WRAL.com at the State Fair

900-pound pumpkin wins $1,200 prize

Posted October 15, 2015

A 948-pound pumpkin grown by Gail Newsom in Pinnacle and a 302-pound watermelon grown by Chris “Superman” Kent from Sevierville, Tenn., took the top prizes in Tuesday’s Great Pumpkin and Watermelon Weigh-Off at the N.C. State Fair. This event is sanctioned by the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, an international organization that promotes growing giant vegetables.

“These pumpkins and watermelons have been growing all summer, and the growers are on the edge of their seats waiting for official weights,” said Robert Burchette, event announcer. “Pumpkins and watermelons don’t always weigh what they are estimated to weigh. Thin walls and hollow spaces can make size deceiving.”

This year’s entries included first-time giant-vegetable growers, pumpkins that were grown in a grower’s mother-in-law’s flower bed and a competition between husband and wife for bragging rights.

“There are about 12 things that can happens to giants, and only one good,” said Burchette. “It takes good seed, good soil and good luck.” Burchette uses a 50-pound bag of dog food to demonstrate just how much weight these pumpkins can put on in just one day.

Top prize for the largest pumpkin and watermelon is $1,250, and second place is $750. Prize money is paid for the top 10 entries.

Twelve-year-old T.J. Lovitt of Macclesfield placed second in the pumpkin competition with a 611-pound pumpkin. He plans to “put that money in his bank account.” Wesley Simmons of Goldsboro won the Howard Hill Award for prettiest pumpkin. Donald Murphy of Pink Hill placed second in the watermelon competition with a 233.5 pound melon. A complete list of winners is below:


  • Gail Newsome of Pinnacle, 948 pounds
  • T.J. Lovitt of Macclesfield, 611 pounds
  • Matthew Craps of Winston-Salem, 527.5 pounds
  • Elijah Meck of Randleman, 476 pounds
  • Wallace Simmons of Goldsboro, 375.5 pounds
  • Susie Zuerner of Arden, 350.5 pounds
  • Wesley Simmons of Goldsboro, 343 pounds
  • Marina Lovitt of Macclesfield, 330 pounds
  • Hattie Richmond of Burlington, 320 pounds
  • Vance Craps of Winston-Salem, 138 pounds


  • Christopher Kent of Sevierville, Tenn., 302 pounds
  • Donald Murphy of Pink Hill, 233.5 pounds
  • Artie Phillips of Monroe, 221.5 pounds
  • HC Williams of Bailey, 215 pounds
  • John Brooks of Ronda, 178.5 pounds
  • Gary Richmond of Burlington, 163.5 pounds
  • Travis Birdsell of Jefferson, 149.5 pounds
  • Susie Zuerner of Arden, 116.5 pounds
  • Wallace Simmons of Goldsboro, 92.5 pounds
  • Wesley Simmons of Goldsboro, 71.5 pounds
  • Matthew Craps of Winston-Salem, 67.5 pounds

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