Heaviest is best: Pumpkin sets record at California contest

Wisconsin State Farmer
Joel Holland throws his arms into the air after winning the 44th World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, CA., with his 2,363 pound pumpkin.

HALF MOON BAY, CA (AP) - As the sun rose warming the chilly coastal air, visitors and growers walked from truck to truck checking out this year’s crop of giant pumpkins. They range in weight from just a few hundred pounds to well over 2000 pounds.

For nearly three hours, in front of hundreds of spectators, the pumpkins were brought by forklift and placed on a scale set center stage. Last year’s winner, Cindy Tobeck road atop her entry, waving to the crowd as it was brought in. Her face lit up with pride and surprise as the scale read 2002 pounds, topping her winning entry last year of 1,910 pounds.

Cindy Tobek of Olympia, Wash., waves to the crowd as she stands on her 2002 pound pumpkin at the 44th World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off.

With suspense filling the air, the last pumpkin was hoisted onto the scale. It was grown by Joel Holland of Sumner, Washington. The quiet crowd waited for the weight to flash on to the screen. A roar went up as it lit up the scale at 2,363 pounds.

The heaviest pumpkin ever in the history of the competition, it was the seventh win for Holland, who walked away with the $7 per pound prize money. With the competition over for another year, some of crowd walked back to their cars parked along Main Street, but many stayed to have their photo taken with Joel and his great pumpkin.

Visitors check out a pumpkin on a trailer at the 44th World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, CA.