LITTLE ROCK — This year’s great pumpkin arrived in plenty of time for Halloween.
Arkansas 4-H youth from across the state trucked their home-grown pumpkins and watermelons to the Cooperative Extension Service headquarters in Little Rock on Oct. 10 for the annual Giant Pumpkin and Watermelon contest.
Eleven-year-old Mark “Buster” Passmore from Greene County won both divisions, delivering a 334-pound giant pumpkin and a 111.5-pound watermelon. He took home ribbons and $600 in prize money for his double win.
“This is going straight into my college fund,” he said.
This was Passmore’s third win at the state level and the first year one person has won both divisions. Passmore’s pumpkin was smaller than his 491-pound winner last year, but it was still large enough to need a forklift to unload.
The Greene County 4-H member said he planted his prize winner on May 24 and picked it Oct. 3, a week before the weigh-in. The secret to growing a big pumpkin, he said, is “plenty of organic matter and talking to it.”
About 30 4-H members, ages 9-19, participated in this year’s contest, which is usually held at the Arkansas State Fair. With this year’s limited fair activity, the contest was moved to Extension’s state office.
All participants grew the same varieties: Carolina Cross watermelons and Dill’s Atlantic Giant pumpkins.