By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Jay Richard, the Worland man whose giant pumpkin-growing process Cowboy State Daily has been following for weeks, will not be breaking the state record for the largest pumpkin in Wyoming this year.
On Thursday night, Richard’s largest pumpkin, Maci, essentially collapsed in on itself. While Richard will still be able to weigh the pumpkin during the annual weigh-off on Saturday in Worland, he will not be able to compete for the state record.
“She went down today, she sprung a leak,” Richard told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday night. “I wondered when she quit growing a while back and it was right in the place I was concerned with.”
However, he will still get to drop Maci and other thousand-pound pumpkins from a 200-foot crane, a worthy demise for a giant gourd. The weigh-off and drop event will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at Diesel Pickup Specialists, 1051 N. 10th St., in Worland.
Richard was definitely disappointed to lose the pumpkin after coming so far with it, but he said it was all ultimately a learning opportunity for him to grow bigger and better pumpkins next year.
“If I am not willing to accept when I fail I am not worthy of enjoying success,” Richard said. “She will contain many excellent seeds…and is full of awesome genetics.”
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Richard will spend Saturday sharing his knowledge, experience and pumpkin seeds with other attendees of the pumpkin weigh-off and drop, but Sunday will mean the beginning of the 2022 growing season.
“I’m staring on Sunday with soil prep and testing, because I’ve been planning on taking it to the next level for a while. God willing, next year will be my best effort,” he said.
One point Richard tried to remember, despite his disappointment, is that small pumpkins never have issues like this, meaning he is on another level of pumpkin growing.
“My goal when I started trying to get them big was to be in the top 10 in the state. Mission accomplished,” he said. “Of course I have new goals now!”
Richard even showed off a design for a greenhouse he plans to build that will house two giant pumpkins, complete with heat, electricity and water on tap. This way, he can ensure the pumpkins will be safe from inclement weather and frigid temperatures in Worland.
This was the second of the three pumpkins Richards has lost. A smaller pumpkin, Patty, was lost earlier in the month when it split due to its excessive growth.
Sally, Richard’s remaining pumpkin, took home fourth place for heaviest pumpkin at the Utah weigh-off last weekend.