HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (CNN/KGO) - And the winner is: Oregon pumpkin grower Thad Starr.
Starr won the grand prize in the Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, Calif. His massive gourd tipped the scales at 1,775 pounds.
It's the day Half Moon Bay waits all year for where giant gourds and pretty pumpkins go for gold at this annual pumpkin weigh-off. Bigger is better, and competition is tough.
"It's the bragging rights of Half Moon Bay that drives these growers, I think, more than the money does," said Starr.
He arrived with his monster from Oregon, and his kids Danica and Derrick are missing school for the event.
And then first-timer Angela Costanzo was there, too.
"Anybody can do it if you have the time," she said. "It was like a second job. It was fun. I don't know if I'll do it again."
Her gourd hit 432 pounds on the scale.
So what is the recipe to growing a supersized prize pumpkin? Growers are spilling a few secrets.
"I think that getting your soil just right is probably one of the most important things, and you have to be willing to spend the money to use a laboratory and have your soil analyzed," said grower Rob Globus.
Globus started serious pumpkin growing three years ago and says one hour a day per pumpkin is what it takes.
"I think the biggest growing secret is to make friends with people who are better growers than you," he said.
And Starr grows champion pumpkins. His secret?
"The No. 1 thing is you have to start with the proper seed," he said.
Plus, it takes a lot of water -- some 150 gallons a day. No kidding.
"It's kind of like gold fever," said Starr. "You get addicted and just keep growing and growing and keep tearing out more of your yard and turning it into a pumpkin patch."
The grand prize in the pumpkin contest: $6 a pound. For Starr that means an extra $10,650 in his pocket.
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