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A monster pumpkin, weighing 1,279.5 lbs, the largest
in the 29 year history of the International Pumpkin
Associations competition, was declared this years
winner of the world-wide contest. The World
Heavyweight Pumpkin measured 191 in circumference. 


The IPAs competition pitted the top-seeded
contestants from the USA, Great Britain and Japan
against each other on Saturday, October 18. The
winning pumpkin presented at an IPA USA site earned
its grower, Winston Wyckoff of Burbank, Ohio, an
incredible and memorable trip to Shodoshima, Japan as
guest of the Japanese 2004 Pumpkin Festival the last
weekend in September.  

This year, the USA winners were also the World Winners
in the IPA Contest, all with pumpkins weighing in at
more than 1,000 lbs. Second place went to Stan Pugh,
Puyallup, WA, with a 1,057 lb champion and third to
Mike Popp of Poulsbo, WA and his 1,006 lb entry, both
of whom entered at the Pacific Northwest Growers
Association contest organized by former USA
championJoel Holland. 

The winners were determined at the Fourth Annual
California State Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off organized by
Tom and Katherine Borchard at their ranch in Salinas,
CA., Saturday,(October 18) the last IPA sanctioned
weigh-off in the USA . Other USA sites include the
Pacific Northwest event and the Ohio Pumpkin Festival
run by Darren Miller in Barnesville, Ohio. 

The growers gathered at Borchards watched as their
winning weights were marked  Vince Zunino of Los
Altos Hills was first with 933 lbs, Gary Miller of
Napa was second with 872 lbs and popular Lila Vezzolo
of Salinas took third with an 812 lb pumpkin. All were
impressive but not large enough to take the USA

The phone hook-up connected the USA sites, with the
contestants at Borchards and this years visiting
champions from Japan attending Borchards California
Weigh-Off. Mr. Takao Hoshijima of Okuyama came in
first in Japan with an 897 lb fruit followed by his
wife, Yoshiko Hoshijima with a 767.58 pumpkin. Third
place went to Nobuyuki Uematsu, who grew a pumpkin
weighing 687.28 lbs. Hoshijimas pumpkin earned him
the trip to California as part of his prize. 

Michio Saeki was the champion who grew the largest
entry from the island of Shodoshima where the contest
takes place. It weighed in at 495.66 lbs. The
delegation of 10 from Japan at Borchards included Mr.
and Mrs. Hoshijima, their friends Motomu and Mustuko
Kobayashi from Okuyama, Saeki and his wife Fusae
Saiki, their daughter Mayumi Mastuki of Toyko and her
6 year old daughter Emiri and a cousin Kanami Saiki, 8
years old. Kotomi Takeda from Shodoshima accompanied
and translated for the group. Their world-wind visit
included the weigh off, visits to the Vezzolo farm,
the California International Air Show and Fishermans
Wharf at Monterey Bay. 

Joel Hollands site in Washington provided the weights
for members of the Pacific Northwest Growers
Association. Pugh s 1,057 lb winner took first there
with Popps 1,006 coming in second. Holland took 3rd
with a 955 lb entry. However, Hollands largest
pumpkin and his all time best came in at 1,134 lbs at
another weigh-off but was acknowledged as one produced
by an IPA grower. 

Great Britain's results were reported by former champ
Don Uribe, Carmel Valley, who spoke earlier to Robert
Drake at the Boot Inn, Salisbury. Organizers of the
two west coast sites, Holland and Borchard, are both
former IPA USA champs who won the memorable trip to

The largest competition in the United Kingdom, held at
The Boot Inn, Salisbury, replaced the Greyhound Pub
site. The pumpkin contests in the UK began and have
continued to be held in competing pubs. Proprietor
Robert Drake increased his 2003 entrys 498 weight by
more than 150 lbs. from his winning weight of 324.5
lb. last year. Second place in Great Britain went to a
returning contestant, Ian Hatcher, and his 316 lb.
Pumpkin. James Grist took third with 308. The British
ribbons will be personally delivered by Uribe who will
visitHatcher later this month  yet another friendship
forged by the IPA contest. 

At the Ohio Pumpkin Festival, B. J. Spoon of
Barnesville, Ohio, a new grower, came in with a 570 lb
entry followed by Felicia Bates of Woodsfield, Ohio
with a 563 lb. pumpkin. Darren Miller reported it had
been a difficult growing year near Barnesville  and
Wyckoff, who grew a 787.5 lber last year, had better
weather although his patch is only 200 or so mikes
from Barnesville.  


The annual WORLD PUMPKIN WEIGH-OFF began as a USA east
coast/west coast competition in 1974 between Half Moon
Bay and Circleville, Ohio, and went international in
1981 when Canada joined followed by Great Britain in
1983 and Japan in 1987. 

