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Giant pumpkin growing a growing obsession

By Keri Lunt Stevens daily Herald - | Oct 17, 2014
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With a 1,731 pound pumpkin, Mountain Green resident Matt McConkie broke the State Record at the Utah Giant Pumpkin Grower's weigh-off at Thanksgiving Point on Sept. 27.

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With a 1,731 pound pumpkin, Mountain Green resident Matt McConkie broke the State Record at the Utah Giant Pumpkin Grower's weigh-off at Thanksgiving Point on Sept. 27, 2014.

SANTAQUIN – Giant pumpkin growing isn’t just a sport — according to its practitioners, it’s an addictive passion.

At least that’s what it is for Kyle Fox, who fell in love eight years ago when he came across his first giant pumpkin at the Red Barn in Santaquin.

If competition weren’t enough — there are multiple giant pumpkin competitions in Utah — just the idea of growing a bigger pumpkin than his last keeps him growing year after year.

This year Fox’s best friend Matt McConkie was the lucky winner of one of those competitions, ringing in the state record at the Utah Giant Pumpkin Grower’s weigh-off at Thanksgiving Point on Sept. 27. A Mountain Green resident, McConkie’s giant pumpkin measured in at 1,731 pounds, eclipsing his previous record of 1,600 pounds in 2011, according to a news release.

A spotlight is forming around the growing obsession, with a documentary about giant pumpkin growers currently screening in California. “Rise of the Giants” follows a group of dedicated and eccentric farmers’ race to grow the world’s largest pumpkin.

For more information about the documentary, riseofthegiantsmovie.com. For more information about the Utah Giant Pumpkin Growers, visit utahpumpkingrowers.com.

Fourth Annual Gianormous Pumpkin Regatta

This Saturday, the public is invited to the fourth annual Gianormous Pumpkin Regatta, a free event presented by Mountain Valley Seed Co. and the Utah Giant Pumpkin Growers. At the event, participants will turn their 600 to 1200-pound pumpkins into floating vessels and race them around the Sugar House Park Pond. For more information, visit mvseeds.com/regatta.

When: Saturday, Oct. 18

Where: Sugar House Park Pond: 2199 S 1400 East in Salt Lake City

Time: 1 to 3 p.m.

Utah’s Sixth Annual Giant Pumpkin Drop

Fans of destruction are invited to attend Utah’s Sixth Annual Giant Pumpkin Drop, a charity event aimed to raise money for the March of Dimes. Held the weekend before Halloween, spectators can expect to see giant pumpkins dropped on cars and in pools, among other smash-worthy demonstrations.

When: Saturday Oct. 25

Where: Hee Haw Farms: 150 S 2000 West in Pleasant Grove

Time: Noon

Giant Pumpkin Stomp

Next month, the public is invited to the Hogle Zoo’s annual event, Feast with the Beast. A Thanksgiving Day tradition, keepers will give animals food-based enrichment — including giant pumpkins — to stomp and chomp.

When: Thursday, Nov. 27

Where: Hogle Zoo: 2600 E Sunnyside Avenue in Salt Lake City

Time: 9 a.m.

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