California’s Champion Pumpkin Weighs Nearly a Ton

Giant California Pumpkin (Associated Press)
Associated Press

A 1,969-pound gourd claimed the heavyweight pumpkin championship title at this year’s annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-off in Half Moon Bay, California, south of San Francisco.

According to the Associated Press, Steve Daletas of Pleasant Hill, Oregon, had heavy hopes of breaking last year’s world record of 2,323 pounds of pumpkin, set by a Swiss grower during a competition in Germany last year. While he was unable to secure that slot, he did walk away with $12,000 for his lumpy, white pumpkin, which was just 31 pounds shy of a ton.

Second place went to Ron and Karen Root of Citrus Heights, for their 1,806-pound entry. The AP notes that the owner of the gourd that was deemed the “most beautiful” pumpkin walked away with $500; the criteria were reportedly color, shape and size.

The AP notes that several owners of California-based pumpkins complained that dry soil resulting from the Golden State’s fourth year of crippling drought had “deflated their pumpkin-growing dreams.” But for Oregon-baed winner Daletas, “…it’s been a good year. I’ve never grown an official 1,900-pound pumpkin before.”

The contest reportedly kicked off this weekend’s Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.