Record-breaking pumpkin wins weigh-off

October 12, 2009 7:24:36 PM PDT
A 1,658-pound pumpkin from Des Moines, Iowa, took first place at the World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay this morning in what its grower called "a big victory."

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It is the Super Bowl of pumpkin competition. The big bruisers go head-to-head and one from Iowa topped them all.

Don Young's pumpkin strained the scale at 1,658 pounds, setting new Half Moon Bay and state records. There's a lot of science behind growing these pumpkins

"I need to know what I've got, where I got in the soil, tissue, plant. It's getting really technical," said Young.

He picked up the top prize of nearly $10,000. Leonardo Urena of Napa came in second at 1,470 pounds.

Half Moon Bay's mayor farmer John Muller had the county's second best at 1,187 pounds. But he was bested by his wife's 1,200 pounder.

"We don't want him to get chilled at night because the air here gets a little cooler. Lolo's getting up there a bit," said Muller.

Overgrown squash gain 25-30 pounds a day and the vines grow two feet a day. He says the key is seed, location, skill, weather and luck.

There is a secret location where the giant pumpkins are grown. But don't try to get in here because the wire fence is electric.

The winning pumpkins will be on display through next weekend's Pumpkin Festival.

Pumpkin power here is about business and you can even be philosophical about pumpkins.

"We tell them they're like people. We come in many different colors sizes and shapes. But when we open up inside, we're all the same," said Muller.

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