Alaska: home of the midnight sun, soaring mountains, long winters, and GIANT PUMPKINS. This year the competition was fierce as the champion pumpkin grower fought to keep his title, against himself. This year was the 16th annual contest and the two main contenders for pumpkins were both grown by Dale Marshell from Anchorage and had set the previous record in 2019 weighting 2,051 pounds. There were 4 contenders in this years contest and each one with an impressive size and growing story. The rankings came out as:
|1st||2,147 lbs||Cookie Monster||Dale Marshell||Anchorage|
|2nd||1,819 lbs||Dale Marshell||Anchorage|
|3rd||153 lbs||Taelyn Polis (7 years old)||Wasilla|
|4th||64.5 lbs||George||Theresa & Thad Phillips||Mat-Su Valley|
First and Second place pumpkins were grown from Atlantic Giant seeds, one from Spain and one from New York state, with Cookie Monster’s mother being over 2,500 pounds. Many growers talk about how important linage is for growing these massive pumpkins. Marshell uses a 700-square-foot greenhouse to grow his pumpkins and noted that they might have gotten even larger if we had not had so much rain these last few weeks, but a little more sun. However, watering is a vital part in growing them this big as it was noted that Cookie Monster which was planted June 4th was on a vine over 65 feet long and was drinking 25 to 75 gallons of water a day, depending on rainfall. So, at just 86 days old Cookie Monster takes the prize, but we see new growers entering the competition. Third place grower, Taelyn Polis grew her pumpkin with the help of her grandmother and held a concern many of us worry about here in Alaska that a moose might eat her pumpkin before getting to get it to the fair. Polis is apart of a family of growers as her older brother Thomas had previously entered a 280-pound pumpkin in 2019. Fourth place winner Theresa and Thad Phillips are a married couple who debuted this year as first time competitors.