A colossal pumpkin broke the record for the heaviest gourd at the World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off held in California. The winning gourd, named Michael Jordan Pumpkin, grown by Travis Gienger, a horticulture teacher from Minnesota, tipped the scales at 2,749 pounds (1,247 kilogrammes).

Michael Jordan Pumpkin surpassed the previous record by 47 pounds.  

Gienger’s achievement earned him a prize of US$30,000. The win marks the third time the 43-year-old horticulture teacher has clinched the championship title.

Gienger is a seasoned pumpkin grower with a penchant for enormous produce. He attributed the pumpkin’s size to meticulous care and a regimen of 12 waterings a day, ensuring that every fibre of the pumpkin received the nourishment it needed.

Gienger’s journey began on 10 April when he planted the pumpkin seed in his Minnesota garden. Over the course of several months, he invested approximately US$15,000 in the pumpkin’s care and feeding.

To transport his prized pumpkin to California for the championship, Gienger embarked on a cross-country journey. On Saturday morning, he collected the gourd and placed it in a truck for the long journey to California.

The Michael Jordan pumpkin resembles a basketball, solidifying its association with the basketball legend by donning a jersey featuring the iconic “23,” symbolising the year 2023. The crowd marvelled at the enormous pumpkin and hailed the gourd as the “greatest pumpkin of all time,” resonating with the legacy of the basketball legend it was named after.

Travis Gienger’s journey into the world of competitive pumpkin growing began in his teenage years. His dedication to cultivating the extraordinary pumpkin was fuelled by his desire to bring joy and amazement to people.

World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off event began in 1974 as a friendly rivalry between Circleville, Ohio, and Half Moon Bay, California. It has grown into a global extravaganza, drawing enthusiasts from far and wide.