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A man from Minnesota drove 2,000 miles towing the largest pumpkin in North America

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

If you like sweater weather or are a big fan of decorative gourds, we have someone you need to meet.

TRAVIS GIENGER: My name is Travis Gienger. I am a horticulture teacher. And I also grow giant pumpkins.

PFEIFFER: And we do mean giant.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Last weekend Gienger, who is from Anoka, Minn., traveled 2,000 miles to the World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, Calif., with some very special cargo in tow.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Here we go. Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Woo (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: That is the largest pumpkin ever grown in North America.

PFEIFFER: The record-breaking gourd came in at a staggering 2,560 pounds, but it didn't happen overnight.

GIENGER: So this journey starts about mid-April. So that's about 180-day journey of growing these things.

PFEIFFER: What was his secret?

GIENGER: A labor of love, man.

KELLY: Yeah. Also, some good genetics, lots of fertilizer and a pinch of luck. Now, if you're wondering how on earth he managed to move that pumpkin across the country, the answer is slowly.

GIENGER: Thirty-five-hour drive from Minnesota to Half Moon Bay, Calif., with a pumpkin. It's not like you can set any records for speeding or anything, but we got it there.

PFEIFFER: Gienger won't have to worry about gas money, though. His pumpkin won him $9 per pound, more than $23,000 in prize money.

KELLY: Oh, my gosh, which is enough to buy you quite a few pumpkin spice lattes. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Michael Levitt
Michael Levitt is a news assistant for All Things Considered who is based in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Political Science. Before coming to NPR, Levitt worked in the solar energy industry and for the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C. He has also travelled extensively in the Middle East and speaks Arabic.
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