(FOX 9) - An Anoka, Minnesota man has some big time bragging rights after his massive pumpkin was crowned champion in the “Super Bowl” of pumpkin weigh-offs out in California.
Over the summer, Travis Gienger spent hundreds of hours out in his small garden, carefully tending to his pumpkin patch.
“I bought this one little seed for $80, and I thought it was good. It grew my big one last year, which was right around 1,800 pounds, and I thought, ‘Wow, there’s got to be another good one in there,’ and it was,” he said.
Gienger has been growing pumpkins as a hobby since he was a teenager but knew there was something different this year.
“It grew about 1,000 pounds in 20 days," said Gienger.
Gienger, a horticulture teacher at Anoka Technical College, decided to enter it into what he calls the "Super Bowl” of all pumpkin growing contests in Half Moon Bay, California.
“I had a crew of about 10 people at 5 a.m. on Saturday picking this thing,” he said.
Four of them packed up the pumpkin – nicknamed “Tiger King” - and headed west for the 35-hour drive.
“We took a lot of precautions. We made a special pallet with air ride discs on it, we also threw dirt in the back to stabilize the load, put it in wet blankets, watered it at every stop.”
The trip paid off. Travis’ pumpkin weighed in at an impressive 2,350 pounds, putting it in the top spot during Monday’s contest.
“I kinda figured it would go over 23, but man when I saw 2,350, I was ecstatic,” he said.
Travis will be bringing that prized pumpkin right back to Minnesota to be featured in the Anoka Halloween parade on full display for the 100th anniversary.
“It was just a huge relief because I had accomplished what I wanted to do and what I set out to do, which, hey it’s the biggest pumpkin in North America right now.”