Exploding 1,000 pound pumpkins and breaking state records at the Wyoming State Pumpkin Championship

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

Although the atmosphere was festive throughout, the mood only got louder with the promise to explode a thousand pound pumpkins.

The few hundred people who showed up for the matinee at Diesel Pickup Specialists – a truck repair shop in downtown Worland – grew roughly four-fold for the late-night show.

It was kind of a mix between a huge tailgating party and a parade for what Jay Richard, the organizer of the Wyoming State Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off and Pumpkin Drop, called the “dumbest event ever” that makes it great.

Judging by the children’s reaction alone, it was great.

The main event was fun.

Huge fruits and vegetables – many of which could only be lifted by industrial-grade forklifts – were weighed on industrial scales to see if something was heavy enough to break state records.

In fact, there were two record breakers.

The Cowboy Skill Scale – named after the presenting sponsor of the event – recorded Wyoming’s heaviest watermelon and Montana’s heaviest pumpkin.

The watermelon grown by Worlands Dawson Utterback came in at 40 pounds and Jason McGimpsey raised a 1,200 pound pumpkin that beat Montana’s old record by 32 pounds.

Since Mr. McGimpsey is from Billings and Montana does not have an official pumpkin weighing event, he attended the Wyoming event, which is a member of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth – the sanctions agency that oversees these events.

Wyoming’s state record – set by Cheyennes Andy Corbin in 2019 with a pumpkin weighing 1,491 pounds – remained intact.

It wasn’t to be expected. Richard grew up to be a monster.

Macy (he names all of his pumpkins) topped 1,500 pounds a month ago. Last week it approached 1,600 pounds.

The colossal pumpkin was a castle. All he had to do was hold Macy together.

Any injury to the pumpkin seed, Richard explained, would disqualify the pumpkin.

But on Thursday afternoon, just two days before the official event, a disaster struck. Richard discovered that a mouse had dug its way into the core of the pumpkin.

“It’s a bit like a racer comes around the fourth corner in a 500 mile race, blows a tire and hits the wall,” Richard told Cowboy State Daily.

So what should Richard do?

Send them away with a bang. Literally.

Macy was the first of more than four thousand pound pumpkins to be lifted by a 200-foot crane and dropped into the field next to the truck repair shop.

Putting Macy in the noose was getting messy. The 82 degree heat weakened Macy’s already weakened appearance.

She started to break down.

Then a much larger hole opened and she began puffing out gallons of yellow liquid.

“That’s hilarious,” laughed one of Richard’s colleagues.

Richard didn’t have time to see the humor.

With the urgency of a conversation between Scottie and Captain Kirk, Richard shouted, “We have to get her into the crane now. I can’t hold her any longer. It is falling apart. “

They hit the noose on the crane and she started lifting.

She didn’t make the whole trip. About halfway up, chunks began to fall and Richard pulled the plug. Macy was in the air.

With a thud, his would-be champion was gone. It exploded on target: a snowmobile mounted on an Isuzu Trooper.

Richard stated that he hated winter so a snowmobile was a perfect destination, he said.

The other three pumpkin drops were similar to the first – outside of the erupting liquid.

The children cheered. The adults laughed. And the snowmobile and Isuzu were demolished.

After the last pumpkin fell and the Isuzu’s front tires burst, the security tape was lowered and the children ran to grab pieces of pumpkin like an Easter egg hunt.

One child was disappointed when they were told they couldn’t take the football-sized piece of orange glue home with them.

“What would you do with it?” Asked the child’s mother.

“I don’t know. Put it in my room,” he said.

Mom won.

Richard believes that one day he will win too.

He’s already planning for next year and may have a greenhouse (mouse safe) big enough to grow a champion for the 2022 season.

In the long term, he wants to join the one-ton club. This is an exclusive group of breeders who have successfully given birth to a 2,000 pound pumpkin.

“It might take a while, but who knows? After all, that’s my goal, ”said Richard.

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