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Giant pumpkin sets Wyoming state record in Fort Collins

Tim+Hanauers+giant+pumpkin+is+hauled+off+the+trailer+and+onto+the+judging+grounds+with+help+from+Tyler+Eversaul+and+a+forklift+at+the+Fort+Collins+Nurserys+Giant+Pumpkin+Weigh-Off+Oct.+14.
Collegian | Lauren Mascardo
Tim Hanauer’s giant pumpkin is hauled off the trailer and onto the judging grounds with help from Tyler Eversaul and a forklift at the Fort Collins Nursery’s Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off Oct. 14.

When someone plants a seed, it’s unlikely to grow upward of 40 pounds a day, but Andy and Amy Corbin have worked hard to achieve a new Wyoming state pumpkin weight record. This 2,062-pound fruit was on display and competed in the Fort Collins Nursery’s Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off and Fall Jamboree Oct. 14.

This year is the 15th annual weigh-off, with a history starting as a small way of bringing a community of growers to the nursery. Since then they have partnered with the Rocky Mountain Giant Vegetable Growers Club in order to provide a highly competitive environment. This year’s grand prize was $3,000 for the heaviest pumpkin. 

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Giant pumpkins are no light labor. The Corbins spent all summer tending to their pumpkins in order to ensure there was nothing slowing their growth — or worse, damaging the pumpkin. But this intensity creates a sense of community and respect between growers who are willing to take on the challenge.

“We’re a small but tight-knit community,” Andy Corbin said.

Jesse Eastman, the president of the Fort Collins Nursery, said this year is a new record for not only Wyoming, but it is also the largest pumpkin ever seen at the event over the duration of the competition. His goals align with building and progressing the community of giant vegetables.

“Events like this are really pivotal in sort of providing an opportunity for the community to come together,” Eastman said.

Before this year, the Corbins held the Wyoming pumpkin weight record but increased it by over 200 pounds this past competition. Many Wyoming growers attend the Fort Collins weigh-off despite being in a different state. One of their major pulls to the event is the cash prizes for the 10 heaviest pumpkins.

Andy Corbin said he finds the most pride in seeing the growth of his own pumpkins and abilities. He started at the age of 11 and has been passionate about growing ever since. These giant pumpkins can grow up to 40 pounds or more per day at the peak of their growth, thus producing astounding results.

“You just don’t expect to see some fruit like a pumpkin grow that quick,” Andy Corbin said.

The event did not exclusively showcase pumpkins, however. The competition featured weigh-offs for watermelons, sunflowers, squashes, gourds and tomatoes. This wide assortment of plants brings growers and their community together.

The winning pumpkin will be on display at the Pumpkins on Parade Halloween celebration Oct. 19-22. Afterward, the pumpkin will be utilized in feeding animals and composted accordingly. However, some of the other pumpkins will be turned into giant jack-o’-lanterns if the grower sees fit.

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Giant pumpkin growing is not an activity for those who are not ready for the commitment. Many growers refer to their pumpkins as a part of the family due to the intense labor. But for those who are willing to take on the challenge, the Fort Collins Nursery has a brief guide on how to get started.

Reach Adam Carlson at life@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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