By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Worland resident Jay Richard’s giant pumpkin “Maci” is nearing the 1,500-pound mark after putting on nearly 200 pounds since he spoke with Cowboy State Daily a week ago.
Richard told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday that his largest pumpkin currently weighs 1,468 pounds, just 23 pounds lighter than the pumpkin currently holding the record as Wyoming’s largest, which was grown by a Cheyenne man and weighed in at 1,491 pounds.
“It’s holding steady at gaining 13 pounds per day,” Richard said. “The vine is a mess but is holding up so far.”
This is the vine attaching the top of the pumpkin to the ground, not unlike a (giant) baby’s umbilical cord.
This growth has slowed somewhat, with last week’s growth averaging around 25 pounds per day.
“The other two, Patty and Sally, are measuring over 1,000 pounds but have slowed quite a bit,” Richard said.
Richard found a soft spot near the vine late last week, which could have spelled disaster and the end of his giant gourd, but with some quick thinking, he managed to clean and treat the slimy spot and will keep a fan running on it 24 hours a day until the end of the month.
The official weigh-off to name a new champion pumpkin will take place in Worland on Oct. 2, and Richard’s goal is to win the title for the heaviest pumpkin in the state. But, he has to keep Maci on the vine until at least the end of the month in order for it to be as big as possible.
Following the weigh-in, there will be a giant pumpkin drop. Last year, the pumpkins were aimed at a large inflatable ball painted to look like a coronavirus germ.
People are take pieces of the shattered pumpkins after the drop. The giant pumpkins are perfectly fine to eat, although Richard previously told Cowboy State Daily they might be relatively flavorless.
For the last few years, Richard has been growing pumpkins from Atlantic giant pumpkin seeds, which can produce pumpkins ranging in size from a few hundred pounds to nearly 1,500.
He grows three giant pumpkins every year, planting them around mid-April and taking them off the vine in late September.
This year has been particularly good for his pumpkin crop, with the heat being the best weather element for his gigantic squashes. The warm days will be key for his pumpkins to get as large as possible before the weigh-in in October.