By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A Worland man growing giant pumpkins is preparing for the official weigh-off in the contest to determine the state’s biggest pumpkin in less than two weeks, and his largest gourd is estimated to weigh nearly 1,600 pounds.
Jay Richard told Cowboy State Daily this week that his largest pumpkin, Maci, weighs about 1,570 pounds. If he is correct, Maci will officially break the record of the state’s largest pumpkin.
This is a gain of about 25 pounds from the week prior, a significant slowdown from the hundreds of pounds the pumpkins would gain each week during the summer. Richard noted that the slowdown is due to cooler temperatures in Worland, where it can get down into the mid-20s at night.
“I had plastic and blankets covering as much as I could [of the pumpkins at night],” Richard told Cowboy State Daily on Monday. “So far, so good.”
Currently, Andy Corbin of Cheyenne holds the title for Wyoming’s heaviest pumpkin, weighing in at 1,491 pounds to take the 2020 title.
Richard previously explained that Maci’s genetics come from two pumpkins that set records in the states of Alaska and Wyoming. Corbin actually crossed the two genetic lines and gifted Richard with a seed.
His other pumpkin, Sally, is estimated to weigh about 1,225 pounds. Richard will harvest Sally on Thursday and then head to Utah for that state’s weigh-off.
“My friend who owns Tractor Guys here in Worland will bring a machine out to lift them for me,” Richard said. “My utility tractor will not even budge them.”
He got nostalgic for a moment, looking at a photo of one of his pumpkins from his early days of growing the gourds. At that time, growing a 600-pound pumpkin was the dream.
“I thought that was amazing, and truthfully it was,” he said. “But now I’m planning for next year. Bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger!”
He doesn’t have a weight goal for next year’s pumpkins, but said he knows he could have gotten several hundred more pounds out of Maci the pumpkin.
“I will definitely say I left a lot in the patch with this plant and I know there is more in the genetics than I got out of her,” he said.
Two weeks ago, one of Richard’s three pumpkins, Patty, split open due to its extensive growth.
“And then there were two,” Richard said after Patty’s demise. “Patty is doomed, she goes to the pigs [Tuesday]. I tried but she is toast.”
“That’s all folks,” Richard said after disposing the pumpkin. “She was pumpkin soup today. Really sad, the wall thickness was amazing, even where she split. Even with this much gone, my tractor ( 900lb capacity) couldn’t lift it any higher than this. She was heavy!”