Man breaks North America record with 2,560-pound gourd, wins 2nd Half Moon Bay pumpkin weigh-off

Travis Gienger from Minnesota also won the Half Moon Bay pumpkin contest in 2020

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Tuesday, October 11, 2022
2,560-pound gourd breaks record at Half Moon Bay pumpkin weigh-off
A Minnesota man breaks the North America record with his 2,560-pound gourd, winning the 2022 World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay.

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- It's "gourd big or go home!"

Travis Gienger out of Anoka, Minnesota has won the World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay with his pumpkin named 'Maverick,' coming in at 2,560 lbs.

Officials say is the largest pumpkin ever grown in North American history.

RELATED: 2,191-pound mega gourd wins World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay

GOOD GOURD! The World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off has returned to Half Moon Bay. This year, $30,000 will be awarded if a pumpkin breaks the world record of 2,350 pounds.

Since about 7 a.m. on Monday, Half Moon Bay's Main Street was lit up with excitement, with folks from across the Bay Area coming out to see what could be some record setting pumpkins.

Pumpkin by pumpkin, lifted by a fork-lift and weighed with each one, bigger than the last.

"Oh it's great, you never see anything like this right? Except in Half Moon Bay!" John Beresniewicz, a Half Moon Bay resident said.

"I always tell people back home, this is like the Super Bowl of pumpkins," said Tavis Gienger, who we spoke with before finding out the Minnesota pumpkin grower won this year's contest once again.

Gienger drove his massive pumpkin 35 hours from Anoka, Minnesota, the Halloween Capital of the World, to the Pumpkin Capital of the World.

"This size, I've been hitting it with fertilizer 14 times a day, watering quite a bit but I had a really big plant too, most people don't understand this was like a 2,000 square foot plant that was just a monster," he said.

Holding the 2020 Champion title for a pumpkin weighing in at 2,350 pounds, he's hoping lightning will strike twice (which we later found out, he did).

"They all said it was a once in a lifetime type thing and gosh, hopefully we can do it as a two in a lifetime type thing," he said.

For winning this Championship, Gienger will take home a prize of $9 per pound, adding up to $23,040!

Gienger also holds the 2020 champion title for a pumpkin that weighed in at 2,350 lbs.

This is only his second year competing.

Unfortunately, Gienger did not break the World Record which would have come with an additional $30,000 grand prize. That's still being held by Stefano Cutrupi with a pumpkin weighing in at 2,703 lbs at a 2021 weigh-off in Italy.

Gienger was up against some heavy competitors.

"It's estimating to be around 1,500 pounds," Cindy Tobeck, the 2016 Grand Champion said.

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Tobeck, the 2016 Champion out of Washington is back for more this year, after winning the Guinness World Record for being the world champion master gardener of all time for growing five different kinds of giant veggies, including a giant pumpkin.

"These take so much care, and they also take a lot of water, which I know is a challenge here in California," she said. "I've got my own well at home so unlimited, free water is to my advantage over the California growers."

The third grade teacher says she's watered 150 gallons per plant, per day.

But she says it's not the $30,000 prize money that keeps her coming back year after year, it's the people.

"The community of Half Moon Bay, their roots are in agriculture, and pumpkin growing specifically, they honor and love the pumpkin farmers and I just feel that love," Tobeck said.

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