The Pumpkin Roll: The Best Underrated Sport in Franklin


By Samantha Lubliner, 2016

Contestants roll their pumpkins down the hill at the annual Franklin Festival.
Contestants roll their pumpkins down the hill at the annual Franklin Festival.

The town of Franklin was bustling but the life of the party was on the outskirts. Hoards of people, young and old alike, crowded around downtown Franklin.

A steep paved hill ran through the center of town toward the more residential and on this specific Saturday, it was near impossible to find an opening amidst the gathering. Caution tape and balloons guarded the road as onlookers peaked over and leaned with their full body weight to watch the spectacle.

There was a booth atop the hill advertising the sale of pumpkins for the competition. Participants were given a number which was then called for the next-up to get into position and get ready to begin.

The Pumpkin Roll: 

Participants were instructed to pick a pumpkin (pro tip: a round pumpkin rolls differently than a cylindrical pumpkin.)

Two men clad in neon vests stood at the bottom of the hill next to the mark indicating the farthest rolling pumpkin record.

The challenge was simple: how far can you get your pumpkin to roll? The trick was in the direction, similar to bowling. Cones were not satisfactory in their job of protecting the audience of run-away pumpkins. If the pumpkin rolled into the viewing audience, it was encouraged to kick the pumpkin back into bounds. More often than not, the tough ground will be too much for the pumpkin resulting in an explosion of seeds and gooey orange insides.

Cheers erupt as the pumpkin rolled down the hill, and you heard shouts with such emotion you never thought you would:

“Roll, pumpkin, roll!”

“Yes, I knew that pumpkin was a winner”


Although repetitive, the crowd was unwavering in enthusiasm. After a long while and many rounds as spectators, we said good-bye to perhaps one of the best and underrated sports.