"The result has been not only bigger pumpkins around
the world but friendships that span continents and
language barriers," says Terry Pimsleur, IPA President
who started it all. 

"There's been quite a bit of international
seed-swapping. We even sent stud seeds to Russia to
help launch a site there but it never got off the
ground" according to Pimsleur. But were hoping to
have a Russian pumpkin in the competition in 2004,
she notes. Pimsleur points out that it wasn't until
1984 that the first pumpkin weighed in at more than
500 lbs. and broke the "barrier " winning its grower,
Norman Gallagher of Lake Chelan, Washington a
substantial cash prize. At that time, no one really
believed a 1,000 lb. pumpkin would follow in just 12
years, and now there is serious talk about a 2,000 lb.
pumpkin in the future, she adds.  

We've come a long way from the first contest when the
Circleville,Ohio Pumpkin Festival squashed Half Moon
Bay's entry with a 368 lb. Hungarian squash. The
grower of the west coast's 131 lb. pumpkin winner
complained and that led to separate weighings for
pumpkins and squash. When Half Moon Bay dropped out of
the International contest, citing the fact that other
countries, mainly the Canadians, were winning most of
the time, the IPA event continued to be held annually
in San Francisco and for the past years at Borchards,
explained Pimsleur. 

Recent world winners:

2003 1,279.5 lbs. Winston Wyckoff, Burbank, Ohio

2002  1,058  lbs.  Craig Sandvik, Vancouver, British

2001  1,144 lbs.  Geneva Emmons, Washington

2000  1,109 lbs.  Todd Skinner, Barnesville, Ohio

1999   947 lbs.  Debbie Haegens, Canada

1998   968.5lbs  Shoji Shirai, Japan

1997   911 lbs  Harold Waterbury, Canada

1996  1,061 lbs  Paula and Nathan Zehr, New York State

1995   968 lbs  Paula Zehr, New York State

1994   990  lbs.  Howard Bax, Canada

1993   884 lbs.  Donald Black, New York

1992   827 lbs.  Joel Holland, Washington State  

1991   714 lbs.  Roderick Harvey, Newport, Nova Scotia

1990   658 lbs  Darren Woodworth, Berwick, Nova Scotia


Terry Pimsleur, President, IPA

2535 Lyon Street, San Francisco, CA 9423

Phone: 415-921-4127, Fax: 415-440-9216

e-mail: terry@clearday.us 


Winston Wyckoff, The USA winner of the 2003
International Pumpkin Festivals contest , receives as
his prize a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime trip  an
expense-paid visit to the Japan Pumpkin Festival in
2004 sponsored by the Shodoshima Junior Chamber. The
Japanese event on the island of Shodoshima is held the
last weekend in September. Champion Wyckoff has
already indicated that he plans to take advantage of
his prize and the opportunity to visit Japan. 

Plans are for him to fly on the Wednesday before the
Japanese Weigh-Off to Kanzai Airport in Osaka, Japan.
Crossing the international dateline means he will
arrive on Thursday and will be met by a representative
of the JC, and will either stay overnight in Osaka
depending on arrival time, or be taken immediately via
luxury Ferryboat to the breathtaking, beautiful
island. He can choose between western and Japanese
accommodations at a hotel or Inn. 

The next day, Wyckoff and his wife, if she accompanies
the champion, will sightsee on the island with a JC
guide and attend a welcoming party hosted by the JCs
on Saturday night. Sunday is the big day and Wyckoff
will read greetings from the IPA during the on-stage
ceremonies following the Weigh-0ff there. Orange
pumpkins, green grass and a blue sea make a strong
visual memory. 

A JC delegation will see the visiting champ off for
Osaka by Ferry on Monday morning and it is the
winners choice to fly from Kanzai back to the United
States that day  or continue the trip to include
sightseeing and museums in Osaka and/or a visit to
Kyoto, with its historic temples and myriad shops. Air
travel to and from Japan is covered by the IPA for the
winner, and the winner covers the ticket cost of the
companion. The Ferry Boat rides, the welcome party and
sightseeing on the island are hosted by the JCs.
Expenses after the festival are the winners. 

Travel in Japan is easier than in some other
countries. The USA electric appliances --hairdryers,
curlers, travel coffee pots, clocks, etc., work there
as well. Many Japanese speak English and the JCs will
furnish guides/translators. 

Those former champions who have made the trip
recommend it highly as a beautiful and fascinating
experience. They have been helpful with suggestions to
those about to embark on the voyage, and willing to
give advice. From the shops and temples of Kyoto to
the olive trees, film set and monkey zoo of
Shodoshima, the trip cannot be duplicated because of
the hospitality of the Junior Chamber members and the
pumpkin growers of Japan. 

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