“i’m the king of the gourd!”



last weekend, the residents of tualatin, oregon held its annual west coast giant pumpkin regatta—a quirky annual october event in which participants dress in costumes, hollow giant gourds into makeshift vessels, and paddle them across a local lake.

the oversized squash are generously provided by the pacific giant vegetable growers, a regional group of gardeners who promote the cultivation of “obscenely large, healthy vegetables.” (this year, one of their offerings tipped the scale at 1,794.5 pounds.)

after the pumpkins are measured in a “terminator weigh off,” they’re cut open, scooped out, and transformed into tiny watercrafts.

contestants climb into them, take to the water, and engage in a series of races—that is, if their boats don’t start leaking, which happened to at least one contestant.

twenty-one individuals attempted the 2015 regatta—a physical feat that, despite its whimsical nature, one frustrated rower described to as “brutal” and “exhausting.” now in its 12th incarnation, the regatta drew thousands of onlookers, who enjoyed pie-eating contests, costume competitions, and live entertainment while they weren’t watching others flail around in the water.

“i would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself,

than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”

― henry david thoreau

credits: mental floss magazine, oregon live
















50 responses »

  1. What an amazing race. ha! I wasn’t aware that gourds would even float let alone carry a rower. I would imagine paddling a 1,000+ pound boat that has no front or back and is corrugated all around , would be a massive endeavor. When my wife’s kids were small ==about 4 and 6 = I bought two pumpkins that were about 750 pounds each (there are some gigantic pumpkin growers here too – they get their seeds from an award winner in Nova Scotia). I used a company tractor-trailer with a 28 foot pup trailer with a tailgate. I took along a pallet jack and two pallets. We rolled the pumpkins onto the pallets at the farm and then hoisted them into the pup trailer with the tailgate. When we got home, I was able to get close enough to set them on the front porch (concrete) – one on either side of the door with the tailgate. We helped the kids clean them out and then put a kid inside each pumpkin and put the lid on. When their friends would come, they would pop up in the pumpkins. They thought it was hilarious. Scared the daylights out of the neighbors. ha!

    Great post Beth. Thanks for the memories.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Total fun!!!
    I would imagine one could put a lot of thought in to what kind of a paddle would work best,
    where on the pumpkin to carve the hole to get the best leverage and balance, etc., etc……a lot of math skills being put to use…….so when kids ask why do I need algebra, etc. ….
    here’s a meaningful
    example. :))

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Beth … I guess I have lived a boring life, because this is one of the wildest things I’ve heard of. This was a great post. Maybe you should work for NBC News, or CNN, etc. You could travel around and cover cool stories, about “stuff” no one has ever heard of before. Ohhhhhh, I just remembered: when people say “You’re out of your gourd!”, they are referring to when these competitors are finished, and they step out of their gourd. I learn something new everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • i love the idea of this and that would be a dream job for me. for now, i’ll do my reporting from my little cottage and my local sidewalks. i’ve sought out these stories all of my life, love the offbeat local stories in newspapers and the unusual from around the world. like a moth to the flame i guess )

      Liked by 1 person

  4. In Ohio, we have the last county fair of the year, The Circleville Pumpkin Show. It is always fun to see pumpkins this huge, Beth! Wow, it would be quite fun to plan a trip to Oregon to see these at their regatta.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Freshly Impressed #15 | My thoughts on a page.

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