The Surprisingly Small Reason 2021's Heaviest Pumpkin In The US Was Disqualified

As one Wisconsin man recently learned the hard way, when it comes to competitive pumpkin growing, it's not all about the size. A larger-than-life gourd became the buzz of the oversized pumpkin community this month when it was disqualified from competitions due to a small imperfection, WTMJ-TV reports.

Despite growing one of the largest pieces of produce in the world this year, pumpkin purveyor Mike Schmit won't be able to reap any of the rewards. His prized pumpkin, which weighed in at a whopping 2,520 pounds, was poised to be crowned the heaviest pumpkin in the United States this year, as well as set a record for the most weighty pumpkin in Wisconsin history.

The hefty gourd, which fell just shy of receiving the title for the world's largest pumpkin — recently crowned to a 2,700-pound behemoth hailing from Italy (per Insider) — was set to win top prize at the 2021 Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off, which would have paid a cool $22,680 in prize money (at a rate of $9 per pound). However, a costly crack in Schmit's pumpkin immediately disqualified it from entering into any major pumpkin competitions, per an official competition rule that states: "Pumpkins must be in healthy and undamaged condition, free of rot, holes and cracks through the cavity, chemical residue, and soft spots."

The potentially record-setting pumpkin required 150 gallons of water a day

Mike Schmit is a Markesan, Wisconsin resident who began growing giant pumpkins as a hobby in 2016, per WTMJ-TV. The oversized gourd specialist, who uses specialty seeds genetically modified to grow extra-large plants, has won three giant pumpkin competitions since he began this humongous undertaking.

This year, Schmit estimates he spent 30 hours a week tending to his three giant pumpkins, each of which was disqualified before it could make it to competition. During its peak growing period — during which the largest pumpkin grew an average of 53 pounds per day — the almost-prize-winning 2,500-pound gourd required 150 gallons of water each and every day, according to the news piece.

While Schmit is disappointed that this year's efforts didn't pay off, he has maintained a positive attitude, telling WTMJ-TV that he looks forward to attempting to grow an equally girthy pumpkin next year. "I know I can do it again, so we just gotta look forward to the future," Schmit says.

Although most of us would be discouraged by dozens of hours of farm work being erased in the snap of a finger — or the crack of a pumpkin — in the immortal words of Mike Schmit: "There's no crying in pumpkin growing."