The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 2, 2012

Great Pumpkin arrives as Rhode Island farmer breaks 1-ton barrier

CNHI News Service

TOPSFIELD, Mass. — A Rhode Island farmer has grown the world’s first 1-ton pumpkin, shattering the previous record by 165.5 pounds.

Ron Wallace’s behemoth pumpkin topped out at 2,009 pounds on a digital scale last week, earning him $15,500 in prize money at the Topsfield Fair’s giant pumpkin weigh-off.

Fair officials said growing a 1-ton pumpkin was comparable to breaking the four-minute mile barrier in track.

“It’s a great world record,” said James O’Brien, the fair’s general manager. “Topsfield has had a lot of world records, but this one is special.”

The previous world pumpkin record had been set only a day earlier at a fair in Deerfield, N.H., with a weight of 1,843.5 pounds.

The Topsfield Fair in the Boston suburb is the oldest agricultural fair in the nation. It has featured the great pumpkin weigh-off for several years.

A forklift was needed to lift Wallace’s winning entry onto the scale. Five minutes earlier, a competitive pumpkin weighed in at 1,649 pounds.

“I’m back, baby,” Wallace yelled, pumping his fist and pounding his chest when the weight of his 2,009-pound pumpkin was announced to the crowd.

Wallace had grown the winning pumpkin at the fair six years earlier at a mere 1,347 pounds. He said he had an inkling in mid-August that he’d grown a special pumpkin for this year’s contest, and he “hoped that it weighed more than a small car.”

It did.

Cash prize

IN ADDITION to the $5,500 first-place prize, the Topsfield Fair in recent years has offered a bonus of $10,000 for the first 1-ton pumpkin, a feat that many considered impossible.