Thursday, May 8, 2008
The Great Pumpkin
This post was originally written in October of 2007 after my first pumpkin contest (the Arvada Festival of Scarecrows)...
Remember the Charlie Brown Halloween special where Linus was waiting for the Great Pumpkin to rise out of the pumpkin patch? I always kind of considered Linus a woosy for it. You just knew the kid was wasting his time. You wanted to just scream, "Wait until Christmas you idiot and Santa will take care of you! Great Pumpkin? Stupid!"
I am now a believer in the Great Pumpkin. My conversion came swift and almost unexpected. There I was minding my own business and a thought came to my head. "I wonder if there are any giant pumpkin competitions here in Arvada" I said to myself one afternoon. After a couple of quick searches on YourHub.com I found what I was looking for. A giant pumpkin competition that was part of the Festival of Scarecrows here in Arvada. I instantly decided I was in.
You see I've been growing a giant pumpkin since early spring of this year in my own backyard. A few times a week I would water it and tend to the flowers to make sure the perfect pumpkin would get a good start. At first it wasn't much to look at. As of July it was just a mass of vines and a few flowers with just a start of a pumpkin. I was actually kind of concerned that it would have enough time to grow before the first frost hit so I would at least have some kind of a pumpkin for halloween. Come August however it exploded. You could literally watch the small yellow, round bulb grow and slowly turn into a bright orange pumpkin. In October I knew I had something special. What started as my usual obsession to have the biggest pumpkin on the street turned into a desire to see if I could have the biggest pumpkin in Arvada. I saw that last year's winner in the YourHub article was about 200 lbs and although I had no idea how much my pumpkin weighed, I thought from the pictures that maybe my pumpkin had a chance.
As the competition came closer my faith wavered however. I considered entering the pumpkin under Haddie's name thinking there might be a better chance of winning in the kids division. After all, Haddie had spent a number of hours watering the pumpkin this summer as well as spraying daddy in the process.
At 6:30am in the morning of the big show my good neighbor Darrin was kind enough to come over to help me load the pumpkin in the car. The pumpkin was heavy. Really heavy. I thought maybe I could win the overall competition but I pushed that thought to the back of my mind and kept to my origional plan of entering it under Haddie's name. Certainly someone else must have a bigger pumpkin I reasoned and it was better to play it safe. When I arrived at the show and parked in the pumpkin unloading area one of the two men who assisted me with the unloading said, "Oh this is a big one. I think we've got the winner right here." My faith then gained strength and I put the pumpkin in the adult category.
After going to lunch we returned to the competition for the big weigh in. Nearly a dozen big pumpkins were entered in the contest. After scanning the field I could tell there were two clear favorites and mine was one of them. The second big one was really big, perfectly shaped and a fine specimen. I had to lean over to Amber and say "I think that one is the winner" and I began to regret that I didn't put the pumpkin in the children's competition.
Soon they began to weigh in the pumpkins starting with the Children's division. After the children's pumpkins were weighed and the prizes awarded the adult competition began. They started by weighing in the smaller pumpkins. One by one they weighed them and the top weight increased each time.
Finally they got to my pumpkin and the other pumpkin. To my surprise they weighed in the other big pumpkin before mine and since they had been going in order by size I thought maybe mine had a shot. The other pumpkin came in at a whopping 40lbs above the next biggest pumpkin! My heart sank. They then began to load up my pumpkin. The three guys strained as they lifted the pumpkin to the scale. One commented, "This is a heavy pumpkin." Again my heart took strength.
After placing it on the scale the official weigher started sliding the scale back and forth. I knew it was close but I couldn't see from my position how close. The weigher then asked for someone to give an official check of the weight and then the announcement came. 141.5 lbs! One pound more than the other big pumpkin. My pumpkin was the winner! After pictures, awards and prizes I was given a moment to think a little bit about it all and realized that the blanket toting kid was right. The Great Pumpkin does rise out of the pumpkin patch and bring gifts to all of the good girls and boys. He really does!