Champion pumpkin fails to squash world record, but still is plenty plump

Story highlights

  • This year's champion pumpkin at Half Moon Bay, California, comes in at 1,704 pounds
  • That's a bit more than 100 pounds below the world record, set by a pumpkin in Wisconsin
Although the champion of the Half Moon Bay, California, pumpkin weigh-in didn't break the world record Monday, as officials hoped, it was big enough to smash the state record and help the event keep its reputation as the Super Bowl of weigh-offs.
The winning pumpkin, at 1,704 pounds, was grown by Leonardo Urena from Napa, a part of the state better known for fruits of other vines.
Urena won $11,224 for his entry. The oversized gourd and the runners-up will be on display through the weekend at the 41st Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival.
Weigh-in sponsor Safeway had offered a $5,000 bonus to any grower breaking the world record -- currently 1,810.5 pounds, held by Chris Stevens of New Richmond, Wisconsin. Last year's winner at Half Moon Bay weighed in at 1,535 pounds.
With gourds of such immensity, growers "have to basically harness the pumpkin in the pumpkin patch and lift it up either using a fork lift or a small crane," said event spokesman Tim Beeman. They then have to cushion the orange giants with foam to keep them from splitting.
The Half Moon Bay event is one of more than 70 weigh-offs around the world sanctioned by Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, the major body sanctioning such competitions.