A Minnesota horticulture instructor made headlines on Monday after setting a world record for growing the heaviest pumpkin, the AP reported.
Travis Gienger, 43, from Anoka, Minnesota, claimed victory at the 50th World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, California, with a colossal gourd, which he named “Michael Jordan,” tipping the scales at 2,749 pounds.
Gienger has been growing pumpkins for nearly three decades and set his first U.S. record for growing a mammoth gourd last year. Still, he expressed delightful surprise at his winning this year.
“I was not expecting that,” he told the AP. “It was quite the feeling.”
Travis Gienger’s giant pumpkin being lifted at the Safeway 50th annual World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off on October 9, 2023. Liu Guanguan/China News Service/VCG | Getty Images.
Gienger, a landscape and horticulture instructor at Anoka Technical College, tends to his pumpkin patch in his backyard in Minnesota. However, this year, he decided to provide his plants with extra care, including frequent watering (up to 12 times a day) and more generous feeding and fertilization than in years past, he told the outlet.
Gienger’s hard work paid off — he took home a $30,000 prize for growing the largest (by weight) pumpkin and setting a world record. The colossal pumpkin will remain on exhibit through next weekend in Half Moon Bay, alongside the three runners-up.
In second place, Ron Root and Nick Kennedy of Citrus Heights, CA came in with a 2,497-pound pumpkin, securing a $3,000 prize, according to the festival’s website. Third place was claimed by Leonardo Urena of Napa, CA, whose 1,893-pound pumpkin earned him $2,500, and fourth was Ruben Frias of American Canyon, CA, with a 1,863-pound pumpkin and $2,000 prize.
Travis Gienger poses with his winning 2,749-pound pumpkin. Liu Guanguan/China News Service/VCG | Getty Images.