CANFIELD - A couple from Halifax, Pa., took home the $5,000 first-place honors with their 1,764.5-pound pumpkin at the World Championship Weigh-Off Saturday at Parks Garden Center.
''It's just so emotionally draining,'' said Cheryl Fulk, who, with husband Paul, drove five hours from their town about 25 miles north of Harrisburg, pulling the fruit in a car trailer.
The 1,764.5-pound gourd is an Ohio record - nearly 40 pounds more than 1,725-pounder grown by a Massillon woman. Pennsylvania's record stands at 1,807.5-pounds, and the world's record is 2,009 pounds grown by a woman in Greene, R.I.
Photo by Christopher Bobby
Cheryl Fulk of Halifax, Pa., props herself up against the 1,764.5-pound pumpkin that she and her husband Paul grew. The giant gourd placed first and won the couple a $5,000 first-place prize at Saturday’s Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers World Championship Weigh-Off at Parks Garden Center in Canfield.
The local competition that also includes field pumpkins, watermelon, tomatoes, sunflowers and other gourds was hosted by the Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers.
Fulk, a legal secretary, gave most of the credit to her husband, a design engineer for a stove manufacturer, who puts in another 40 hours a week watching out for his pumpkins and tomatoes.
His 4.78-pound tomato also took first place.
But the pumpkin is the real big deal in the Fulk family.
They took a seed from a world record pumpkin by the name of Snowball and cross-pollinated with blossoms from another champion from Rhode Island and started the off spring of Snowball about 100 days ago in their greenhouse.
''It averaged three or four pounds a day towards the end. But at the peak growing season, it grew 50 pounds in one day. I mean, you came home from work and you could easily see how much it grew in hours,'' Paul Fulk said.
It was the fourth and final competition for the couple who entered four of their six pumpkins, putting in appearances in Connecticut, Doylestown and Altoona, Pa.
The OVGPG organization has more than 250 members around the world with most in the Ohio and Pennsylvania.
''The club developed about 18 years with a core of members from right around here,'' said Frank Lanterman, a director of the OVGPG.
He pointed out winners this year that included a 123 1/4-inch-long gourd; a 146.5-pound field pumpkin; a 208.5-pound watermelon; and a sunflower blossom that measured 26-inches across the face of the blossom.