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Mark of a pumpkin champion

Thursday, April 11, 2013  Stephanie Rangi - The Gisborne Herald

PREPARATIONS for Gisborne’s big giant pumpkin competition centred on a world champion pumpkin carver this week.

Six-time Guinness World Record holder Scott Cully showed off his pumpkin-carving skills to a small crowd in the lead-up to the Classic Bushmere Arms Giant Pumpkin competition on Sunday, April 21.

American Mr Cully is in New Zealand doing a tour, showing off his talent of turning giant pumpkins into works of art.

“After I found out I was coming to New Zealand, I searched the internet for activities that involved pumpkins,” said Mr Cully.

“I came across the giant pumpkin competition and it went from there.”

A 90-kilogram pumpkin supplied by Bushmere Arms owner Robin Pierson took just over an hour to be carved into a face.

Mr Pierson has been running the giant pumpkin competition for 11 years. Last year the competition raised $8000 for the hospice and the winning pumpkin weighed in at 216kgs.

Along with the giant pumpkin contest, there are other categories like best sculptured pumpkin, luckiest pumpkin and best looking pumpkin.

“Mr Cully was here to help promote all aspects of the competition,” said Mr Pierson.

“If you have not grown a pumpkin or won’t be carving one, you can bring along your best pumpkin recipe.”

Judging for all competitions will take place between 11am and 2pm, with over $2000 in prizes for senior and junior competitors up for grabs.

There will be a $2 fee for all activities, with proceeds going to Gisborne palliative care.

Mr Cully says the giant pumpkin competition is a good excuse to get children outside and get their hands dirty.

“I tell parents to buy their kids a pumpkin from the market every Sunday leading up to Halloween.

“I tell them to sit together as a family and to just carve the pumpkin.

“The kids are getting away from all the computer- based distractions and the family get a good excuse to spend time together,” said Mr Cully.

Mr Cully held the Guinness World Record for carving the world’s largest pumpkin in 2011. In 2010 he set a record of carving a pumpkin that weighed 821kgs.

Competitors have had about six months to grow their pumpkins after they bought the seeds needed for the competition in October last year.


Get those pumpkin giants growing
Thursday, October 25, 2012  Marino Harker-Smith - The Gisborne Herald
MORE than $2000 in prizes are up for grabs in an annual giant pumpkin-growing competition and fundraiser for Hospice Tairawhiti.

Seed packs can be bought to start growing entries for the 2013 Classic Bushmere Arms Giant Pumpkin Competition.

Official competition seed packs are available from the Bushmere Arms, Farmlands’ Gisborne and Wairoa stores, The Gisborne Herald and Parkview Garden Centre for $10, with all profits going to the hospice — formerly called the Gisborne Palliative Care Service.

Seeds are also sold at the Saturday Gisborne Farmers Market.

The weigh-in event is not until April 21, festival day, from 11am to 2pm at the Bushmere Arms.

Competition organiser Georgina Dunlop recommends people get their seeds now to allow more time for their pumpkins to grow.

New this year to the competition is a separate schools competition. This was added because of school groups’ interest in the competition last year, said Miss Dunlop.

“It’s also a really good thing to get your children involved, as in addition to growing the pumpkin there are fun activities for children to get stuck into at the festival day.

“We’re really excited about the potential for the school group competition and hope to get a heaps of school groups involved again this year,” she said.

Miss Dunlop said last year was not the greatest weather for growing pumpkins but they still managed to get some of the heaviest weights on record, which boded well for the competition as it now headed into its 11th year.

This year the winner of the heaviest pumpkin award was Parkview Garden Centre owner Jared Owen and 12-year-old son Connor.

Their 216kg pumpkin blitzed the 260-odd entry pool at the weigh-in in April this year, which raised $8000 for palliative care.

Mr Owen has already bought his seeds for the 2013 competition but is waiting for the weather to warm up a bit more before sowing.

The competition was a good opportunity to teach his son about gardening and taking responsibility, although the five-month time span meant Connor’s patience and concentration was tested at times, he said.

Mr Owen’s advice to people entering the competition this year was to give their plants “lots of water” and “lots of shelter”.

“You don’t want it in direct sunlight because the light hardens the shell and stops it from growing.”

As well as prizes for the heaviest pumpkin for children’s and adults categories, prizes are also awarded for pumpkin sculptures, luckiest pumpkin, best pumpkin recipe, nail driving, squash throwing, pumpkin dig and the best looking pumpkin.

There is also the Portside Guess the Weight competition and Parkview Nursery Snail Races.