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Tuesday, April 07, 2020 Stevo's Giants Sparks, Nevada,USA

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150sq.ft Contest This is Me. Let's do this.

First off I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Wes Stephenson. I am a husband to my beautiful wife Holly and father to my three amazing kids. I teach Middle School English Language Arts and head up the Garden and Giant Pumpkin Club at the school where I teach. I founded the club to try and get teens out of their phones and back outside in the dirt. the club has slowly grown but the pandemic this year threw a major wrench into any plans to grow a school giant this season. I will be focussing most of my diary entries on my own attempts at growing a true giant pumpkin and breaking my state's (Nevada) record. I am also attempting long gourds, giant watermelon, and bushel gourd this year too. I live in a suburb of reno which severely limits my growing space for my attempts. this is why I have chosen to enter the 150sq. ft. competition this year. my "big patch" only measures 180 sq ft total so why not use what I can to try.

This is my third season attempting to grow giant pumpkins and I love this hobby. In my first year, 2018, I grew a beautiful orange pumpkin from a seed I got from a display pumpkin at a pumpkin farm. the grower said it had Gantner genetics but I didn't write anything down. Hey, I was a NOOB. Sorry! Madam Vastra (Madam V), named after a character from my favorite TV show, Doctor Who, ended up weighing 467 according to OTT measurements. I was never able to get her officially weighed.

My second season, 2019, seemed to be a tough season for lots of growers around the US. My plant struggled to get a good start and ended up producing a nice white pumpkin, Penelope, weighing at the Elk Grove, California GPC weigh-off at 347 pounds. I was disappointed because that ended up being 50 pounds under her tape weight. but with that success, I was able to inspire my middle schoolers to get out and fundraise almost a thousand dollars for the 2020 club growing season.

I attended the GPC convention in Las Vegas this year for the first time. it was an amazing experience. I met world record holders, new growers, and experts from around the world. I received donations from superstars like Leonardo Urena, Joe Jutras, and John Harnica. Every one of them was so eager to help. I am hoping this season will yield another personal best and potentially a state record of some kind.

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