Travis Gienger won the annual contest for the third time with his gourd weighing-in at 2,749 pounds, breaking a world record
HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- A Minnesota man won his third Half Moon Bay pumpkin weigh-off and $30,000 in prize money, officials said on Monday.
Travis Gienger squashed the competition at the 50th annual World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-off in Half Moon Bay, California with his pumpkin weighing-in at 2,749 pounds, breaking a world record.
Gienger previously won in 2022 and in 2020.
Last year's pumpkin weighed 2,560 pounds, and his 2020 pumpkin weighed-in at 2,350 pounds.
Earlier in the day, Volkswagen-sized pumpkins went on display at the self-proclaimed pumpkin capital of the world at the annual contest.
"We picked it on Friday and it's estimating around 2,300 lbs," Ron Root, the 2010 pumpkin weigh-off champion said.
Growers of all ages from across the U.S. were in Half Moon Bay, hoping to take home the world title.
They competed for not only bragging rights, but a ginormous payout too, at $9/lb.
"It has to be a labor of love, I always said this though, if there was no prize money involved, I never made a dime back, I would still do it, it's so much fun, today is so special," Nick Kennedy, a pumpkin grower out of the Sacramento, California area said. "Watching these things grow, this thing grew 66 lbs a day at its peak so it's like watching a balloon blow up in front of you basically."
For Kennedy, it's a family affair.
"My son's also here today, he grew a beautiful orange pumpkin, it very much feels like a family," he said. "You see these people a couple times year and just feels like a bonding experience."
Backstage on Johnson Street, community members in disbelief, got to see and touch the pumpkins for themselves.
"This is the most exciting part, going down Johnson Street because the stage is kind of far away so you really can't see them but it's great to see all of the efforts and talk to the farmers," Barbara Correia, a Half Moon Bay resident said.
Organizers say because of the size of pumpkin being brought in by last year's winner, Travis Gienger all the way from Minnesota, they were required to buy a new industrial scale.
The new one, can hold up to five tons!
"I said, this thing's not going to weigh on a 4' by 4' scale, I said it needs something bigger," Gienger said. "I mean the thing's 7'5" long by 6'7" so it's pretty big but yeah they had to buy a new scale for it."
As for Gienger, he hoped to take care of some unfinished business.
He shattered the North American record last year and got his eyes on breaking the world record, which came with a $30,000 prize.
At one point, it was held by a man in Italy at 2,703 lbs.
"This thing's been surprising, this thing is named Michael Jordan because it's 23 and the greatest basketball player of all time so only thing we gotta figure out is if it's the greatest pumpkin of all time," he said.
The weigh-off kicks off the famous Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival happening on October 14 and 15.
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