By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
It is the final week of pumpkin watch 2021, and Worland resident Jay Richard is preparing to take his largest pumpkin off the vine that it is barely clinging to.
It’s been a whirlwind of a week for Richard, who headed out to Pleasant View City, Utah, on Friday to compete in the annual Utah pumpkin weigh-off. He took Sally, the smaller of his two remaining pumpkins, which weighed in at 1,156 pounds to earn fourth place.
“I left Friday afternoon and got back Saturday night at 1:30 a.m.,” Richard told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “I was happy with how Sally did, but I feel like I messed up by not putting more into that plant.”
Richard admitted he neglected Sally somewhat during the growing process, as Maci, his largest pumpkin, has been the focus of his attention. He felt there was much more potential in Sally for growth, pointing out the pumpkin’s well-rounded shape that would make it better for growing without potentially splitting.
Earlier this month, Richard’s other smaller pumpkin, Patty, did split due to the pumpkin’s excessive and fast growth.
Now, the plan is just to keep Maci alive until the annual Wyoming weigh-off on Saturday in Worland. Due to a compromise with the gourd’s vine, Maci is no longer growing much, if at all.
“Maci can no longer transfer nutrients through the main vine leading to the pumpkin,” Richard said. “The smaller vine is intact and can feed her back a little bit. She might be still adding a little weight, I hope.”
While his tape measure indicates that Maci weighs more, Richard guessed that the pumpkin would ultimately weigh about 1,507 pounds once it gets on the scale on Saturday. If he is correct, it would just barely break the state record for the heaviest pumpkin, currently held by Cheyenne resident Andy Corbin’s 1,491-pound pumpkin from 2020.
“Without a doubt, the most important thing I’ve learned this year is how to position the pumpkin,” Richard said. “This is the next level in size for me, and I now understand I can’t get away with some of the questionable things that I have with the smaller pumpkins.”
He did worry that a dip in the pumpkin would cause the gourd to ultimately weigh less than he is estimating. However, Richard did note that Maci’s “father” (a strain of pumpkin whose genes were used to create Maci’s seed) had a similar dip at the Utah weigh-off, and weighed in at more than 2,000 pounds.
“The scale doesn’t lie. The tape measurer does,” he said.