The Great Pumpkin Drop

Annual Ball State Competition a Non-Smashing Success

Listen: Listen to Team Trampoleen's winning drop.

Listen: Listen to Team Ramrod's winning drop.

Team Trampoleen's pumpkin-saving container begins its 50-foot descent.

hide captionTeam Trampoleen's pumpkin-saving container begins its 50-foot descent.

Ball State University
Kevin Powell and Team Ramrod's unscathed pumpkin.

hide captionKevin Powell and Team Ramrod's unscathed pumpkin.

Ball State University
Ramrod's winning design.

hide captionRamrod's winning design.

Ball State University

Ball State University in Indiana has announced the winners of its second annual Pumpkin Drop. NPR's Robert Siegel, host of All Things Considered talks with several of the winners about their pumpkin-protecting designs.

Isaac LeMasters and Breydon Allen of the Halloween Trampoleen Team, from Warsaw High School in Indiana, won first place in the K-12 division. Team Ramrod, represented on NPR by Kevin Powell, took top honors at the college level.

Participants had to design an apparatus to protect a pumpkin when dropped 50-feet from the top of a cherry picker. The sound of defeat — a loud splat.

The Trampoleen Team's pumpkin survived thanks to a 27-inch by 27-inch by 27-inch cube made from metal bars. The pumpkin sat on beach towels stretched over the frame. The towels acted like a trampoline, and tape kept the pumpkin from popping out. Witnesses on the ground said after the drop, Team Trampoleen's pumpkin looked perfect and was without a scratch.

Team Ramrod's pumpkin remained unscathed through a design that involved a 20-gallon trash container filled with air and water balloons and varying sized sandwich bags filled with air. The pumpkin sat atop an ATV tire inner tube, with more air packed around it and a lid to seal it in.

Event sponsors — The Technology Education Collegiate Association and Howell Farms — awarded each winning team $100.

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