HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A pumpkin weighing in at 1,034 pounds has squashed the Kansas State Fair record by nearly 60 pounds.
Donovan Mader of Garden City grew the monster gourd in his abandoned horse pen from a seed he purchased on the Internet, the Wichita Eagle reported. The pumpkin was 57.8 pounds heavier than the one grown by Brian Stanley, which set the state record in 2007 at 976.2 pounds.
Long lines of gawkers have been viewing the pumpkin at the Kansas State Fair’s Pride of Kansas building. It’s Mader’s first ever entry in the giant pumpkin division, which has been previously dominated by pumpkin growing experts from Wichita and Liberal.
Mader has been trying for years to grow giant pumpkins at his home, he said, and the biggest one he had previously grown was only about 70 pounds.
This year, Mader went online looking for seeds, and bought four or five at $25 each. He started growing the pumpkins indoors in April, and then moved them outside in May.
Mader said he got some help from an unusually wet summer in western Kansas. He also received some growing tips from longtime pumpkin champ Doug Heathman of Liberal. But Mader, who restores classic trucks for a living, stresses that there’s “a lot of luck involved.”
Mader will collect $300 in prize money for the record-setting gourd, which he will pick up when the fair ends this weekend.
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