Giant pumpkin or flying saucer?
Giant pumpkin or flying saucer? 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?
Lexile: 1290L

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A farmer won a Northern California contest with a record-setting 1,806-pound pumpkin that judges nicknamed "The Flying Saucer" because of its wide and flat shape.
Tim Mathison was one of about 50 big-pumpkin farmers to haul their heaviest crops to the annual weigh-in at the Elk Grove Giant Pumpkin & Harvest Festival.
Most of the pumpkins entered in the Oct. 3 contest were grown in about 90 days, sometimes growing as fast as 30 pounds per day, said Brian Myers, chairman of the California Pumpkin Growers Association. There were about half as many pumpkins entered this year than in previous years, largely due to what farmers said were overly hot and suboptimal growing conditions.
According to the Sacramento Bee newspaper, Mathison collected $12,000 in prize money but he says the most important part of the event was sharing it with his 28-year-old daughter Tara, who uses a wheelchair and has a neurodevelopmental disorder called Rett syndrome. She was with him almost every night as he tended to his patch, he said.
He purchased the unique seed from which he grew the pumpkin from the Make-a-Wish Foundation, a charity that arranges joyful experiences for children with life-threatening conditions.
"She knows what it's all about," he said. "It makes her really happy."
The winning pumpkin beat last year's monster pumpkin, which weighed in at 1,584 pounds. But no one came close to beating the national record for heaviest pumpkin, 2,154 pounds.

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How did Tim Mathison benefit, in addition to the prize money?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • tylerl-day
    10/09/2015 - 07:58 p.m.

    Pumpkins are pretty cool I guess. I had no idea they could grow up to 30 pounds a day. I wonder how many pumpkin pies I could make with that pumpkin. I was happy to hear the man gave the money to his daughter. He left there not only with money but with pride. Good job Mr. Farmer.

  • melissaj-Ste
    10/11/2015 - 06:58 p.m.

    This pumpkin is actually pretty impressive. I don't think you could ever get a plant to grow this size without some sort of growth serum. I've also heard that America is having a pumpkin famine due to flooding, similar to the egg famine. So this pumpkin is surprising.

  • adamc-lef
    10/13/2015 - 11:19 a.m.


  • sierrab-ste
    10/13/2015 - 11:38 a.m.

    How is it even possible for a pumpkin to get this big? It's pretty cool though that the guy got this seed from the Make A Wish Foundation. Maybe it will help sponsor that and more people will go and buy things to benefit the foundation. How did this guy even get the pumpkin to the harvest festival, that is way to heavy for him or even a bunch of people together to lift. It's just so amazing that there's a pumpkin this big.

  • derekh-day
    10/13/2015 - 12:17 p.m.

    I wonder what they do with all of these pumpkins. It would be pretty cool if they were put towards charity of some sort like a thanksgiving dinner for people who can't afford one. Two thousand pounds of pumpkin is a lot to hand out and can feed a lot of families. It's nice to see money put towards good causes.

  • ll2016-cla
    10/13/2015 - 02:27 p.m.

    In addition to the money he got to share his experience with his disabled daughter.

  • aaroni-pay
    10/14/2015 - 11:03 a.m.

    This article is absolutely amazing and shows us the prowess of mother nature. It is absolutely fascinating but he should have made it into a pumpkin pie. ;)

  • jordanb-pay
    10/14/2015 - 11:08 a.m.

    Yes this is odd news, man I didn't think pumpkins could even weigh that much that right there.

  • joshuab3-wil
    10/14/2015 - 11:15 a.m.

    It is very shocking that a 1,806-pound pumpkin grew in such bad conditions! On top of this win it beat last year's pumpkin by 200 pounds! The only thing I wonder is, what will they do will the pumpkin? All I know is it would make one amazing pumpkin pie.

  • matthewc-day
    10/16/2015 - 10:12 p.m.

    This is a crazy story to me. A pumpkin that weighs over 1,000 pounds seems like a Halloween myth to me. I had no idea that a pumpkin could grow to such an enormous size. But honestly, now I want to buy some giant pumpkin seeds and try to see how bug of a pumpkin I can grow. I think it's really cool that the father grew this pumpkin with his daughter and he and her worked together throughout the whole process. That;s what being a parent is all about. I'm glad this story has such a good family story attached to it.

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