Youth wins giant cabbage contest

Posted: Sunday, September 02, 2001

PALMER (AP) -- An 8-year-old third-grader is king of the cabbages this year at the Alaska State Fair.

Seth Dinkel's entry in the Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off was measured at 92.5 pounds, short of a record but half again Seth's own 60-pound weight.

Second place was won by Robert Thom's 71.4-pounder; third place went to Mary Evans, who entered a 70.4-pound cabbage.

Twenty-nine adults and children entered the open and junior levels of competition, which took place Friday. Seth was by far the youngest in the Open division. He won $2,000, which works out to about $21.62 a pound.

His entry wasn't even as big as the one he brought last year, a 94.4-pounder that took second place. Both times he entered in the Open division, rather than joining the other kids in the Max Sherrod Junior Cabbage Growers Competition.

''It wouldn't be fair. I'd win,'' said Seth, a third-generation monster cabbage grower.

His cabbage wasn't the prettiest one in the patch. It looked rumpled, and some of the leaves at the base were turning yellow. But looks aren't everything. Last year's winner, grown by Barbara Everingham, set a fair record at 105.6 pounds.

It ''looked like something Captain Kirk would empty his phaser into,'' recalled Mike Campbell, the official weigher.

Joe Dubler wasn't real pleased with his 48.4-pounder; it would have weighed a lot more if the slugs hadn't been at it. The cabbage was so riddled with holes it looked strafed. That's because Dubler fished a lot this summer.

''I had fun fishing,'' he said, ''but I've got an ugly cabbage now.''

The prettiest entry was the fourth-place winner, a 64.2-pounder grown by Scott Robb. It had a perfectly round, unblemished head and crisp and graceful leaves without a touch of wilt.

''It's not a fluke. You have to work at it,'' said Robb, who last year grew a world-record rutabaga that almost made it onto ''The David Letterman Show.'' This year, he has two other unofficial world record-holders at the fair: a 42.4-pound kale and a 43.7-pound kohlrabi.

''It's all genetic,'' Robb said. ''You've got to have the right seed.''

Seth isn't saying what kind of seed he uses. It's a Dinkel family secret. This year he had several huge cabbages, but ''I wasn't sure (I) could break 90 pounds.''

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