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Thad Star

Pleasant Hill, OR

Thad Starr excited about his win

Thad Starr being interviewed by press

Thad's winning pumpkin

2007 Half Moon Bay
Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off

Photo of Thad Starr and his 1,524 lb pumpkin winning the Half Moon Bay Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off

1,524 lbs!

A new Half Moon Bay record was set at 11:35 this morning as Thad Starr's monster pumpkin tipped the scales at an amazing 1,524 lbs beating the previous Half Moon Bay record by 301 lbs.

Competitors lined up waiting to be weighed

Competition was extra stiff this year. Fifty-nine pumpkins grown in California, Oregon, and Washington vied to be crowned the heaviest. Many of the contestants were veteran pumpkin growers and competition winners including Joel Holland who won the Half Moon Bay Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off for the last three years and Pete Glasier of Napa, California who set the West Coast record at the Elk Grove Giant Pumpkin and Harvest Festival Weigh-Off on Saturday with his gargantuan 1,535.5 lb gourd.

It is no small achievement that Thad, who has only been growing giant pumpkins for 2 years, not only took top honors in this competition but fell less than 12 lbs shy of claiming a West Coast record of his own. Thad said he was overwhelmed and ecstatic about his win and credited his pumpkin's phenomenal size on a combination of water, mixed compost, and chicken manure. Thad went on to say that Steve Daletas, another Pleasant Hill, Oregon resident and master pumpkin grower, inspired him to compete telling him he had to have his kids up on that parade float in the Great Pumpkin Parade at least once.

For his win Thad Starr will receive a grand prize of $6 per pound, that's over $9,000 in prize money, not to mention the value of bragging rights in this most competitive of pastimes. Thad, his family, and his winning pumpkin will have a place of honor in the Great Pumpkin Parade riding a specially constructed float. Thad's pumpkin will then be on display at this weekend's Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival where visitors will be able to get their photo taken with this mammoth icon of Halloween.

Joel Holland looking concerned as Thad Starr's pumpkin is weighed

Defending three time champion and six time overall winner Joel Holland of Puyallup, Washington had a pumpkin that, depending on the viewing angle, looked like it was slightly bigger than Thad's. Measurements showed it to be the same in height as the winning pumpkin but 3 inches less in circumference. A difference resulting in 140 fewer pounds for a total of 1,384 lbs and a second place finish. Second place does have its rewards though. Joel will receive $2,000 in prize money.

Jim Sherwood and his 1,343 lb pumpkin

 Leonardo Urena and his 1,292 lb pumpkin

Excitement was high as pumpkins were brought out and the 2004 record of 1,229 lbs for the heaviest pumpkin at the Half Moon Bay competition was repeatedly smashed. Jim Sherwood of Mulino, Oregon and Leonardo Urena of Napa, California both easily surpassed the old record with Jim's 1,343 lb 3rd and Leonardo's 1,292 lb 4th place finishes earning them $1,500 and $1,000 respectively. Leonardo's pumpkin, a Half Moon Bay personal best, also took the prize for the heaviest pumpkin grown in California, which carries with it an additional $1,000 in prize money.

Steve Daletas of Pleasant Hill, Oregon and two time winner of this competition handily claimed a 5th place finish with his 1,203 lb pumpkin.

For the first time, in addition to the winner, all pumpkins placing in the top five will be on display at the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival and one of these giants will be carved by Farmer Mike, the "Picasso of Pumpkin Carvers". 

Pete Glasier, current West Coast record holder and 1994 winner of the Half Moon Bay competition was once again competing against wife and 1991 champion Cindi. Team Glasier managed to take 6th and 7th places with Pete's 1,158 lb pumpkin besting Cindi's 1,116 pounder.

Pam Vanderschoot of Napa, California pulled in at 8th place and a personal best with her 1,094 lb pumpkin, which I must say looked like it was a serious top three challenger but weighed light.

Amanda and Vince Zunino of Los Altos Hills, California, who are well known for growing some of the prettiest giant pumpkins in the Bay Area, weighed in 9th place with their 1,069 lb pumpkin.

Lee Hudson of Napa, California rounded out the top 10 with his 1,059 lb pumpkin.

Places 5th through 10th received $500 each in prize money.

John "Farmer John" Muller of Half Moon Bay, California has been personally competing to grow the heaviest pumpkin on the coastside with his wife Eda for the last few years. Eda has tightly held the title but this year it was all John with his 814 lb pumpkin weighing in 251 lbs above Eda's 563 pounder. Both of their pumpkins will be on display at Farmer John's Pumpkin Patch in Half Moon Bay through Halloween.

Eric Carlson's Most Beautiful Pumpkin

Paul Rys, Molly Vanderlip, and Eric Carlson were the three finalists among a wide field of gorgeous pumpkins in the Most Beautiful Pumpkin competition. In a very close call, that to many sounded like it could have been a three way tie, Eric Carlson of Portola Valley, California reigned supreme and his picture perfect bright orange pumpkin was crowned the Most Beautiful Pumpkin.

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. 33,178 lbs of pumpkins were entered by 59 competitors with an average weight of 562 lbs. Half were greater than 476 lbs. For the first time in Half Moon Bay Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off history all of the top 10 pumpkins weighed in well above the half ton mark.

The five largest pumpkins can be seen at the upcoming 2007 Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival on October 13 and 14, 2007, 9 am - 5 pm. The largest will ride a specially constructed float during the opening parade and then will be put on display with the four runners-up for people to have their pictures taken with.


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