Published on 10/29/18

Union County 4-H member wins top pumpkin prize with 644-pound gourd

By Sadie Lackey

Pumpkins are a staple of the fall season. Some people like pumpkins baked in pie, and some like them carved and lit up on their front porches for Halloween. Georgia 4-H’ers, on the other hand, like them to weigh hundreds of pounds. 

Each year, Georgia 4-H holds a pumpkin-growing contest where student members have the opportunity to put their green thumb to the test and grow a pumpkin that will outweigh the rest. 

Jessie Holbrook of Union County, who submitted a pumpkin weighing 644 pounds, took first place in the pumpkin-growing contest this year. Lauren Wheeler of Laurens County won second place with a 511-pound pumpkin, and Reagan Covington of Union County placed third with a pumpkin weighing 479 pounds. The top three 4-H’ers will receive a cash prize from the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association to celebrate their hard work. 

Other noteworthy pumpkin growers include:

  • Morgan Peney of Union County,  whose 463-pound pumpkin came in fourth place
  • Aliceyn Covington of Union County, whose 340-pound pumpkin came in fifth place
  • Jordan Pandolph of Union County, whose 307-pound pumpkin came in sixth place
  • Grayson Collins of Union County, whose 199-pound pumpkin came in seventh place
  • Maggie Payne of Union County, whose 171-pound pumpkin came in eighth place
  • Lane Anderson of Lumpkin County, whose 165-pound pumpkin came in ninth place
  • Drew Grimes of Tift County, whose 155-pound pumpkin came in tenth place

Georgia 4-H Program Specialist Michael Rabalais, who organizes the 4-H pumpkin-growing contest as well as the summer watermelon-growing contest, said that the competitions sharpen participants’ gardening skills and give them a feeling of accomplishment.

“I love the pumpkin-growing contest because I think it teaches our youth a lot of really valuable skills. It’s hard to raise a pumpkin as big as some of the ones our 4-H’ers submit, and to do so requires a huge amount of patience, dedication and responsibility, so getting to celebrate those traits is really exciting,” Rabalais said. “I’m so glad 4-H’ers respond so well to the competition, and I hope I get to see even bigger pumpkins next year.”

For more information about the Georgia 4-H Pumpkin Growing Contest, contact the Georgia 4-H agent in your county by calling 1-800-ASK-UGA1.

Sadie Lackey is a student writer for the CAES Office of Communications and Creative Services.

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