The Great Pumpkin is from Kentucky

Aug. 16, 2009 at 2:53 PM
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INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A 1,145-pound pumpkin from the "Kentucky Pumpkin Mafia" came in first place at the Giant Pumpkin Contest at the Indiana State Fair Sunday, officials said.

The Indianapolis Star reported John Van Hook, 42, of Somerset Kentucky grew the winning pumpkin. Van Hook's brother, a fellow pumpkin grower, also attended the Indianapolis fair sporting a hat emblazoned with "Kentucky Pumpkin Mafia."

It was the second year in a row Kentuckians won top awards at the Indiana fair.

Kentuckians have some advantage over the Indiana growers because their warm season starts earlier, admitted Dwight Slone of Prestonsburg, Ky. Slone and his wife, Karen, entered a pumpkin weighing 1,126 pounds that took second place.

One Northern Indiana grower agreed. "They start their growing the first of April because they can, because it's warm down there, whereas up north I can't start mine until the end of April," said Roger Howard, 61, of Grovertown.

Most other "weigh-offs" are held in October so that everyone is playing on even ground and can catch up, he said.

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