HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) — A gourd weighing 2,058 pounds took first prize and set a new tournament record Monday at an annual pumpkin-weighing contest in Northern California.
John Hawkley, 56, won this year's Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-off in Half Moon Bay south of San Francisco.
Hawkley "squashed" his competition, beating the runner-up by more than 300 pounds, Tim Beeman, a spokesman for the weigh-off said.
Hawkley — a production manager for a local newspaper — credited his success at least in part to warm weather. He ended up with a total of six pumpkins on a 4,500-square-foot patch of land in his front yard in California's Napa Valley, which is famous for its wine grapes. One of the other pumpkins also weighed more than 2,000 pounds.
"My wife said this is as much pumpkin patch area as I'm going to get," he said.
Hawkley said he will use the more-than $13,000 in prize money to make repairs on his home, which was damaged during a strong earthquake in the Napa area in August.
All 30 pumpkins weighed at this year's tournament were from California, according to Beeman. The contest normally gets growers from Oregon and Washington as well.
Last year's winner was also from the Napa Valley and came in at 1,985 pounds.
Hawkley's gourd will be on display this weekend at the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival.