or get one at the farm and have fun smashing them."
Signup fees for the events are $20 for the 5K and $15 for the one-mile walk before Friday. After Friday, the fees are $25 for the 5K and $20 for the walk.
For more information, visit www.rockinghameducationalfoundation.org or call 564-3218.
Contact Megan Applegate at 574-6286 or firstname.lastname@example.org