Tag Archives: trebuchet

St. John’s Trail Bandit and the Henniker’s Annual Pumpkin Festival

Trebuchet Launching Pumpkin at Target

Photo by Bill Wakeham

Bob Garrison, better known on St. John as the “Trail Bandit,” has produced the ultimate St. John Trail Map, a must have for any resident of St. John as well as for anyone visiting the island, hiker or not. The maps are available on St. John or can be downloaded or purchased on Bob’s website: trailbandit.org. Back in April of this year, I published an interview of Bob, which our readers may find interesting: Trail Bandit Interview Every year on the last Saturday in September, Bob hosts “Henniker’s Annual Pumpkin Festival” at his airport in Henniker New Hampshire. People arrive from all over, some in their own planes. When weather permits there’s an Air Show where, according to Bob, “People do silly things in airplanes.”

Bob’s Plane – Italian Fighter-Trainer, Symmetrical Wing

Trail Bandit Airport Henniker, NH
Trail Bandit Airport – 3000 foot paved runway with lights

biplane parked at hanger

There’s a big barbecue, homemade pies, and hard and soft beverages. Bob personally prepared and marinated 120 pounds of chicken for the event. Mary brought her apple pies, but because of dangerous cross winds she didn’t fly them in herself as she normally does.

Trail Bandit and Mary
Bob “Trail Bandit” Garrison and Mary, the Trail Banditess

Autumn Colors at Airport


The highlight of the day is the trebuchet pumpkin launch. First Bob grows the pumpkins. Then on the day of the festival he sets up the trebuchet. An old wrecked automobile is fork-lifted down the field about two hundred yards from the trebuchet to serve as a target.



Pumpkin in flight

The trebuchet is armed using the force of about five or more people using a line to raise th 800-pound concrete counterweight. The trebuchet arm is then secured by the trigger mechanism and the pumpkin loaded into it’s pouch. Someone is chosen to pull the trigger and the pumpkin flies off to it’s target at a speed of 69 mies an hour. (Someone was there with a radar gun to verify the speed)

What FUN!!!

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Catapult New Hampshire Style
Catapult Virgin Islands Style

In response to yesterday’s blog about the traditional Virgin Islands slingshot, my good buddy, Bob, “the Trail Bandit” Garrison wrote:

I liked your catapult story. Up here in the Nawth, we are better armed. Attached are a couple of pictures of the New Hampshire catapult that I built. Come to Henniker, NH on the last Saturday in September. I put on the best, free, chicken barbecue around. Lunch is at noon, pumpkins will be hurled. And if it is a nice day, people will be doing silly things in airplanes.
I hope all is well.

By the way, Bob’s trebuchet can hurl a 13-pound pumpkin more than 1/10 mile (600 Feet) and “they hit hard”

A trebuchet or trebucket (from the French: trébuchet) is a siege engine that was employed in the  Middle Ages either to smash masonry walls or to lob projectiles over them and into the castle under siege…read more from Wikpedia

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