By Tracy Courage
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.
“Many of the youth we have participating in the 4-H Giant Pumpkin and Watermelon contest are youth who have an interest in horticulture,” said Priscella Thomas-Scott, 4-H events coordinator for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “This is hands-on learning for them, and we are excited to see so many participate.”
All participants grew the same varieties: Carolina Cross watermelons and Dill’s Atlantic Giant pumpkins.
Colby Daniell, 17, a high school junior from Arkadelphia, has been participating in the annual contest since 2013. This year, his 97-pound watermelon earned him a third-place win.
Teresa Staton and her family have also competed for several years. Three of her four children – Adalyn, 15, Owen, 13, and Ivy, 11 – grew pumpkins and watermelons. Staton’s youngest child, Isaac 8, even grew a pumpkin for the Logan County fair this year. They plan to use their pumpkins for fall porch decorations and eventually “we’ll feed them to our cows and horses,” she said.
1st place — Buster Passmore, Greene County, 334 pounds
2nd place — Ayden Rhinehart, Logan County, 92.5 pounds
3rd place — Carissa Webster, Logan County, 76 pounds
4th place — Hayden Ward, Garland County, 74.5 pounds
5th place — Carson Webster, Logan County, 71.5 pounds
6th place — Landon Keeling, Pope County, 68 pounds
7th place — Ivy Staton, Logan County, 59.25 pounds
8th place — Adalyn Staton, Logan County, 51 pounds
9th place — Joseph Haywood, Greene County, 50.5 pounds
10th place — Michael Haywood, Greene County, 46 pounds
1st place – Buster Passmore, Greene County, 111.5 pounds
2nd place — Ayden Rhinehart, Logan County, 101.5 pounds
3rd place — Colby Daniell, Clark County, 97.25 pounds
4th place — Emily Rhodes, Saline County, 72 pounds
5th place — Ivy Staton, Logan County, 59.25 pounds
6th place — Carson Webster, Logan County, 58 pounds
7th place — Adalyn Staton, Logan County, 55 pounds
8th place — Owen Staton, Logan County, 46.3 pounds
4-H is the premier youth development program of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. Programs are offered in every county in Arkansas.Source : uaex.edu