Giant Pumpkin Ineligible for Alaskan FairBy: Emily Greene - August 28, 2013
This year, 2013, was going to be the year J.D. Megchelsen broke his own 2011 record for giant pumpkins in Alaska, but it seems he’ll have to wait until next year to create a new record.
Megchelsen had himself a pumpkin that weighed over 1,400 pounds, but when the 25-pound boom truck was lifting the pumpkin, he noticed a thumb-sized hole on the underside of the pumpkin. This hole makes the pumpkin ineligible for competition at the state fair in Palmer, Alaska.
Rules for the competition require entries to be free of chemical residues, rot, and serious soft spots. They can also not have holes or cracks that reach through to the cavity. If the hole hadn’t reached the cavity, his pumpkin might have been able to compete. Megchelsen told the Peninsula Clarion, “It’s not going to count. It’s a bummer, but it’s the rules.”
Pumpkins and breaking records have been a part of Megchelsen’s life since 2002, when he first started growing Brobdingnagian pumpkins. His first record-breaking pumpkin came in 2004 for a 700-pound pumpkin. He continued to break his own records in 2005 and 2006, with a 942-pound pumpkin and then one weighing over 1.000 pounds. His 1,000-plus pound pumpkin in 2006 wasn’t just a new record for Megchelsen, it also became the first Alaskan pumpkin to surpass 1,000 pounds. Megchelsen’s pumpkin from 2011 holds the current record at 1,287 pounds.
Pam Elkins, Megchelsen’s sister-in-law said, “It’s just killing him. He eats, sleeps and dreams pumpkins. All he does is pumpkins.”
The scale on the boom truck had this year’s pumpkin weighing 1,500 pounds, but Megchelsen believes the state fair scale would have it weighing in around 1,420 pounds.
Only once before has Megchelsen had a pumpkin with a disqualifying crack or hole.
The Nikiski area resident said the hole in this year’s competitor was probably a result of growing too fast. At one point during the hot summer, Megchelsen was feeding the giant pumpkin 300 gallons of water a day. He believes the hole happened during it’s peak growth in early August, when the pumpkin grew 41 pounds in 24 hours, two days in a row. On June 5, the pumpkin was only the size of a cherry tomato.
The pumpkin will still be weighed-in at the state fair, but Megchelsen doesn’t think he’ll leave it on display.
Here’s hoping Megchelsen will have a chance to break his own record again next year.