From ‘spe­cial seed’ to 2,170-pound pump­kin

The Standard Journal - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Haven Da­ley

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. — “One spe­cial seed” and months of care by an Ore­gon com­mer­cial pi­lot pro­duced a mas­sive pump­kin that tipped the scales at a global weigh-in in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia, the fourth time his gar­gan­tuan plants were awarded top hon­ors.

Steve Dale­tas of Pleas­ant Hill, Ore­gon, also cred­ited lots of sunny days since he planted eight seeds on April 15 hop­ing to win the 45th World Cham­pi­onship Pump­kin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, south of San Fran­cisco. His win­ner came in at 2,170 pounds.

“This all started with one spe­cial seed and a whole lot of work,” said Dale­tas, who raises gi­ant pump­kins as a hobby. “We were re­ally blessed it was sunny al­most ev­ery day.”

It was the se­cond-heav­i­est pump­kin ever weighed at the 40-year-old Cal­i­for­nia event, but it was still far from a U.S. record. That was set just last month when a grower in New Hamp­shire pro­duced a pump­kin weigh­ing more than 2,500 pounds.

The record for heav­i­est pump­kin in the world was set last year at a com­pe­ti­tion in Europe. A Bel­gium grower’s win­ning whop­per came in at just over 2,600 pounds.

Dale­tas, 58, needed a back­hoe to place his mas­sive pump­kin on a pickup truck for the drive to Cal­i­for­nia. He said he strapped it down and drove “be­low the speed limit” for 12 hours to get to the con­test.

A crowd, in­clud­ing dogs and ba­bies in pump­kin cos­tumes, watched mas­sive pump­kins get­ting weighed on a warm, sunny day as a march­ing band played Hal­loween mu­sic.

The fourth-time pump­kin champ won $15,190, or $7 per pound, for the lumpy, orange pump­kin that will be show­cased at the Half Moon Bay Art & Pump­kin Fes­ti­val.

“Thou­sands of peo­ple will get pic­tures with it, which is re­ally why we do this in the first place, to put smiles on peo­ple’s faces,” Dale­tas said. “When the fes­ti­val’s over, we’ll prob­a­bly take it home and put it in front of our house.”

/ Aric Crabb-Bay Area News Group via AP

Steve Dale­tas of Pleas­ant Hill, Ore., cel­e­brates his first place win in the 45th an­nual Safe­way World Cham­pi­onship Pump­kin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

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