Oct. 15 (UPI) — A 2,350-pound pumpkin called “The Tiger King” has been named the winning pumpkin in a competition.
Travis Gienger, of Minnesota, who grew the pumpkin, told CNN he felt honored to win after decided to enter the contest in Northern California since it’s known as the “Super Bowl of Pumpkins.”
He took home $ 16,450 in winnings for first prize in the pumpkin growing competition, or $ 7 per pound by the “pay-by-the-pound” system.
Gienger added that he named the winning pumpkin after the Netflix series, Tiger King, because he noticed it might have striped coloring.
“It was kind of funny deciding the name for this little, little pumpkin at the time,” he said. “I noticed that it might be orange and white stripes and my brother goes. ‘Oh it’s 2020. We should name him Tiger King.’ And I thought that’s great!”
“The Tiger King” also set a record for the heaviest grown pumpkin in North America this year, according to contest officials.
“The Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off” congratulated Gienger in a Facebook post, calling him “this year’s Pumpkin King of Half Moon Bay!”
Gienger said that he drove 35 hours from Anoka, Minn., to transport the gourd, which he planted on April 11, to the contest in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Monday.
He added that he took precautions to care for the pumpkin on the trip, including wrapping the pumpkin in wet blankets with air tarp over that, and watering it down at gas station stops.
“People were wondering what we were hauling when we stopped at the gas station and we had to throw buckets of water on it,” Gienger said. “It was kind of funny.”
Since 1974, growers have gathered every Columbus Day in Half Moon Bay to compete in the contest, according to the website.
The current world record pumpkin is 2,624 pounds. Mathias Wilemijns of Belgium set the record on October 9, 2016 at the Giant Pumpkin European Championship in Ludwigsburg, Germany.