Giant pumpkin grower causes quite a stir, earns a third place finish in statewide competition

Alan Gebert steadies the giant pumpkin, while neighbor Larry Matthews lifts it from the ground into the trailer, Friday afternoon.

Alan Gebert, his wife Jill and their daughter Samantha took their 1096 pound pumpkin to the Utah Giant Pumpkin Growers 14th Annual Weigh Off at Thanksgiving Point Saturday. The Millville family came back with a third place ribbon. Although they didn’t win, they were excited for Brigham City resident Ross Bowman who took home the honor of this year’s biggest pumpkin.

Neighbor, Chad Shoop, watches Alan Gebert cut the vines before loading his prize giant pumpkin on a trailer for transportation to a weigh in at Thanksgiving Point.

“We were thrilled with our ribbon,” said Jill Gebert. “And we were excited that Ross finally won first place with one of his pumpkins. It was a lot of fun.”

Friday night before the competition, Gebert’s neighbor Larry Matthews brought over his tractor. Using a special harness and straps, they carefully lifted the large orange pumpkin out of the front yard and loaded it onto a trailer. They then covered it with blankets to protect it. Gebert said before it goes very far, he would have it shrink wrapped for the trip south to Thanksgiving Point.

Neighbors with cell phones recorded the operation.

On their trip down to Thanksgiving Point, and on their return trip home, they attracted a lot of attention from other people on the way.

Jill said their daughter Samantha stopped counting cars at 110. The cars would pull up next to them on the freeway, snap a photo, give the Gebert’s a thumbs up, and go on their way.

It creates a lot of interest when you’re pulling a trailer with a giant pumpkin on it,” she said. “When we stop for gas we can’t get out without people wanting to talk about the pumpkin. It’s really a lot of fun.”

Alan Gebert’s wife, Jill, said this is the prettier of the two giant pumpkins raised this year in their gardens.

There were about 40 entries in this year’s weigh-off, said Jim Seamons, a Cornish resident and member of the state organization. Seamons pulled a pumpkin out of his own field and got a 12th place finish. He had a few big ones, but not the giant ones he’s grown in the past.

“Ross has probably grown more pumpkins over a thousand pounds than anyone in the state, but never won,” Seamons said. “This year the word was Bowman had one that might win.”

He said Bowman has grown pumpkins for years and never won.

Like good poker player Alan Gebert kept his biggest pumpkin for another competition. This pumpkin in his back yard he hopes will be about 300 pounds more than the one he took to Saturday’s competition.

“We were all very excited he was the winner this year.”

Bowman’s champion pumpkin weighed 1170 pounds, Second place grower was D.J. Steffler, with a pumpkin weighing 1107 pounds.

“There were quite a few pumpkins that weighed in at 900 to just over 1,000 pounds, Seamons said. “They weigh everything, tomatoes, squash or whatever.”

The organization also has a Junior Division for growers 15 or younger.

The Geberts aren’t done raising large pumpkins. They have another, perhaps even larger pumpkin which may be entered into another competition.

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