What does the country’s heaviest pumpkin looks like? You may be picturing something you could at least reasonably carry, but longtime Wisconsin pumpkin grower Mike Schmit’s gourd clocks in at a whopping 2,520 pounds. Even more wild, growing such a plant could’ve been worth over $20,000 — if not for one small problem.
“Pumpkins are like ice cream: Everyone loves them,” Schmit told local news station TMJ4 News about his work. “Some people say we’re crazy, but you know, we’re just people who like to have a little fun out in the dirt.” It’s this enjoyment that brings Schmit and dozens of other people around the country together to compete in the Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in California every year.
Unfortunately, while Schmit’s pumpkin is technically the heaviest in the United States this year, he won’t receive credit for breaking the record due to the fact that the gourd has a crack in it — which he says is the size of a fingernail — that rendered a disqualification. If he’d been able to attend the championship weigh-off, he would’ve also walked home with the $22,680 grand prize. (Yes, over $20,000 for growing a large pumpkin!) The honor this year instead went to Jeff Uhlmeyer from Washington state, whose gourd weighed in at 2,191 pounds.
While it was devastating to lose out on the five-figure prize money, Schmit’s picked himself up quickly and is ready to move on to next year’s season. “There’s no crying in pumpkin growing.” Well said, Mike!
And even if you don’t see yourself growing pumpkins competitively any time soon, there are still plenty of ways to get in the autumn spirit, whether that’s whipping up a few delicious pumpkin recipes or creating the Jack-o’-Lantern display of your dreams. Don’t forget to have fun this fall before the weather starts to get extra chilly!