2007 Half Moon Bay
Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.