This weekend the Estancia Rotary will be hosting the 22nd annual Punkin Chunkin event—family fun with a purpose. The annual fundraiser provides money for scholarships to seniors from Estancia High School.

Students who are interested fill out an application including GPA, write an essay and will be interviewed in person. Students must be enrolled in a college or secondary school to qualify.

According to organizer Johnny Perea, the interview is the biggest part of the process and perfect GPAs are not the only deciding factor. Last year this event raised $5,000, and four $1,000 scholarships and two $500 scholarships were awarded.

“I would love to get this event big enough to give every [graduating senior] a $1,000 scholarship,” said Perea. This event is fully non-profit and run by volunteers; about 90 percent of the proceeds go to scholarships.

Estancia Rotary also sponsors two kids, one boy and one girl, to go to Camp Ryla, which is a Rotary and leadership camp.

The day’s events this weekend at the Punkin Chunkin festival include Bennett’s Carnival with rides, food vendors, games for kids, a hay maze, pumpkin patch, a pie-eating contest, the crowning of this year’s prince and princess and of course, the pumpkin chucking itself.

Punkin Chunkin is the sport of hurling a pumpkin by mechanical means for distance, as in Estancia, and in some contests, accuracy. Devices include slingshots, catapults, centrifugal, trebuchets and pneumatic air cannons.

Anyone interested in chucking a pumpkin has two options: The first is have a launcher and show up early to set it up in the field. If any person with a launcher wants to participate in the parade they need to have a trailer and get into the lineup before the parade starts which will start at 10:30 a.m.

The other option is the Rotary Club will be selling tickets to use the approved launchers for kids and adults.

The entire event starts at 8 a.m. Parking is free and admission is $5 a person with kids age 5 and under free. For more information check Facebook or contact Johnny Perea at 505-615-7059; for general information questions call Stella Chavez at 505-238-3821 and for vendor information call Angela Coburn at 505-705-5310 or 505-384-2811.

Leota Harriman
Leota Harriman

Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at news.ind.editor@gmail.com.