I'm often asked at this time of year if a pumpkin is big enough to take to a weigh-off. The answer is always YES. You may not win but any pumpkin is worthy of being entered into a weigh-off.
I remember Pap telling the story of his first weigh-off. He proudly brought his pumpkin to the weigh-off and saw a group of pumpkins that were smaller than his when he arrived and he thought "maybe I have a chance at winning." As he sat his pumpkin down next to the others someone asked what he was doing. It was then explained to him that those pumpkins were the pumpkins that were set out for the kids to play on and then he was pointed to where the competition pumpkins were being unloaded. The big ones. Pap wanted to hide his pumpkin. I think he said he left his pumpkin at the weigh-off rather than to be seen carrying it. Last year pap grew a 1,623 pound pumpkin and his son grew the world-record 2,009 pounder in the same pumpkin patch.
The reason you want to take your pumpkin to the weigh-off is because you will get the chance to talk with some of the best growers in your community. Most all of them don't mind you asking them questions about how they grow as long as your are considerate of their time and half of them will talk your ear off about pumpkins if you give them half a chance. If you see a pumpkin that you would like a seed from to grow next year ask the grower if you can get their address and send them a self-addressed bubble envelope in November requesting that seed. That is typically how it is done and most growers will fulfill that request if they have seeds available. There are no real secrets in pumpkin growing. Just lots to learn.
My first year was kind of like Pap's but I got lucky. My first season kind of happened by accident and I didn't have any intent of going to a competition pumpkin. At the end of summer I thought my prize winner pumpkin was pretty big so I entered it in a community weigh-off. I entered it in the competition and won with a 141 pound pumpkin. I thought that was kind of fun but I wondered how those growers grew the 1,000 pound pumpkins. That winter I researched a ton only, joined the RMGVG and got myself some Atlantic Giant seeds. The next year I grew a 755 pounder and I've been hooked ever since.