2,363 Pound Gourd Sets New American Record At Pumpkin Weigh-Off Contest

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Joe Holland celebrates next to his prize-winning pumpkin (Photo Credit Bradley Wittke, Miramar Events)

October is pumpkin month in the US. For most people, this means devouring the various pumpkin-filled treats or visiting pumpkin patches to pick out the perfect gourd to carve for Halloween. However, for some, it means the chance to showcase their giant produce at pumpkin weigh-offs. Though there are numerous such contests held across the country, the “Super Bowl” takes place annually at Half Moon Bay, CA, aka “The World Pumpkin Capital.”

The contest, which recently celebrated its 44th year, has always been extremely popular with master pumpkin growers. However, since 2015, it has become even more so, because contestants now have the potential to take home as much as $30,000 in prize money. To claim the “World Record Prize,” competitors have to submit a “World Record Pumpkin.” This year, that meant one heavier than the gargantuan 2,624-pound pumpkin, which broke the world record at the Giant Pumpkin European Championship in 2016. If the winning entry was unable to surpass the record, the owner would still receive a generous $7 per pound.

Prizewinning pumpkins on display at Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival (Photo Credit: Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival)

This year’s competition, which took place on October 9, attracted over 20 beautiful pumpkins from across the country. The owners, as well as thousands of spectators, watched with bated breath as the fruits were carefully picked up by forklifts and placed on the digital weighing scale. While nine of the entries came in at over 1,100 pounds each, they were no match for seven-time winner Joel Holland’s massive 2,363-pound masterpiece.

Though the retired firefighter from Sumner, WA did not break the world record, he did set a new American record with his giant gourd, which is also the second heaviest pumpkin ever grown! Holland was handsomely rewarded for his efforts, with Half Moon Bay’s coveted “Mel Mello Sr. Grand Champion Green Jacket” and a cash prize of $16,541 ($7 per pound).

Joe Holland poses next to his prize-winning pumpkin (Photo Credit Bradley Wittke, Miramar Events)

2016 champion Cindy Tobeck from Olympia, WA received $2,000 for her 2,002 pounder, while Jeff Uhimeyer of Tumwater, WA took home $1,500 for his 1,927 pound entry. The “Biggest Coastside Pumpkin” award went to Geroge Armanino of Pescadero, CA, while Art Martinez of Fremont, CA won the popular choice award for growing the most beautiful pumpkin. In addition to bragging rights, they each took home a cash prize of $500.

The four heaviest pumpkins have been retained for display at Half Moon Bay’s Art and Pumpkin Festival, taking place this weekend (October 14 to 15). If you are among the lucky ones able to see them, be sure to let us know what the colossal produce looks like up-close, by adding your comments below.

Resources: pumpkinfest.miramarevents.co

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VocabularyPlay Game

bated breathbraggingcolossaldevouringgargantuangenerousgourdhandsomelymassivemasterpiecepotentialretainedshowcasespectatorssurpass
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Reading Comprehension (13 questions)

  1. How do most people celebrate pumpkin month in the US?
  2. Where is the most popular pumpkin weigh-off contest held?
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Critical Thinking Challenge

Do you think the fact that all three winners are from Washington mean...

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Vocabulary in Context

If the winning entry was unable to surpass the record, the owner would still receive a generous $7 per pound.

In the above sentence, the word generous most likely means:

...

881 Comments
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  • ilovehermione22
    ilovehermione22Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 3:56 pm
    WOOOOOOOOOW
    • bruhh_itz_meh
      bruhh_itz_mehSunday, November 19, 2017 at 1:02 pm
      Wow 😳 that is massive And it weighs a lot 😲😀 speechless I am
      • the future Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 4:10 pm
        awsome
        • theThursday, November 16, 2017 at 4:09 pm
          that is amazing
          • anoumooseThursday, November 16, 2017 at 8:16 am
            that is one HUGE PUMPKIN
            • reece10
              reece10Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 8:10 am
              It is vary cool
              • djrhino44Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 5:31 pm
                What the... HUGE!!! :)
                • hhhh
                  hhhhWednesday, November 15, 2017 at 8:36 am
                  iPhone X is out.
                  • reece10
                    reece10Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 8:09 am
                    Yes
                  • legendarylegend
                    legendarylegendWednesday, November 15, 2017 at 6:13 am
                    so big, bigger than me x 21
                    • kzp
                      kzpTuesday, November 14, 2017 at 7:40 pm
                      cool

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