The Pumpkin Smash: yelling men, sweaty bodies and pumpkin guts. It’s a rare student who hasn’t seen the annual event where Farrar men wrestle each other to be a squash superstar.
But where did Pumpkin Smash come from, and how does it come together?
Dan Morrow, Farrar RA, believes he spent at least 12 hours setting up for this year’s smash.
According to RA Anthony Darling the smash prep starts at the beginning of the school year.
“During our weekly RA meetings, we would talk about what we needed to do, and what we would do differently this year,” he said. “Our brainstorms would vary from outrageous to far fetched. I think at one point in time I suggested a pre-smash car-smash for the fans.”
“It is not incredibly difficult to plan, but it does take some planning in advance to make sure that everything comes together the way it should,” added RD Casey Van Dyk.
“The Smash” is a big deal, the biggest deal of the year for Farrar residents, but like many events, it started small.
In 1997, Randy Bartch, a previous Farrar RD, held the beginning of what morphed into the Pumpkin Smash when he led a few students up the sky bridge to throw pumpkins off. Due to complaints, they later threw them off of Farrar. Then Farrarians decided to wrestle in them.
That year only Farrar brethren watched. But in the years following it became a school-wide event. In 2005 it fell on a Corban Experience weekend, and, ever since, it has been planned to have the school watch along with students visiting the college.
The pumpkins arrive a week early in a truck, courtesy of Sam Koch, a fourth-year Farrar resident, whose family owns a farm. Then, the hard stems of the pumpkins have to be removed, the tarp spread, the area staked out, and lights set up.
The big difference this year was the projectors,” said Morrow. “We’ve never had those before at all.”
After making screens for the projector, they decided to display on one a live feed of the wrestling, and on the other pictures of the contestants so that the audience could easily tell “who was in and who was out,” said Morrow. “It made it easy to see what place each person got.”
The RA’s also made the crown for the champion, a pumpkin helmet for the heroic slimy warrior.
Despite all this work, the RA’s still love the event.
“The smash is all it’s cracked up to be,” said Morrow.
It is also important for the dorm’s group identity, “I don’t think people realize how important it is for our community in Farrar,” said Van Dyk.
This year’s champion, Benjamin Daniels was surprised at his victory, “I never thought I would actually win,” he said, “I would have been happy as long as I didn’t die.”
Daniels agrees that the smash is a dorm strengthening experience. “We were all so close already, and an event like this brings us all together on a tiny mat, so there is a lot of bonding that goes on inside the pile,” he said.
“The dorm is always a brotherhood but there is a noticeable difference in the closeness we feel before and after the smash,” added Morrow. “Nothing bonds men like trying to hurt each other.”