In this Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, photo, staff members ready to weigh the grand prize winning pumpkin at the Elk Grove Giant Pumpkin Festival in Elk Grove, Calif. This year's pumpkin grown by Tim Mathison, of Napa, Calif., wasn’t big and round, but wide and flat, leading judges to nickname it “The Flying Saucer.” (Sammy Caiola/Sacramento Bee via AP)
Giant pumpkin or flying saucer?
October 09, 2015
A farmer won a Northern California pumpkin contest. He grew a record-setting 1,806-pound pumpkin. The judges nicknamed it "The Flying Saucer." That was because it had a wide and flat shape.
Tim Mathison hauled his pumpkin to the annual weigh-in. He was one of about 50 big-pumpkin farmers to attend the event. The weigh-in was at the Elk Grove Giant Pumpkin & Harvest Festival.
Most of the pumpkins entered in the Oct. 3 contest were grown in about 90 days. Some grew as fast as 30 pounds per day, said Brian Myers. He is chairman of the California Pumpkin Growers Association.
There were about half as many pumpkins entered this year than in prior years. That was largely due to what farmers said were overly hot growing conditions.
According to the Sacramento Bee newspaper, Mathison won $12,000 in prize money. He said the most important part of the event was sharing it with his 28-year-old daughter. Her name is Tara. She uses a wheelchair. Tara has a neurodevelopmental disorder. It is called Rett syndrome. She was with him almost every night as he took care of his patch, he said.
He bought the seed that he used to grow the pumpkin from the Make-a-Wish Foundation. It is a charity. They arrange fun events for children with life-threatening conditions.
"She knows what it is all about," he said. "It makes her really happy."
The winning pumpkin beat last year's monster pumpkin. That one weighed in at 1,584 pounds. No one came close to beating the national record for heaviest pumpkin. That record is 2,154 pounds.
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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How did Tim Mathison benefit, in addition to the prize money?
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