Local Pumpkin squashes competition in Guinness World Records

Arthur Negus and Lily Eastman

The eyes of the nation and the world were on one man. In a world of massive fruits and vegetables there is a pumpkin to top them all. Travis Gienger won the competition for world’s largest pumpkin in Half Moon Bay, California. 

Travis Gienger is a horticulture teacher who has grown over 100 massive pumpkins in Anoka, Minnesota. He recently “squashed” the competition at the “49th safeway world champion pumpkin weigh off” His pumpkin swept the competition with the staggering weight of 2,560 pounds and was over 20 feet in diameter.

Gienger has perfected his technique over the years for growing a pumpkin of this magnitude.

“Wake up, spray it with some fertilizer, maybe a fungicide if needed. Spray every morning with fertilizer at 10 to say four o’clock off and on. I’ve got different programs on my phone,” said Geinger.

He would water it at different times depending on whether it was sunny or cloudy and there was one more secret ingredient for the perfect pumpkin.

“(It took) 150 to 200 gallons of fertilizer a day with water,  just mixing in little bits of fertilizer,” he said. 

With a pumpkin of this size, the question remains what would happen to it once he won the championship.

“So this pumpkin’s gonna get carved for the Guinness Book of World Records,” said Geinger. “Once it’s done hopefully it’ll be turned into something really cool,  patriotic themed.”

Given the name “maverick” the pumpkin has become somewhat of a patriotic symbol, a bald eagle was carved into the pumpkin’s shell and showcased in the 2022 annual Anoka halloween parade.

“It’ll all get carved (and filmed with) time-lapse photography,” said Gienger. “The Guinness  Book of World Records will present the award.”

After the carving, the Guinness Book of World Records confirmed that Maverick “is the heaviest recorded pumpkin ever grown in North America.” 

Not only did Maverick break the weight record, “The jack o’lantern also broke the record for the largest jack o’lantern by circumference, with a pre-carved stem-to-blossom circumference of 242 inches (614.7 centimetres),” according to Guinness.

Will he try to break his own record?

 “It’s a lot of work” said Geigner. “I always say I’m gonna retire, but I probably won’t.”