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Chaves County group puts pumpkin-growing skills to test each year


Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Pumpkins from a hundredth of an ounce to 403 pounds, and from beautifully spherical to lumpy and oddly shaped, made the stage Saturday night at the Fifth Annual Sid Brewer Classic sponsored by the Chaves County Giant Pumpkins Growers Association and held in the livestock show ring at the Eastern New Mexico State Fair grounds.

“We just do it for the fun,” said Benny Wooton. “It’s not about the biggest pumpkin or anything else, just for the fun and camaraderie.”

The competition honors Brewer, who used to bring kids to the fair for many decades and was known for his good nature. He passed away about eight years ago.

This year’s contest, participated in by young kids and veteran producers, had 22 entries. The largest pumpkin, “Turbo,” the 403-pounder, was grown by Alan Nelson, earning him the “king” title. He also received the Most Improved Grower prize. Cindy Wooton continued her long reign as queen as the woman grower with the largest pumpkin. “Snow White” reached 270 pounds.

Several other awards were given during an event that drew about 70 people for some food, a little competitive action and a lot of ribbing among friends.

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The other winners were Candy Spence Ezzell, a New Mexico state representative for the area, who won for smallest pumpkin (Calabaza de Candy, 14 pounds) among competitors with only one entry and also received recognition for serving as weigh master, a role she has held several years.

Grady Moss won for most unique pumpkin (Squishy, 133 pounds). Larry Hobson won for prettiest pumpkin for one of his two entries. Benny Wooton took the TAwNY prize, which stands for There’s Always Next Year. That goes to the person whose pumpkin “slipped backward the most in one year.” Wooton’s biggest entry — Holy Spit #2, a 238-pounder — was a couple of hundred pounds less than his largest entry in 2018. The Champion Trash Talker Award, honoring the person who told the tallest tales about their pumpkin-growing exploits during the year or competition, went to Terry Johnson.

Those interested in seeing the pumpkins can visit the Commercial Building at the fairgrounds. They are scheduled to be on display during the fair, which closes to the public Saturday night.

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