2001 Half Moon Bay
Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off
A new Half Moon Bay and West Coast USA Record - 1,016 pounds! Steve
Daletas of Pleasant Hill, Oregon, took top honors today at the 2001 Half
Moon Bay Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off with a whopping
1,016 pound Atlantic Giant, breaking the previous record at this
event of 991 pounds, set by
Jon Hunt of Elk Grove, California in 1999.
The field of 52 contestants 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 who's entries would prove lacking
enjoyed the camaraderie known only to those who grow these giants. Growing
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 three to four 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
Well into the competition the sky cleared to let the sun shine through
as David Pickering of Danville brought his 638 pound pumpkin to the scale
- the heaviest pumpkin at that point in the competition. The sun wasn't to
last as a scattered sprinkling of rain drops brought back memories of last
years' weigh-off, which was drenched with a heavy drizzle. Those from the
Half Moon Bay area expected the low coastal fog, which had prevented many of
the coast-side entries from achieving a deep orange color that comes only
from exposure to the sun.
Although hearty competitors, the pumpkin growers are very helpful to
other growers, readily passing out tips and offering to send seeds.
Pumpkin grower Shelly Cramer was overheard stating she rubbed her pumpkin with olive
oil the day before she left her Rochester, Washington home. She does this
because, "...it really brings out the color." She also says she
is going to do this every year. She hinted that this was done by several
of the contestants, not only on pumpkins but squash and zucchini.
As the weight of the entrants making their debut on stage increased, so
did the snapping of photos. The press were much better behaved this year compared to years
past, when they circled the giant pumpkins like ants on a picnic,
blocking public view for their own selfish needs. This year, they pretty much
behaved themselves, so congratulations to all the cameramen for allowing the
public to enjoy this event (except for Channel 5 - CBS - they still don't have
the courtesy of a monkey. Shame on you Channel 5).
By the time the four heaviest entries made it to the scale the sun
returned as if it had been waiting for the heavyweights to show and the
earlier sunshine was just its overanxious mistake. The final four were Kirk
Mombert (last year's winner), 936 lbs , Joel Holland,
966 lbs, Gary Miller, 984, and of course the
champion Steve Daletas, 1016 lbs.
Congratulations to Steve Daletas on his tremendous achievement. Steve
will be taking home over $5,000 in prize money. Way to go Steve!
Pleasant Hill, OR