The World Pumpkin Confederation - History

Giant Pumpkin Growing first attained international acclaim at the turn of twentieth century when the late William Warnock of Goderich, Ontario, Canada, sent a 400 pound specimen to the Paris World's Fair in 1900. This first ever 400 pounder was awarded a special bronze medal and diploma from the French government. Mr. Warnock's previous record was 365 pounds in 1893. Then, to clinch his world championship, Warnock exhibited a 403 pounder in 1903 at the St. Louis World's Fair.

The record existed until 1976 when Bob Ford of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, USA exhibited a 451 pound specimen at the U.S. Pumpkin Contest in Churchville, PA. Yearly International Competition was revived again in 1979 when Canadian Howard Dill of Windsor, Nova Scotia won his first of four consecutive international pumpkinship titles at the Cornell Contest in Pennsylvania. Mr. Dill's first world record of 459 pounds came in 1980 which he supassed in 1981 by harvesting a 493.5 pound pumpkin.

In 1984 American grower Norman Gallagher of Chelan, Washington set a new world mark of 612 pounds at the second annual World Pumpkin Confederation Weigh-Off.

In 1986, Bob Gancarz of Wrightstown, New Jersey entered an astonishing 671 pound pumpkin at the WPC Weigh-Off Capitol in Collins, New York. Leonard Stellpflug broke the world record in the squash class in 1988 when he grew a 653.5 pounder. In 1989, three specimens broke the 700 pound barrier while GordonThomson of Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada won the day and the World Record at the WPC Weigh-Off in Collins, with his 755 pound pumpkin. In the squash class, Leonard Stellpflug broke his own record to reestablish the World Record title with a 743 pound specimen. In the 1990 contest, Ed Gancarz has a pumpkin specimen weighing in at 816.5 pounds, while Len Stellpflug had an 807 pound squash. Stellpflug, earlier in the season grew a 821 pound world record making him the first ever to grow two 800 pound specimens in a single year. The 300 pound watermelon is still elusive although Waddell Estep entered a 245 pounder. Ray Waterman, the WPC President, entered a 99 inch world record long gourd. In 1991 more growers entered the 700 lb. club with all five being entered at Collins. Ray Waterman and Ayo Ogungbuyi entered the winning pumpkin at 780.5 lb. and Alan Nesbitt won the squash class at 733.0. Ivan and Lloyd Bright took top honor for the watermelon with 229.5 lb. at Hope, Arkansas. The 1992 season saw world records again being set, with Joel Holland of Puyallup, WA, weighing in at an amazing 827 lb. and Richard Wright extending the bushel gourd mark to 231.5 lb. Norm Craven broke the world mark in 1993 with a 836 lb. pumpkin. Phil Lillie, another Ontario grower, recorded a 53.5 lb. record rutabaga. Experts predict that either a green squash or a pumpkin will exceed 1,000 pounds by the turn of the century! Many other vegetables, fruit and flower world records are held by WPC members and the WPC is fast becoming the greatest gardening organization in the world.

For additional information, please phone, write, or email the:

14050 Rt. 62
Collins, New York 14034
(716) 532-5995
FAX: 532-5690
email: (Ray Waterman, WPC President)

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Textfile Courtesy of Ray Waterman
Reprinted with permission from the World Pumpkin Confederation
Last Updated: Fri Sep 06 10:30:00PM CST 1996