Skinners’ pumpkin smashes the scales

BARNESVILLE — Some local growers are setting records seemingly every time they pluck a pumpkin from their field.

Todd and Donna Skinner, who claimed the title of King Pumpkin in Barnesville for the seventh time in September, just broke another growing record in a different part of the state. They surpassed last year’s 2,058-pound state record on Oct. 8 at the Oakland Nursery Weigh Off in Dublin, Ohio, with a pumpkin weighing 2,112 pounds. The second-place gourd at that event weighed 1,762.5 pounds and was grown by John Kamanski of Michigan, while third place went to a 1,747-pound pumpkin raised by Quinn Werner of Pennsylvania.

With three pumpkins, the Skinners have set four records in 2017 — the Ohio State Fair record in Columbus with their 1,621.5-pound pumpkin; the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival “King Pumpkin” record and a new state record with a 2,150-pound pumpkin; and their third and final pumpkin, which tipped the scales at 2,112 pounds and set a new site record at Oakland Nursery.

“We have had a great season and don’t know if we will ever have a season like this again,” Donna Skinner said.

Todd Skinner said it took 170 days to grow this year’s King Pumpkin. The plant grew for 70 days before it produced the pumpkin, which grew for another 100 days before it was harvested. 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.

Donna Skinner said this year’s crop of record-shattering pumpkins put the Skinners in the running for the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth’s 2017 Grower of the Year award. The organization will announce the winner by Oct. 31. It will then bestow the award during a three-day event known as the Big Show, which is being held in Portland, Ore., Feb. 23-25. The event includes an awards banquet, seminars and featured speakers who are the top pumpkin growers in the world.

The Grower of the Year is recognized with a $1,000 cash prize, a plaque and a jacket. The winner is determined by the weight of their three largest pumpkins, weighed at three different Great Pumpkin Commonwealth weigh-offs. The three weights are combined and the grower with the heaviest total combined weight is named Grower of the Year.

“We are currently in first with 5,883.5 pounds with just a few more weigh-offs left,” Donna Skinner noted.