OK, we’re coming up on Halloween. Time to head to the nursery and buy some harvest decorations. And a good time to weigh in on a few slightly relevant things.
Let’s start with something rather small, like… a hay bale. Most hay bales are 3-4 feet long and about 2 feet square. They weigh about 100 pounds, making them a little hard to pick up and move around, but manageable. Unless, of course, by ‘hay bale’ you mean one of those huge wheels you might see standing out in a field. Those weigh well over 1000 pounds; you’d need a forklift to pick one up and if you put one on your porch it would probably crush it.
Now, hay is for horses. And when you think ‘horse,’ you naturally think of… Secretariat. Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973 and set race records for all three events that stand to this day. He could run 49 miles per hour. He stood about five and a half feet tall at the withers. And he weighed 1,175 pounds.
If you put 50 such horses together, you’d expect they would weigh about 60,000 pounds. But they don’t. Consider that the most-manufactured automotive engine in the history of the world had the power of 50 horses. It was a strange air-cooled contraption mounted in the back of a car that looked kinda like a big round pumpkin and that was barely faster than Secretariat. That car was…the Volkswagen Beetle. Over 21 million of these oddities were manufactured in different parts of the world between 1938 and 2003. And the classic Beetle (think 1967), weighed 1,850 pounds. Almost a ton.
And finally, if you think ‘1967’ and ‘Volkswagen Beetle,’ your mind naturally goes to California, the Summer of Love and perhaps some commune along the beach near San Mateo. Maybe a beautiful place like… Half Moon Bay. Where at this time each year they hold the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival, which features a contest. And this year, a teacher of horticulture named Travis Gienger came all the way from Minnesota to the contest. He came with one of his experiments. It was a pumpkin. A rather large pumpkin.
It was too big to pick up with a forklift, so they used a crane. They had to be careful not to break it. They hoisted it up and set it down. And as the scale settled, it showed the pumpkin weighed more than 27 bales of hay. More than 2.3 Secretariats. Way more than a Volkswagen.
It’s this year’s winner of the Safeway World Champion Pumpkin Weigh-Off. It’s the heaviest pumpkin ever grown. It weighs 2,740 pounds.
For his efforts, Travis was awarded a $30K check from Safeway. Which means that his pumpkin is not only the heaviest, it’s also probably the most expensive, at about $11 a pound.
– Mike Keeler