Punkin Chunkin Once Again Looking Outside of Delaware after 2015 - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Punkin Chunkin Once Again Looking Outside of Delaware after 2015 Cancellation

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Punkin Chunkin leaders are weighing their options and looking outside of Delaware as they try to ensure a 2016 edition of the event.

The World Championship of Punkin Chunkin announced Thursday it was canceling this year's event, which was originally scheduled for the first full weekend in November. It's the second year in a row the Delaware tradition hasn't happened. Organizers don't want to see that streak reach three years.

The likelihood of a 2016 event happening in Delaware appears to come down to insurance. Punkin Chunkin couldn't get the necessary insurance to have it in Kent County this year.

Ricky Nietubicz is Punkin Chunkin's president. WBOC asked him about the past day since his organization made the cancellation announcement.

"We've heard from a lot of disappointed fans, our teams, our members. Clearly everyone is extremely disappointed."

With the announcement now in the past, Punkin Chunkin's attention is on the future and guaranteeing a 2016 event happens. Nietubicz says part of that means possibly taking the event out of the state it has called home for three decades.

"Certainly there are more conducive regulatory environments in other states. Some of them are nearby," he said.

State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown, who has been working on, so far unsuccessfully, law changes that might allow Punkin Chunkin to stay in Delaware, is pessimistic.

"I'm highly doubtful it will be back to Delaware," he told WBOC Friday. "I know there are several properties on the Eastern Shore of Maryland that the organization has in mind."

Nietubicz mentioned Maryland, too.

"Over the past year and a half, we've been searching regionally and will continue to search. Certainly we'd like to stay a little bit closer to home. So, Maryland remains a significant potential option for us as do some other neighboring states."

Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver tells WBOC he would definitely be interested in Punkin Chunkin. Culver says he would need to know the event's requirements before seeing if there were a place in the county for it.

And he says Wicomico County would work with the state insurance commissioner on the insurance situation if the event came to the county.

Nietubicz says they'd rather have an event somewhere than no event anywhere.

"We'd like to stay as close as we can. That being said, at this point, we can't take anything off the table," he said.

The possibility of moving Punkin Chunkin out of state was also under consideration two years ago before organizers landed on The Woodlands at Dover International Speedway. Speedway officials told WBOC Thursday the track is still interested in hosting the event if the insurance issues can be worked out.

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