By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
On Saturday, Worland residents gathered for a momentous event: the weighing and smashing of giant pumpkins in the town’s annual Wyoming Champion Giant Pumpkin Weigh-In and Pumpkin Drop.
In a 3-minute video, the viewer can get a bird’s eye view of a 170-foot crane used to hoist massive pumpkins high in the air on Saturday afternoon and then drop them to the ground.
Co-organizer Jay Richard told Cowboy State Daily that the pumpkins dropped ranged in size from a little more than 500 pounds to 930 pounds.
Volunteers signed up to have the honor of dropping the pumpkins from 170 feet to the ground, aiming at a giant inflated ball painted to resemble a coronavirus germ.
“You can’t quite see it in the video, but the ball we were dropping it on was supposed to be a coronavirus germ,” Richard said, laughing. “It said ‘Made in China’ and had some other things spray painted on it, but it’s a big coronavirus germ.”
Richard managed to nab the title of having the largest pumpkins, which were not among those that were dropped. His two largest pumpkins weighed in at 1,225 and 1,238 pounds, respectively.
After the pumpkins are dropped, many audience members take the pieces home to give to their animals or even to cook.
The pumpkins are grown from Atlantic giant pumpkin seeds and Richard said they are perfectly fine to eat, even though they might be relatively flavorless.
“I once had someone bring me a cake after the pumpkin drop and it was really good,” Richard said. “I’ll have people call me to ask what we do with the pumpkins after we drop them. We just get out of the way after they fall. People were still loading some of the pieces up when we left on Saturday.”
Richard added that he regularly gives the giant pumpkin seeds away and said there isn’t a trick to growing them. However, he pointed out anyone interested should have good gardening practices and a significant amount of room in their yard to dedicate to the giant squash.
“You have to have good seeds, good soil and good weather and maybe just a little good luck,” he said. “I grow three per year, two for showing and one for dropping.”
Richard’s gardening journey can be followed on Facebook here.