Brian Smith and Chuck Pettit of Crainco with McKenna Mars' Fifth Place Finisher, 'Fat Mac', 285 pounds!
Brian Smith with John Gerdes', Third Place finisher, 'Water', 523.5 pounds!
At noon, the crowd waited in great expectation.
Glenn Bassett, First Place, 'Big Man', 826 pounds and a new Pumpkinmania record!
The 2006 Pumpkinmania Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest Results!
Good afternoon, Growers!
Yesterday, a foggy morning greeted the giant pumpkin faithful for the 2006 Pumpkinmania Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off and Contest. With congratulations and encouragement in the form of a letter from The Governor of California, the Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger in hand, the sponsors, staff, and management waited in the mist for this year’s entries to arrive at the Centennial Heritage Museum. After an initial rush of entries between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., a slight lull set in, and we wondered if the unusually hot weather of July had taken its toll upon the Southern California giant pumpkin growing community like it had upon so many other growers.
Fortunately, any anxiety was quickly eliminated when a parade of giants began to fill the colorful sponsor banner-laden staging area just in front of the blacksmith shop. The exclamations of disbelief and delight were deafening. The deafening sounds of gunfire, however, were the Western reenactment group “Satin and Spurs”. Attendees were also entertained and educated by gourd crafts, a gourd witch, food booths, face-painting, The Balloon Diva, The Victorian Tea Society, the Scout pumpkin sale, and the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners table.
By 11:30 a.m., nineteen, yes nineteen valiant and courageous competitors’ entries were arranged, ready for the Final Weigh-Off. Before the Final Weigh-Off, the winners of Best Color, Funniest Shape, Ugliest, Youngest Grower, and Most Experienced Grower were announced after the judges, Ty Hall of Kellogg Garden Products, Brian Smith of Crainco Crane Company, Phil Concan of Roadkyll Graphics and Screenprinting, and Kenji Otsuka of HB-101 Organic Plant Growth Enhancer, completed their thoughtful and extremely fair deliberations.
The categories, winners and their prizes were:
Best Color: Ron Sallinger, $50 Gift Certificate from Laguna Hills Nursery in Lake Forest, and a hand-crafted gourd trophy
Funniest Shape: Robert Paukstis, $50 Gift Certificate from Laguna Hills Nursery in Lake Forest, and a hand-crafted gourd trophy
Ugliest: Glen Bassett, $50 Gift Certificate from Orange County Farm Supply in Orange, and a hand-crafted gourd trophy made by Phil Concan
Youngest Grower: McKenna Mars, $25 Gift Certificate from Cedros Gardens in Solana Beach
Grower: Bill Magruder, $25 Gift Certificate from Cedros Gardens in Solana Beach
These winners also received 18 ounce bottles of Neptune’s Harvest Fish and Seaweed Blend fertilizer.
All growers received a special limited edition Gardner & Bloome pin and samples of HB-101 and Neptune’s Harvest Fish and Seaweed Blend fertilizer.
The Final Weigh-Off began at 12:00 noon, and the 250 spectators that had gathered were amused and amazed by the new giant pumpkin sling moving and weighing technology.
Unfortunately, there was an “equipment malfunction” and for the first time in Pumpkinmania’s six-year history, we lost one. The entry, ‘Charlie’ was finally weighed at 71 pounds. ‘Charlie’ was grown by Judy Hales, of Huntington Beach. The sponsors, staff and management of Pumpkinmania apologize for your loss, Judy, and we hope you will participate again. This usually doesn’t happen. Really, it doesn’t. Plus, it didn’t help when this history-making incident was captured by the local Time Warner Cable television crew.
Because of the efficient and now experienced weighing technology, weighing the remaining eighteen entries was finished in less than 45 minutes. There was a tense moment near the end of the Final Weigh-Off when Eva Bassett’s entry ‘Little Man’ at 639 pounds, began to leak profusely when lifted. This indicated a fissure going deep into the pumpkin’s cavity, and ‘Little Man’ was disqualified. The shock and disbelief on Eva’s face was palpable. Then again, the rules are the rules.
I’m proud, and extremely pleased to announce the winners of the 2006 Pumpkinmania Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest!
First Place: Glenn Basset of Simi Valley, 826 pounds, ‘Big Man’, $1,000 from Kellogg Garden Products/Gardner & Bloome, and a hand-crafted gourd trophy
Second Place: Michelle Lofthouse of Monrovia, 635 pounds, ‘Dimple’, $500 from Kellogg Garden Products/Gardner & Bloome, and a hand-crafted gourd trophy
Third Place: John Gerdes of Midway City, 523.5 pounds, ‘Water’, $300 from Kellogg Garden Products/Gardner & Bloome, and a hand-crafted gourd trophy
Fourth Place: Mark Imhoof of Irvine, 417.5 pounds, ‘Fasta’, $50 Gift Certificate from Batavia Garden Nursery in Orange
Fifth Place: McKenna Mars of Anaheim Hills, 285 pounds, ‘Fat Mac’, $50 Gift Certificate from Batavia Garden Nursery in Orange
The top five finishers also received 100 cc bottles of HB-101 and 18 ounce bottles of Neptune’s Harvest Fish and Seaweed Blend fertilizer.
Masters and Institutional Division
First Place: Stuart Shim of Huntington Beach, 406 pounds, ‘Carla’, for The Honor and The Glory
I would like to thank the following individuals, sponsors and staff for their critical participation and help. Without them, there wouldn’t be a Pumpkinmania:
Ty Hall, Kellogg Garden Products
Brian Smith, Crainco Crane Services
Chuck Pettit, Crainco Crane Services
Phil Concan, Roadkyll Graphics and Screenprinting
Gary Matsuoka, Laguna Hills Nursery
Ann Molloy, Neptune’s Harvest Organic Fertilizers
Nobo Azuma, YK Flora/HB-101
Kenji Otsuka, YK Flora/HB-101
Ron Hamada, Batavia Garden Nursery
Chris Roy, Orange County Farm Supply
Joanne Fried, U-Haul International
Danny Dill, Howard Dill Enterprises
Casey T. Shim, Seitz & Shim, LLP Attorneys-at-Law
Mia McCarville, Cedros Gardens
Sharon and Bruce Asakawa, Garden Compass Media
Sam Ingardia, Ingardia Wholesale Produce
Greg Thiel, Hydrofarm
Milo Shammas, Dr. Earth
Christie Gould for Brian Gould this year
In addition, I’d like to thank the management of the Centennial Heritage Museum for their flexibility and patience with Pumpkinmania, particularly Ralph Whitford and Jane Murray.
Finally, I would like to give my very sincere thanks to The Governor of California, the Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger for a very funny and encouraging letter. (Your T-shirt’s on the way.)
See you all next year!