World’s biggest squash on display at first ever Mountain State Growers ‘Wild & Wonderful Weigh-Off’ in Craigsville

By Matthew Young, RealWV

CRAIGSVILLE, W.Va. – The Great Pumpkins – and tomatoes, and watermelons, and gourds…oh my – came to Craigsville on Saturday, for the first-ever Mountain State Growers Wild & Wonderful Weigh-Off. Running in conjunction with Craigsville’s annual Fall Festival, the weigh-off featured plenty of smiles to be shared, memories to be made, and world records to be broken.

“I’ve got the smallest watermelon,” Albert Rodebaugh told RealWV before the weighing began. “It’s probably going to be over 100 pounds, but it’ll still be eleventh place and we only have ten places.” 

Unfortunately for Albert, his prediction became reality. Despite weighing in at 103.8 pounds, his watermelon finished just outside the top ten. However Albert’s son, Chris Rodebaugh, whose melon tipped the scales at 108.6, did slightly better with ninth place. The winning watermelon, weighing an astonishing 267.8 pounds, was lovingly grown by A. Vial.

“I’ve got the smallest watermelon, so I guess I miss out on the money,” Albert said laughingly. 

Grower Jason Lewis celebrates his world record-winning squash. Phot by Matthew Young, RealWV.

The biggest news of the day came from grower Jason Lewis, and his 123.8 pound butternut squash. Despite being entered as an “exhibition fruit” and therefore ineligible to earn prize money, Lewis’ homegrown behemoth squashed the previous best of 104.5 pounds en route to setting a new world record. 

Lewis’ squash was initially recorded at 123.5 pounds. However, after a second trip to the scale, the correct weight was determined to be slightly higher, prompting Lewis to quip, “It’s still growing.”

At a whopping 5.47 pounds, Chris Rodebaugh, who competed in several categories throughout the day, grew the largest tomato, while Pennsylvania grower Justin Lint’s bushel gourd topped out at 235 pounds. 

Spotsylvania, Virginia’s Hank Houston, who is that state’s current watermelon record-holder, added another state record to his growing collection by way of his must-be-seen-to-be-believed 133-inch long gourd. Houston’s effort bested the previous record of 113 by some 20 inches.

In the day’s headline-attraction, more than 20 massive pumpkins showed up – just as big as advertised. They arrived in pick-up truck beds and on trailers. While they came in several different shapes, and even a small variety of colors, they were all enormous.

Wayne County Grower Bob Cyrus’ 1st place pumpkin. Photo by Matthew Young, RealWV.

Grower Bob Cyrus of Wayne County took first place on the day. His pumpkin, the second largest to ever be grown in the State of West Virginia, weighed in at 2,131 pounds.

Foodland of Craigsville graciously hosted the Mountain State Growers Wild & Wonderful Weigh-Off. The event was made possible through the sponsorship of Tractor Supply Co., Pizza Hut, GoMart, The City of Summersville, Signs by Rapps, Leslie Equipment Co., and the Mountain Valley Pipeline. 

Mountain State Growers Wild & Wonderful Weigh-Off organizer Terri Rodebaugh thanks the event’s sponsors. Video by Matthew Young, RealWV.

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