Cheyenne Duo Smash Wyoming Pumpkin Record with 2,062 lb Gourd
It's the Great Pumpkin, Cheyenne. Except, instead of Linus greeting this gourd with a warm blanket, it's Andy and Amy Corbin. No, really - tucking pumpkins in at night plays a significant role in growing giant pumpkins here in Wyoming. And those warm blankets and the daily love and care of the Corbins created one heck of a pumpkin this year.
When the Corbins loaded up their giant pumpkin for the Fort Collins Nursey annual Pumpkin Weigh-off, they had their sights set on breaking the Wyoming state record for 'Largest Pumpkin' grown in the state, a record the Corbins had set last year with a whopping 1,854 pounds of gourd.
Little did they know they were not only about to break their previous record...some would say they smashed it. On Saturday, October 14, the Corbins were informed they had grown a monstrous 2,062 lb pumpkin - just over a ton. For comparison, an adult male bison averages a weight between 1,000 and 2,000 lbs.
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The Corbins blasted Wyoming's 'Largest Pumpkin' record out of the water at the Fort Collins weigh-in, and they also won the day with the largest pumpkin at the event. After months of hard work, their gourd (lovingly named 'Carmen') proved to be the star of the show.
"It's crazy. It's awesome. It's a great feeling." said Amy when asked about the results.
For Andy Corbin, a database administrator for the State by day, earning such a record was a natural progression of a hobby spanning decades. "Well, I've always enjoyed growing pumpkins," he explained. "I started when I was 11 years old for 4-H...there's a picture of me in the newspaper when I was 11 years old and a big pumpkin for me at the time; it was a field pumpkin, and I've always tried to grow biggest pumpkins."
The Corbins moved to Cheyenne from Casper, after which Andy decided to start up the pumpkin patch again. Of course, Amy couldn't let Andy have all the fun. She began working alongside him a few years into the game, and the dynamic duo has been smashing pumpkin records ever since.
"When we moved back to Cheyenne, I got back at it again. I went back to just really big field pumpkins and then [ran] into John Stelin about 13 or 14 years ago. He gave me the Atlantic Dill "We broke the county record, like, the next year. And then from there, I was like, okay, what's the state record? So now it's like, the world record is only 2,749. So that I'm like, yeah, yeah, we just have to."
What Does It Take to Grow Giant Pumpkins in Wyoming?
Growing something as gargantuan as Carmen the Pumpkin takes time, space, and the right seed. For growers like the Corbins, tracking and maintaining the genealogy of their pumpkins is critical to success. So critical that Andy Corbin created a website dedicated to tracking pumpkin genealogy, tools.pumpkinfanatic.com. It's now used by growers across the globe. They go so far as to hand-fertilize selected seeds to avoid any contamination from bees or other pollinators. For the Corbins, their distinguished line of pumpkins began with a seed from Mohamed Sadiq, a Giant Pumpkin Grower from Utah.
DID YOU KNOW? All pumpkins are female! Amy Corbin explained all pumpkins are female, which is why the Corbins have to hand pollinate their plants. According to the Missouri Botanical Gardens, only female flowers on a pumpkin plant will grow fruit.
It takes months to prep the fields for the pumpkins; each giant needs about 800 ft. of fertilized soil to grow. But once the pumpkins are in the ground, they practically explode with growth. According to Amy, giant pumpkins like the 2,062 lb Carmen can gain upwards of 50 lbs a day! It only took the state record-breaker 122 days to reach its monstrous size.
What's Next for the Dynamic Duo?
The Corbins have one final pumpkin still attached to the vine. Named 'Blanca,' the pumpkin will be weighed this weekend in Colorado Springs. Amy estimated it at 1,700 lbs as of Tuesday, October 17.
After plucking their final pumpkin, Amy and Andy will be taking a year off from their Giant Pumpkin mission. The time off will allow the soil to rest and gain nutrients to fuel the next giant in their line of award-winning pumpkins. In the meantime, the Corbins plan to grow field pumpkins - Amy likes to bring them to her students at Dildine - and maybe dabble in vegetables next season. After a well-deserved break, the Corbins will return to the competition with their sights set on smashing the world record, a whopping 2,749 lbs grown by a Minnesota horticulture instructor, Travis Gienger.
Where Can You See the Record-Breaking Pumpkin?
Folks can view 'Carmen' at the Gardens on Spring Creek's 'Pumpkins on Parade' event in FoCo. The annual festival features intricately carved pumpkin displays, games, trick-or-treating, and activities for kids and their parents to enjoy. Find more info on the event here.
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Gallery Credit: Phylicia Peterson, Townsquare Media Laramie/Cheyenne