"You guys are excited. Good!" Krystal Elementary School Principal Tom Kirk said, addressing the crowd lining up alongside the blacktop. "Welcome to our first pumpkin-launching contest."


More than a dozen fifth and sixth graders and their parents set up a variety of homemade catapults Tuesday morning. The devices ranged from ones small enough for a child to carry it to metal contraptions wielded to carts.


The students fired pumpkins ranging from fist-sized up through football-sized squash. Orange traffic cones marked with distance from the start line were optimistically placed as far away as 200 feet, but most pumpkins went 30 feet or less.


In the end, sixth grader Dana Eggleston fired a pumpkin 50 feet, while fifth grader Tristan Meyer won the day with a 72 foot launch.


The project was an optional one, meant to get parents and students working together on a science project, and was inspired by a similar annual event at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana.


"Thank you, parents, that was awesome," Kirk said, as students returned to class. "Thanks for coming out and supporting us."


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/HesperiaStar.