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How big will this year’s biggest pumpkin be? Last year’s winning pumpkin in Torrington contest weighed more than 600 pounds

October 5, 2018

TORRINGTON, Wyo. — Giant pumpkins and their growers will compete for size at the third annual Goshen County Giant Pumpkin Contest on Oct. 6.

Caleb Carter, a Goshen County Extension educator, said the contest was started by the county’s master gardeners. It was based on a similar contest in Worland, and former contests held in the county in the past. The pumpkins are judged on weight and have to be carried by a tractor to the scale.

At the professional level, the pumpkins easily grow to be over a ton: the current Guinness world record pumpkin, grown in Belgium, weighed in at 2,624 pounds in 2016. The winning pumpkins in Goshen County in the past two years have weighed a mere 981 pounds in 2016 and a skinny 645 pounds in 2017.

“We have some pretty big pumpkins,” Carter said.

The contest is open to any comers.

“Our rules say that anybody in the world who wants to come can come,” he said.

Because the contest is not tied to any national associations, gardeners are free to compete without disqualifying for other certified contests.

The secret, Carter said, to growing a giant pumpkin comes down primarily to genetics.

“You have to start with a seed that has the capacity to grow a pumpkin that big,” he said.

Gardeners will spend $50 per seed to grow half-ton pumpkins. The pumpkins require daily watering and fertilizing on a regular basis, and about 100 square feet per 100 pounds of pumpkin.

“Some of it’s luck,” Carter said. “You need to avoid any hail storms or diseases or things like that.”

Due to the cold spring this year, Carter guessed that most of the big pumpkins at this year’s contest will be around 600 pounds.

This year’s contest will be at the Goshen County Fairgrounds in conjunction with Yee Haw Daze. Carter said the master gardeners hope the change in venue will help them avoid inclement weather.

“Last year, it was a beautiful day but it was really windy,” he said. “Plus, being down there at the fairgrounds during Yee Haw Daze, there’ll be a lot of people wandering around there. We’re excited.”

Check-in is at 11 a.m. and the weigh-in starts at noon.

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