History/Culture/Science

Pea shooting is a legendary and historic sport, pastime and even notorious rite-of-passage activity in many countries. For over 40 years, England has hosted the World Pea Shooting Championship. Pea shooting has been a non-entity in the USA. But now, starting in Roanoke, VA the sport of pea shooting in the USA has begun!

Pea shooting has a rich cultural and utilitarian pedigree. During the early 20th century in England “knocker-uppers” would wake folks for work by knocking on their bedroom windows. Initially this was accomplished by reaching up to the window with a long pole with a knob or wire attached to the end. But the trade soon transitioned to a preference for using a shooter tube and blowing dried peas through it at the windows.

A "knocker-upper", the pea shooting alarm clock - early 20th Century, London

The basics of pea shooting are simple enough but like all sports it takes a lifetime to master and shooting skill develops through practice.

“The scientific process is studying the known world through repeated observation.  We do this everyday without thinking when we play sports, for example.  But in addition to repeatedly observing, we take what we observe and we use it to tweak our actions.  In pea shooting, when you repeatedly see yourself shooting off-target, you make adjustments.

Part of the scientific process also involves defining what your variables are, and trying to change only one at a time to see what happens.  Breathing speed, tongue position, moisture in the blow tube, diameter of the tube, angle of the tube to the target, size of the pea, and roundness of the pea all affect the pea’s final location on the target.

The challenge for the sports pea shooter is to try to only adjust one variable at a time to see which “setting” works best.  There are so many variables that this is a life-long iteration for most anything in life.”
Colin Campbell, Engineer and founder of CNJ Multimedia.

Pea Shooting Basic Science