Current weather

  • Overcast, mist, light snow
  • 25°
    Overcast, mist, light snow
  • Comment

Effort would have been fifth state record for local grower

Giant endeavor

Posted: August 26, 2013 - 7:41pm  |  Updated: August 27, 2013 - 8:47am
Back | Next
Rigger operator Ryan K. Hall, left, guides a 1500-pound giant pumpkin into the bed of a waiting pickup truck Monday afternoon in the Halbouty area. The pumpkin, grown by state record holder J.D. Megchelsen, would have set a new state record but was found to have a disqualifying hole in the bottom.  Greg Skinner
Greg Skinner
Rigger operator Ryan K. Hall, left, guides a 1500-pound giant pumpkin into the bed of a waiting pickup truck Monday afternoon in the Halbouty area. The pumpkin, grown by state record holder J.D. Megchelsen, would have set a new state record but was found to have a disqualifying hole in the bottom.

The key to lifting a 1,500-pound pumpkin is in the rigging and planning; once you remove the roof, the 25-ton boom truck takes care of the rest with ease.

While lifting what he thought was sure to be a new state record, J.D. Megchelsen on Monday noticed that his 2013 season’s work had a thumb-sized hole in its underside. His face barely showed disappointment.

“It’s not going to count,” he said. “It’s a bummer, but it’s the rules.”

According to weigh-off rules, entries must be free of rot, holes and cracks that reach through to the cavity, chemical residues and serious soft spots. Had the hole not gone all the way into the cavity, his entry might have made it through to win. Rules are strict, he said.

Megchelsen is the current state record holder for giant pumpkin growing and his 1,287-pound effort from 2011 will likely stand through this year’s competition in Palmer at the Alaska State Fair.

“It’s just killing him,” said Pam Elkins, Megchelsen’s sister-in-law, as she watched the competitor deal with the failed attempt. “He eats, sleeps and dreams pumpkins. All he does is pumpkins.”

After beginning his pursuit of Brobdingnagian pumpkins in 2002, the Nikiski area resident set records in 2004 with a 700-pounder and again in 2005 with a 942-pound pumpkin. In 2006, he grew the first Alaska pumpkin to pass the 1,000-pound mark and then set the standing record in 2011 with a 1,287 pounder.

After a decade in the giant pumpkin growing game, Megchelsen said that only once before, two years ago, has he had a disqualifying hole or crack in one of his giants. That pumpkin was not as big as this year’s, though it might have surpassed it had it kept growing, he said.

This year’s pumpkin was probably growing “too fast” when it opened a hole in a “rib valley” on its bottom side, he said. During the height of its growth spurt in the warmest part of this summer, Megchelsen was feeding the giant up to 300 gallons of water each day.

Megchelsen believes that the hole opened during the first week of August when the fruit hit its peak growth spurt of 41 pounds in 24 hours, two days in a row.

Grown from seed stocks generated by the famous Wallace 1,789, named for its grower and weight, and pollinated by hand on June 5, the pumpkin was the size of a cherry tomato.

Monday, the thing barely fit into the bed of a full-sized pickup truck.

Though the scale on the crane said 1,500 pounds, he figures the state competition scale would have taken the final weight closer to 1,420 pounds.

Megchelsen still plans to take his pumpkin to Palmer for weigh-in day but said he’s not likely to leave it there on display. He’s not exactly sure of what will come of it, seeds may go at auction for a few hundred dollars.

 

Reach Greg Skinner at greg.skinner@peninsulaclarion.com.

  • Comment

Comments (5) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
aknativewoman
50
Points
aknativewoman 08/27/13 - 08:43 am
0
0
Still misspelling -

"Monday, the thing barley fit into the bed of a full-sized pickup truck."
This could have been prevented by a spell-checker in any word processing program, or just by someone taking the time to read what was typed! Unbelievable!

alsohasdrawn
3
Points
alsohasdrawn 08/28/13 - 03:52 am
1
0
Um...

"Barley" is a word. So no, a spell checker wouldn't flag it. Someone missed a typo is all. In the scheme of things, we've already spent too much time talking ab

kenairesident
68
Points
kenairesident 08/28/13 - 08:52 am
0
0
water

good thing he doesnt live in the Kenai city limits.. he would have been on a watering restriction this summer!

fluxsum
5
Points
fluxsum 08/29/13 - 11:45 am
0
0
John Barley Corn

Thanks "alsohasdrawn"
I, too, was thinking that word probably wouldn't catch a wrong, but legitimate, word. On the other hand, we're reading an article about the tragi-drama of a one inch hole in a 1,500 lb. pumpkin, so even though spelling and grammar patrol on the internet is typically a waste of time, perhaps we can afford it in this case.

Speaking of which, shouldn't:
"and pollinated by hand on June 5, the pumpkin was the size of a cherry tomato." have the comma after "hand" and before "on June 5" (as, presumably that is the date the pumpkin was cherry tomato sized, not when it was hand pollinated)?

Trifles aside, for me, this is a fine and interesting little article.
Yet "aknativewoman"'s general point, that authors and editors could be a little less insulting and produce more read-worthy material by spending a few extra microseconds proofreading (or pasting into word), remains a valid one.

fluxsum
5
Points
fluxsum 08/29/13 - 11:48 am
0
0
Back to Top

Spotted

Please Note: You may have disabled JavaScript and/or CSS. Although this news content will be accessible, certain functionality is unavailable.

Skip to News

« back

next »

  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321268/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321253/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321248/
  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321243/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321208/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/320593/
  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321173/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321163/
My Gallery

CONTACT US

  • 150 Trading Bay Rd, Kenai, AK 99611
  • Switchboard: 907-283-7551
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-283-3584
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Business Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-335-1257
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING

MORRIS ALASKA NEWS