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Joel Holland

Puyallup, WA

Joel Holland high-fives spectators

Close-up of Joel Holland's winning pumpkin

Joel Holland's winning pumpkin

2006 Half Moon Bay
Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off

Joel Holland Wins Again

1,223 lbs!

The man to beat in this year's Half Moon Bay Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off was Joel Holland of Puyallup, Washington who won the 2004 and 2005 competitions with, now get this, two separate pumpkins weighing exactly 1,229 lbs.

As the photo above shows the man to beat was not to be beaten. For the third straight year Joel Holland pulled another handy win with his 1,223 pound pumpkin falling just six pounds short of what would have been a most bizarre hat trick, three wins with pumpkins of the same weight.

For his win Joel Holland will receive a grand prize of $5 per pound, that's over $6,000 in prize money, not to mention the value of bragging rights in this most competitive of pastimes. Joel's pumpkin will also be on display at this weekend's Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival.

Unfortunately no new records were set this year but it doesn't bother Joel too much as his 2004 pumpkin set the Half Moon Bay record for heaviest pumpkin at 1,229 lbs and his 2005 pumpkin tied it. All told Joel has won this competition five times and tied for first once. Joel credits his winning pumpkins to an early greenhouse start and plenty of fish emulsion but rumors were spreading that he had spliced pumpkin genes with good ol' Washington state Sasquatch DNA that he had isolated from hair samples found in the woods near his home.

Joel's pumpkin didn't appear to be a clear winner though with other pumpkins appearing physically larger proving yet again, at least in the world of pumpkins, size doesn't matter. Amanda Zunino of Los Altos Hills, California grew a pumpkin that looked sure to beat Joel's but weighed in shy at a massive 1,191 lbs, almost 40 lbs shy of first but more than enough to claim second place and the prize for the heaviest pumpkin grown in California and $3,000 in prize money.

Cindi Glasier of Napa, California and Sherry LaRue of Tenino, Washington also both looked like they could potentially best Joel but their pumpkins pulled up light to the scale resulting in third and fourth place finishes with weights of 1,147 lbs and 1,116 lbs and prizes of $1,500 and $1,000, respectively.

Rounding out the top ten were James Martin of Hayward, California with a 1,092 lbs pumpkin for fifth place; Jim Sherwood of Mulino, Oregon with a 1,073 lbs pumpkin for sixth place; Gary Miller of Napa, California with a 1,008 lbs pumpkin for seventh place; Neil Leland of Canby, Oregon with a 963 lbs pumpkin for eighth place; Scott Solomon of San Jose with a 955 lbs pumpkin for ninth place; and Jeff Johnson of Castroville, California with his 897 lbs pumpkin for tenth place. Each competitor finishing in places 5th through 10th received $500.


Honors for Most Beautiful Pumpkin and a $500 cash prize went to Tony Zunino of Los Altos Hills, California for a very pretty, yet almost petit by competition standards, 452 lb specimen of pumpkin-hood. If there were a special prize for most clever pumpkins that would surely go to John "Farmer John" Muller for his "Pair o' Dice" pumpkins. Farmer John won last year's Prettiest Pumpkin with his first cube shaped pumpkin and the first cube shaped pumpkin ever entered in this competition.

In continuing friendly competition Edith Muller, wife of Farmer John, bested her husband for the second year in a row, this time by 34 lbs with her 679 lb pumpkin to wrestle away the titles of heaviest pumpkin grown in the Coastside region and the heaviest grown in San Mateo County. John Muller wasn't feeling too bad about it as his 645 lb pumpkin was good enough for second heaviest grown in San Mateo County earning him a $500 prize. All four of the Muller's wonderful pumpkins will be on display at Farmer John's Pumpkin Farm on Highway 1 in Half Moon Bay through Halloween.

Jerome Valladao of Half Moon Bay, California rounded out the San Mateo County winners with a third place 478 lb pumpkin and $200 in prize money.

Congratulations must be given to all of this year's entrants. There were many fine pumpkins and every single pumpkin was a worthy gardening and artistic achievement. 27,785 lbs of pumpkins were entered by 50 competitors with an average weight of 556 lbs. Half were greater than 495 lbs. These are large pumpkins by any standard.

Joel Holland's winning pumpkin can be seen at the upcoming 2006 Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival on October 14 and 15, where it will ride a specially constructed float during the opening parade and then will be put on display for people to have their pictures taken with.


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