WATERTOWN, S.D. (KELO) — From pies to lattes to jack-o-lanterns, everyone knows that fall is the season of pumpkins.
But some people take their pumpkins very seriously.
It all started back in 1998 when Ryan Althoff saw a picture of Greg Kurkowski’s record-winning pumpkin in the newspaper.
“I didn’t know a pumpkin could get that large. So I called up Greg for a seed and I started growing in 1999,” says Ryan Althoff.
Kurkowski, who holds the current South Dakota state record, gave Ryan a seed, and the rest was history.
“Well, it’s fun to watch them grow. My first pumpkin weighed 368 pounds. And I was hooked,” says Ryan.
“He promised me, he said, ‘As soon as I hit 1000 pounds, I’ll quit,'” says Traci.
Ryan is nowhere near quitting, fortunately, his wife Traci is also slowly becoming a pumpkin fanatic… no matter how much time and energy it takes.
“He’s out there during the summer… I’d say probably an average of four hours a day. I call myself a pumpkin widow,” says wife Traci Althoff.
While all three of his ‘smaller’ pumpkins are massive, none of them are the one that Althoff hopes will break the state record.
“It’s estimating a little over 1700 pounds. So I figured it’s gonna have to go about 7% heavy to beat Greg’s record at 1823 and we won’t know until we weigh it,” says Ryan.
With the largest pumpkin still in the field, it is difficult to weigh, so there’s a system to predict weights.
“We measure them, measure in three ways. And there’s a chart so it’s an estimated weight. So you don’t know if they’re gonna go light or heavy depending on the thickness of the walls,” says Ryan.
And with the other three of his giant pumpkins weighing more than predicted, Ryan and Traci have high hopes for this monster of a pumpkin breaking the state record.
Althoff is removing it from the vine over 100 days since its pollination, so that he can take it to get weighed, hopefully beating the 1,823-pound record.