200-pounder biggest pumpkin in neighborhood contest
Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News
Dan Welden feigns lifting his 200-pound-plus pumpkin off the scales.
By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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That was the weight of the pale-white pumpkin that secured him first place in his neighborhood's friendly pumpkin competition, a fall tradition for a small tract of property owners off South Doss Road south of Port Angeles hosted this year at the home of Thomas and Robin Swanson.
“Everybody has acreage, so they have room to grow [these] things,” Welden said.
Evergreen Country Estates' crop of pumpkins this year was one of the best in the competition's seven years, thanks to the warm and dry weather in June and July, Welden explained.
“It was a good year for everybody,” Welden said.
Coming in second place was a 134-pound offering from 13-year-old Adam Kennedy, Welden said.
Adam's pumpkin likely would have hit 160 pounds had an industrious deer not poked its head through Kennedy's fence and made a meal out of the large fruit, Welden added.
“[The deer] took a pretty good chunk out of it,” Welden said.
Third place went to neighbor Racheal Stratton, who entered a 94-pound pumpkin, Welden said.
The competition is strictly informal, with first prize meaning bragging rights in the neighborhood until next year, Welden said.
Seeds, candy, pumpkin-shaped bowls and other fall-themed items also are given as prizes, Welden said, with recognition bestowed for such honors as prettiest and ugliest pumpkin.
“Everybody gets some kind of prize,” Welden said with a chuckle.
About 14 people participated this year, he said, with a good showing of children and teenagers.
“It's just a fun, friendly competition, and [it gets] the kids involved,” said neighbor Wayne Roedell.
Roedell, who took home top honors last year with a 284-pound pumpkin, said he won the contest for the largest zucchini this year. His 8-pound vegetable was one the only one entered in the category.
Welden said he used pumpkins seeds from the Pacific Northwest Giant Pumpkin Growers Association to grow this year's winner.
These seeds were from a specific breed of pumpkin known as Dill's Atlantic giant, Welden said, a type bred over the decades to be especially large.
Atlantic giants are often the world's record-breaking pumpkins, Welden added, with some weighing upward of 2,000 pounds.
Although he got his seeds for no extra charge thanks to his association membership dues, Welden said seeds harvested from pumpkins 1,000 pounds or larger can go for $20 to $30 per seed.
The association, which counts members throughout the Puget Sound, Oregon and Idaho, lists the Washington record for largest pumpkin at 1,791 pounds on its website.
Although some of his crop this year is destined for the carving knife, Welden said he plans to keep his 200½-pounder intact and display it proudly near the entrance of his neighborhood.
“Everybody loves a pumpkin,” he said.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at email@example.com.
Last modified: October 22. 2013 7:19PM