Anoka man hoping to break pumpkin world record

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Travis Gienger has been growing a pumpkin for more than 200 days in Anoka, hoping to take home the largest pumpkin title with the Guinness Book of World Records.

Gienger has been growing large pumpkins as a hobby for the last 28 years.

“I started way back in the day. My relatives all gardened, and my Dad would grow Big Mac pumpkins which were pretty decent in size. I just kind of caught on to it,” Gienger said.

The pumpkin he is growing this year was started from the seed of last year’s world record pumpkin, he said, so he’s hoping the seed genes will help his luck.

Gienger is happy his pumpkin made it this far after he said he accidentally dropped a five-gallon bucket of dirt on the gourd when it was only five days old which left scars.

The young pumpkin after Gienger dropped a five-pound bucket of dirt on it when it was five days old. (Travis Gienger)

If he succeeds, this would be his second world record. Gienger currently holds the world record for the largest Jack-o-Lantern ever carved. He set that in 2020 with a pumpkin that weighed 2,350 pounds. That same year he also set a North American record for the size of his pumpkin.

The current world record pumpkin weighed in at 2,702 pounds. Gienger will be making a two-day journey soon to Harvest Moon Bay, Calif., for the Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weight-Off to go up against other huge pumpkins from around the world.

He described it as the Super Bowl of pumpkins.

If it does break the record there, he will be rewarded $30,000 in addition to the world record title. If he does not break the world record, but places first, the event will pay $9 a pound for the pumpkin.

While making the two-day trip to California, the pumpkin will be treated with special care: wrapped in wet blankets and Saran Wrap for the ride.

The event is happening on Oct. 10, and the pumpkin weigh-off will be livestreamed on Facebook.