When he’s not designing a patio or installing a new landscape, Brian Labrie, owner of B.H. Labrie Landscape Co. in Merrimack, New Hampshire, can be found firing pumpkins across record-winning distances from the massive air cannon he built with his team of backyard engineers. As a competitor in the wild-but-real sport of Punkin Chunkin — the competition to see who can mechanically throw a pumpkin the farthest — Labrie and his team (Team American Clunker) were formerly featured on the Science Channel as part of their Punkin Chunkin coverage. And when the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association had to put their event on hiatus in 2015, Labrie brought “Extreme Chunkin” to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, keeping the pumpkin hurling fun alive. He expects the 2016 event to be even “bigger and better.”
Ever-improving is simply how Labrie operates his life. Whether it’s designing a landscape, building a massive air cannon, putting together a car in his spare time or even inventing products that can better the industry (his latest is the Plowguard, which prevents plow thefts), Labrie is always aiming to be the best of the best.
I have a lake property here in New Hampshire that I enjoy going to with my wife, my folks and my dogs in the summer. In the winter, I enjoy snowmobiling on the Canadian border with a small group of friends. I’m a very private person and tend to prefer quiet or small group activities as opposed to anything big and social.
When I indulge in something I’m an “all-in” type of guy. Whether its growing an herb garden, building a Camaro or building my air cannon, when I get an idea in my head—whatever it is—I want it to be the best and baddest it can be.
My ultimate goal is to be 100 percent self-sufficient and not have to worry about social security, health care or other retirement concerns. My goal is to invest intelligently now so that I don’t have to endure some of the things I’ve sadly had to witness friends and family go through as they’ve gotten older.
I’m intense and determined. I’ve seen what not giving 100 percent can do, and I’m scared to death of it.
When people see what I’ve accomplished I think they’re surprised to find out I’m in the landscape industry. When the Science Channel filmed us [for Punkin Chunkin], they asked everyone what they did in “real life.” There were lawyers, doctors and dentists. Then they got to me, a landscape professional. They never put it on the show. They had clips of everyone saying what they did but skipped over me. The industry has a stigma, but we’re battling it with quality and professionalism.