The King Is Purchased

Organization deems pumpkin world’s largest

T-L Photo/JENNIFER COMPSTON-STROUGH Todd and Donna Skinner of Barnesville are dwarfed by the 2,150-pound gourd they grew to capture the title of King Pumpkin on Wednesday.

BARNESVILLE — Emory Rothenbuhler and Sons Trucking of Beallsville purchased the record setting King Pumpkin at the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival at auction Saturday evening for $7,500.

The Barnesville Pumpkin Festival is a member of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth. The GPC is a world wide organization that regulates the fairness of competitions, recognizes achievements and promotes the education of cultivating giant pumpkins. Currently the 2,150 pound King Pumpkin, grown by Todd and Donna Skinner of Barnesville, is the largest pumpkin grown in the whole world this year as recorded by GPC associated members.

In October the three largest pumpkins in the nation will be displayed in New York at the New York Botanical Garden and the growers are eligible for prizes which include a trip to New York. However the deadline for this year’s entries is Oct. 10 which still gives other festivals time to enter a larger one.

Skinner said previously it took 170 days to grow this year’s winner.

The plant grew for 70 days before it produced the pumpkin, which grew for another 100 days before Wednesday. He noted he and his wife leave just one pumpkin on each plant in order to raise the biggest pumpkins possible.

Otherwise, he said there are four keys to success in growing award-winning pumpkins: a lot of hard work, good genetic seeds, balanced nutrition and four to five hours’ worth of daily care.

The reward for all that effort is a cash prize of $2 per pound, totaling $4,300 for this particular entry.

The new reigning king measured 215 inches in circumference, according to Skinner, and came from a plant that reached 750 square feet in size.

The gourd’s stem appeared to be about as big around as a human head. The previous state record was 2,058 pounds.

The second-place entry was grown by Andy Mosher of Lakeville, Ohio, and weighed in at 1,568 pounds. Third place went to Todd Cotterman of Fenton, Mich., with a 1,512-pound gourd.