Oct 11, 2023
The name “Michael Jordan” appears frequently throughout the NBA’s record books. Now it’s reached new, rarified air: the top of the pumpkin charts.
A massive gourd, nicknamed “Michael Jordan,” just cinched this year's World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off. It came in at a whopping 2,749 pounds. It was grown by Minnesota horticulture teacher Travis Geinger. The huge pumpkin broke the old record for biggest gourd by 47 pounds. Naming the portly pumpkin for His Airness, who famously wore the number 23 for most of his career, seemed a logical choice.
“This pumpkin is called Michael Jordan because it’s the year ‘23, and he’s the greatest basketball player of all time,” Gienger told Minnesota’s KSTP-TV. “(It) started out basketball-round, and I said this is going to be a perfectly round basketball-shaped pumpkin.”
Geinger’s pumpkin is big enough to make at least 687 pies. It netted him a $30,000 prize, too. That's about double what it took to feed, water, and transport the gourd from Minnesota to California. The 43-year-old farmer has been growing pumpkins for 30 years. He’s won three of the last four world championships in Half Moon Bay. But he was still surprised this year’s pumpkin-of-prodigious-proportions broke the all-time record.
“I was not expecting that. It was quite the feeling,” Geinger told The Associated Press.
The hefty pumpkin that won second place was grown by Nick Kennedy of Sacramento. Kennedy echoed Geinger’s appreciation for the art of gargantuan gourd-growing.
"It has to be a labor of love," Kennedy told ABC-7 News. "Watching these things grow, this thing grew 66 lbs a day at its peak so it's like watching a balloon blow up in front of you basically."
Photo from Instagram courtesy of @hmbpumpkinfest.
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