New Richmond man captures 1st place with another giant pumpkin - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New Richmond man captures 1st place with another giant pumpkin



New Richmond (WQOW)- Chris Stevens of New Richmond has once again captured the title of 'Pumpkin King'.

He won a weekend weigh in and $5,000. His pumpkin was 1,783 and 1/2 pounds. He says that was just 4 pounds ahead of second place.  After winning 1st place at the Stillwater, Minnesota festival his pumpkin is headed to Chicago where it will be on display at a zoo and then carved. 

It was during that same Minnesota festival, three years ago, that Stevens set a world record with a pumpkin that tipped the scales at more than 1,800 pounds. That was the biggest pumpkin ever, at the time.  He was on Regis and Kelly to show it off. His record has been beaten twice since then. 

Stevens had hoped this year's pumpkin would be a world record breaker, but says in the end it still needed more time to grow. 



New Richmond (WQOW)-  James may have had a giant peach.  But giant pumpkins belong to Chris Stevens.

"In 2010 I had the world record which was 1,810.5 pounds," Stevens remembers.

That record only lasted a short time.

"The record was broken in 2011 and 2012.  In 2011, it was 1818 pounds and last year it went over one ton to 2009 pounds," points out Stevens.

He's got one growing this year that he says could be a challenger.

"It could weigh anywhere between 1500 and 2000 pounds," Stevens guesses.  "The 1810 pounder, the world record that I grew in 2010 only estimated about 1540 and it weighed 1810 so the estimate is simply that.  It's just an estimate."

So what is the secret to growing such a huge pumpkin?

"First off, you have to start with the correct variety of seeds," explains Stevens.  "There is only one kind of pumpkin that will get big and that is the Atlantic Giant variety."

Throw in a lot of time and care that you would only see with an infant and about 100 gallons of water per plant each day and this is what you get; a pumpkin that weighs more than the entire Green Bay Packers offensive line put together.

But even if you take care of it perfectly, it can all change in an instant and almost did for Stevens this week.

"Two mornings ago I came out and I cover the pumpkin with a sheet at night.  I came out and there was a bunch of holes in the sheet and wet spots," the New Richmond man remembers.  "I actually found claw marks in the pumpkin and it appears that a small bear climbed up one side of the pumpkin and down the other side which was definitely a scary incident."

This weekend, Stevens will try his luck again and will enter his pumpkin in the same contest he set the world record at three years ago.

"This one will not fit in a pickup truck so we will have to put this one on a trailer for sure," Stevens says with a laugh.

This is the 8th year Stevens has been growing giant pumpkins.  His big one this year will be entered in a festival in Stillwater as he once again will try to get that world record back.

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