774 pounds wins 2nd annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off

       A pumpkin weighing 774 pounds took first prize in the second annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off Oct. 7 in Old Colorado City. The entry by long-time grower Mark Sawtelle of Colorado Springs edged out the top of the crop from last year's co-winner, Doug Minix, also of Colorado Springs, at 722. Mark Sawtelle gets a “ride” from his 774-pound winning pumpkin.
Westside Pioneer photo
       Charlie Cagiao, who organized the event with the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group, declared the event a success, despite a star-crossed day which delayed the weighing by about three hours. En route to get a special scale from Lakewood, his truck broke down; then, when he finally arrived, the initial weight results were so cock-eyed that a couple of entrants were talking about leaving until the scale was finally leveled and read accurately.
       Third place went to Pete Mohr of Longmont at 644 pounds. The winners shared OCCA's overall prize-money purse of $450.
       Cagiao manned a forklift that picked up wood pallets with the pumpkins on them from the backs of growers trucks or trailers and placed them on the scales. That was an improvement over the first annual event in October '05, when straining participants had to hand-lift a tarp holding each pumpkin onto the scale.
       Sawtelle grew his first big pumpkin 16 years ago after seeing someone else's and deciding “I want to do that.” He described his property as not overly large. “I have a back yard that's all pumpkins,” he said. “The wife has learned to put up with it.”
       Scores of people dropped by during the day to admire the giant vegetables and ask such questions as the following:
       Where do you get the seeds? (From Internet sites where champion growers - some known for pumpkins of 1,400 pounds or more - make their seeds available for a price.)
       Do they take much work? (Every day, including controlling pollination and putting blankets over them on cold nights.)
       How long do they grow? (About four months.)
       What do you do with them afterward? (Carve them, using instruments such as hacksaws, drills and chainsaws).
       Can you eat them? Zach Seymour, Sawtelle's nephew, provided that answer. “They make the best pumpkin pie in the world,” he said.

Westside Pioneer article