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The Great Pumpkin Contest

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[photopress:IMG_7751.jpg,thumb,1]My family’s dinner conversations have gone from how to eradicate war and famine to the intricacies of growing the biggest pumpkin. (Though I am sure my obsessed husband Jamie would somehow argue the latter is the solution to world peace).

It started out innocently last spring when he planted the first pumpkin seed. Over the summer, he and our daughter Hadley religiously watered and watched it grow from a molehill to a mountain.

Unfortunately, so did his competitive drive.

“I had only hoped for the biggest pumpkin on the street. Now I think it could be the biggest in the city!!!!!”

Next stop: the world.

Jamie decided to enter it into our local harvest festival and I, good wife that I am, humored him. Until the flood came. It started with his barrage of pumpkin-related emails and then it totally engulfed our dinner conversations.

“I read online that I need to cut the stem right before the competition.”


“It then says I should put the stem into a gallon of water.”


“Did you know a pumpkin can lose up to five pounds within the few hours of being cut?”

You get the point.

He arose at the crack of dawn on Saturday for the official vine cutting. He had roped our poor neighbor into helping haul it to my car. He then rolled down the windows and banned me from driving due to the damage he surmised that I would inflict upon it.

Several hours later, he entered it into the competition. He feigned indifference until he saw some kids posing for pictures on his pride and joy.


Let The Pumpkin Beatings begin.

I was just ready for it to be over. For this to be a chapter carefully folded away into the Johnson Family History of Dysfunction, never to be spoken of again.

Until he won.

Now as a reminder, I have his winner’s certificate, $50 in prize money and an overstuffed 141.5-pound pumpkin that is taking up the entirety of our front porch.

Unless some of those punk kids want to find out what smashing pumpkins are all about.


Editors note: Jamie insisted I use this photo vs. a more flattering one of him because “the pumpkin looks better.” How is that for dedication?[photopress:IMG_7739.jpg,full,1]

Amber Johnson
Author: Amber Johnson

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

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  • comment avatar Loralee October 15, 2007

    That is HUGE! Talk about gardening dedication. DANG.

  • comment avatar Gina October 15, 2007

    141 lbs!!?? You guys will be eating pumpkin pie for months!! Unless, of course, a gang of “punk kids” beat you to it.

  • comment avatar nikko October 15, 2007

    Wow! That is one big pumpkin. You must be so proud. ;o)

  • comment avatar Pendullum October 15, 2007

    Talking about the Great Pumpkin!
    Geez, that is one proud pumpkin grower….
    Annnnnnnddddddd? ?????
    Is he going to carve it for Hallowe’en????

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson October 15, 2007

    You BET he’s going to carve it!!! Any guesses how long it’ll take? He’s disillusioned to think he will send the seeds on eBay for millions. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • comment avatar chris October 15, 2007


    Well, that IS a big pumpkin ๐Ÿ˜€

    And I have recently entered a life of crime by becoming a drive by pumpkin thief.

    Long story.

    But if you are interested in putting a contract out on your pumpkin e-mail me ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Tee Hee.

  • comment avatar Tonya October 15, 2007

    Oddly, I look at this and all I see if pumpkin pie…YUMMO!! That’s a lot of pie.

  • comment avatar Melissa October 15, 2007

    That is one big pumpkin! I hope you take lots and lots of pictures of the carving process and finished product!

  • comment avatar Annie October 15, 2007

    Pumpkin pie for everyone!

  • comment avatar FFG October 15, 2007

    I think he has found his calling in life…time to quit his job & become a pumpkin farmer.

  • comment avatar Kimberly October 15, 2007

    What a guy!

  • comment avatar wendy on Oahu October 15, 2007

    How cool is that! I love that he’s planning to sell his award winning pumpkin seeds on ebay – brilliant!

  • comment avatar Suzanne October 15, 2007

    Yay for winning the competition! Gosh, if you can be trusted driving a wedding cake, then I certainly think you could have gotten the pumpkin there safely! Sheesh! ;D

  • comment avatar mo mommy October 15, 2007

    I saw a show on PBS about giant pumpkin growers. Those are some SERIOUS gardeners! Hate to break it to J, but their pumpkins made his look like a mini! But since I have yet to get a pumpkin to grow in my garden, Way to go J!!!

  • comment avatar dana October 15, 2007

    I had heard your husband had a very large….pumpkin. ha ha

    Seriously, that is one big melon!!!! Wow. You guys crack me up.

  • comment avatar Lizzy October 15, 2007

    I remember reading in one of the little house one the prairie books that you should put a part of the vine in milk to help a pumpkin grow bigger. I’m sure you wanted to hear that. Now you should all sit and watch Wallace and Grommit and the case of the Ware Rabbit.

  • comment avatar Mel October 15, 2007

    You go Jaime! It is huge! I would be the same way if I started growing them.

  • comment avatar diana/sunshine October 15, 2007

    and… you get to look forward to this being an annual thing. it is an impressive pumpkin.

  • comment avatar Erin October 15, 2007


  • comment avatar Aimee October 15, 2007

    OK, so forgive me for asking, but does the size of his pumpkin relate to the… oh nevermind… awesome gardening skills there, Jamie!

  • comment avatar Allie October 15, 2007

    Are you sure that Jamie and Hadley only fed that thing water? Looks a little suspicious to me …..

  • comment avatar Amy October 16, 2007

    Uh oh, what’s it going to be next year? Biggest cucumber? LOL

  • comment avatar Damselfly October 16, 2007

    Wow, what a pumpkin! I’ve heard those giant pumpkins are actually inedible because of all the fertilizer you need to make them grow … but maybe that was for those superhuge ones that are, like, 1,000 pounds? Just how many pies are you baking this Thanksgiving? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • comment avatar Guinevere Meadow October 18, 2007

    Yay Jamie!!

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