Drivers on the I5 in Oregon were getting quite a spectacle on Thursday afternoon – Dave Chan’s giant pumpkins.
Richmond’s giant gourd grower was travelling down the highway to California for the first of two major, giant pumpkin-weighing competitions, both of which are claiming to be the world’s biggest.
Chan has the bulging pair – weighing in at around 3,800 pounds total – safely strapped to a flatbed trailer, but with no coverings, are naked for the eye to see.
And speaking to the Richmond News from the passenger seat, Chan said there were lots of drivers doing double-takes at his load.
“I’m getting lots of amusing looks and some waves,” said Chan, who holds the B.C. record at 1,911 pounds and has been growing pumpkins for 40 years.
“I really wanted to get to the world’s largest pumpkin weigh-off and that’s where I’m headed.”
The first competition is in Sacramento on Saturday, with a prize fund of $53,000 (US), and the second is in Half Moon Bay on Oct. 9, and is worth $50,000.
“I have two seriously competitive pumpkins. One is well over 2,000 pounds and the other is over 1,600, I think,” added Chan.
“The first prize is worth $9 a pound, so that could be well over $18,000 if I win.
“I did have a third, medium-sized one, about 1,800 pounds, but it had a rotten spot on it, so it was disqualified.”
His biggest this year is more than 2,000 pounds and is a Dill’s Atlantic giant variety — which was grown from seed and took 110 days to reach that weight.
Chan said he didn’t do anything different this year to break his own record but noted that the “exceptional summer” was likely key.
“I cut them off (from the roots) on Sunday. They stay fresh for a long time, as long as they’re not carved.”
Chan understands that 2,450 pounds is the world record this year so far, but “there is supposed to be a 2,700-pound one coming to the competitions this weekend, so it’s quite exciting.”
-With files from Grant McMillan/Contributor