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2002 Half Moon Bay
Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off

Kirk Mombert wins the 2002 Half Moon Bay Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off with a monster 1,173 lb pumpkin.

1,173 lbs!

We were all very excited last year as Steve Deletas of Pleasant Hill set a new Half Moon Bay and West Coast USA record with a 1,016 pound Atlantic Giant, but records are meant to be broken and Kirk Mombert of Harrisburg Oregon smashed it by 157 pounds with a 1,173 pound giant. The king is dead, long live the king.

The field of 51 growers entered a grand total of 25,880 pounds of pumpkin this year with an average weight of 507 pounds. They began assembling before dawn for the weigh-off. The overcast sky didn't dampen their mood, though seeing the competition did worry some. Even those whose entries would prove lacking enjoyed the camaraderie known only to those who grow these giants. Growing tips were shared and pictures snapped of the giant pumpkins, which spell bounded both children and adults.

The pumpkins were driven to the event in the beds of heavy-duty pick-up trucks, coming from as far away as Washington and as close as a few blocks.  They were then hauled, lifted by forklift, and driven to the stage, where up to seven burly men tugged, pulled and prayed the pumpkins onto a scale on the stage at the I.D.E.S. grounds on Main Street in Half Moon Bay.  One after another they were weighed and photographed.  A good portion of the entrants enter the event every year, and today was a day for them to see friends they only see this time of year.  

Competition organizers try to weigh the pumpkins in order of what they expect the weights will be. This can be tricky though as pumpkins can loose a great deal of moisture after harvesting while still remaining the same size. An example of how tricky sizing up a pumpkin can be came in the final quarter when James Martin of Hayward California's Atlantic Giant was brought to the scale. James' pumpkin was 3'4" tall and had a circumference of 12'2" and weighed a whopping 877 pounds. Next to the scale was Scott Solomon of San Jose. While his pumpkin was the same height and only 5 inches smaller in diameter it weighed in at only 621 pounds. The trend continued with Tom Borchard of Salinas' entry. His pumpkin was a full 13 inches taller and four inches bigger around than James' but weighed in at 644. This left the crowd thinking they may have already seen the winner and many a volunteer was scratching their head over the weights.

Thankfully, for those of us who truly appreciate giant pumpkins the downward trend wasn't to continue. The final seven entries were true giants with the lightest tipping the scales at 826 pounds. The last seven included, in order weighed: Tony Zunino of Los Altos Hills with his 826 pound pumpkin; Brett Hester of Canby Oregon, 906; Jack Larue of Tenino, Washington, 1,064; Lisa Hester of Canby, Oregon, 1,027; Greg Stucker of Napa, 963; Kirk Mombert of Harrisburg, Oregon, 1,173; and Pete Glasier of Napa, 1,096.

When Kirk's pumpkin was weighed a cheer rang out from the crowd, spectators, growers, and media alike. The excitement was almost electric as we realized a new record had been set.

This year's competition not only set both the Half Moon Bay and West Coast USA records for heaviest pumpkin but created a new Half Moon Bay record for the most entries over 1,000 pounds. A record we would like to see broken every year.  

Kirk, who last won this competition in 2000 with an almost modest, in light of this years' record, 940 pound pumpkin attributed his phenomenal success to a combination of 846 Cal A seed and copious amounts of chicken and cow manure. He went on to say that the pumpkin was put in the ground on May 1st and hand pollinated on July 4th. It's interesting to note that the birthday of our great nation was also conception day of this noble monster.

Once again, congratulations to all of this year's entrants and a hearty well done to Kirk Mombert for growing an almost scary large pumpkin.

Kirk's pumpkin can be seen at the upcoming Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin festival where it will ride a specially constructed float and be put on display for people to have their pictures taken with it.






Kirk Mombert

Harrisburg, OR

Kirk Mombert with his winning 1,172lb pumpkin

Kirk Mombert with his winning 1,172lb pumpkin

Kirk Mombert with his winning 1,172lb pumpkin

Kirk Mombert faces throngs of media after winning the 2002 Half Moon Bay Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off

Kirk's winning 1,172lb pumpkin in all its glory

Kirk Mombert with his winning 1,172lb pumpkin

Volunteers struggle to move Kirk's monster pumpkin.



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