Nebraskan Aims for World Record Paddling Pumpkin Boat

Aug 31, 2022

Cinderella doesn’t know jack: A pumpkin doesn’t require magic to become a mode of transportation. A Nebraska man proved it by turning a scooped-out, 846-pound pumpkin into a boat. He paddled it 38 miles down the Missouri River.

No, Duane Hansen was not out of his gourd, nor was he seeking a hollow victory. He aimed to smash the world record for pumpkin-boating (yes, there is one). Hansen thinks he succeeded. The Guinness World Records, though, will need to confirm that. According to Guinness, current title-holder Rick Swenson floated a mere 25 miles in his pumpkin boat in 2016.

Hansen undertook his 11-hour journey on Saturday. It was his 60th birthday. He endured rain, cold currents, and near-scrapes on a sandbar with his very sinkable watercraft, named “Berta.” Hansen brought a cooler and used a kayak paddle. He traveled from Bellevue, Nebraska, to Nebraska City.

Local officials and family members documented the voyage for Guinness. 

Hansen had tried to grow a pumpkin as big as Berta for more than a decade. With the right amount of rain and sun, pumpkins can get as big as 2,000 pounds. The biggest, according to Guinness, was a 2,702-pound monster. It was harvested in Chianti, Italy, nearly a year ago.

Hansen may have preferred that one and its extra leg room.

“I went 38 miles down the river without standing up in that pumpkin and my knees still hurt,” Hansen told Reuters. “I probably won’t try this again. If somebody breaks this record, I will bow down to them because they are tough.”

Photo from Reuters.

What does the phrase “out of his gourd” mean as used in the second paragraph of the story? (Common Core RI.5.4; RI.6.4)
a. to get out
b. to be out of one's mind
c. to break a record
d. to feel sick
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