An American teacher from Minnesota has set a record for growing the world’s heaviest pumpkin, which weighed 1,247 kilograms.
Travis Gienger was named the winner Monday of the 50th World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, California.
The 43-year-old won the same contest in 2022. His winning pumpkin last year weighed 1,161 kilograms. Still, Gienger told The Associated Press he was surprised to win the world record. “I was not expecting that,” he said. “It was quite the feeling.”
Gienger is a teacher at Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minnesota. He teaches agriculture and growing methods and has been producing pumpkins for nearly 30 years. Gienger says his father also raised pumpkins and this got him interested.
The past world record for the heaviest pumpkin was set by a grower in Italy who produced a 1,226-kilogram gourd in 2021, the Guinness World Records organization reports.
Gienger – who grows the pumpkins on his home property – said this year he decided to give his plants extra care. This included watering them up to 12 times a day and feeding them food, or fertilizer, a little more than usual.
Gienger first competed in Half Moon Bay's yearly contest in 2020. He has won three of the city's last four pumpkin contests. “I put in the work so that I can put a smile on people's faces and it’s just so nice coming out here to see everyone in this town," Gienger said.
The pumpkin champion won a $30,000 prize for growing the biggest pumpkin and setting a world record.
Gienger’s pumpkin will be shown along with the runner-up winners at the city’s upcoming Art and Pumpkin Festival. At the event, visitors will be able to look at the pumpkin prizes and take pictures with the growers.
In the United States, pumpkins are popular throughout the autumn.
During the U.S. holiday Halloween – on October 31 – many people decorate the orange gourds and turn them into “jack-o’-lanterns.” A jack-o’-lantern is a pumpkin that has been carved, usually to show a frightening or funny face.
Pumpkins are also a seasonal favorite for Americans to make pumpkin pie. This dessert food is traditionally eaten on Thanksgiving Day, which this year falls on November 23.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
The Associated Press reported this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for Learning English.
Words in This Story
gourd – n. a large fruit with a hard shell
decorate – v. to add something to an object or place, especially to make it more inviting
carve – v. to make something by cutting into something
dessert – n. a sweet food usually eaten at the end of a meal