May The Biggest Pumpkin Win!

It's pumpkin versus pumpkin, grandfather versus grandson, and may the best gourd win.

"I don't like being upstaged by my grandson," Kenny Speakman told The Early Show correspondent Melinda Murphy. He and his grandson, Caleb Miller, are competitive pumpkin growers.

Showing one of his pumpkins, Speakman said, "This pumpkin is five and a half months old." In terms of work hours, he said that means "about 3 hours a day, every day, seven days a week."

So far, the pair has gone stem to stem this year at two pumpkin weigh-ins and Miller won both times.

"If he beats me today, I won't give him a plant next year," Speakman said, laughing.

Speakman had one more shot and he saved his heavyweight for the biggest competition of all — the Circleville Pumpkin Show, where it's pumpkins, pumpkins and more pumpkins.

"It's the oldest and largest festival in the state of Ohio," said Jim Parker of the Circleville Pumpkin Show. "We're told it ranks sixth nationally."

You might just say Circleville has put a whole new face on pumpkins with its annual fair, which is celebrating its 99th year.

"The festival started with very modest beginning," Parker said, "with just a little hay wagon on main street with just a few pumpkins and a few gourds."

Nowadays, there's a 100,000 pounds of pumpkins on display. But gorgeous gourds aren't the only big attractions around there.

A 300-pound pumpkin pie has plenty of admirers. There's also every kind of pumpkin food imaginable: pumpkin doughnuts, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin burgers and even pumpkin chili.

But the food is just the sideshow to the big event — the pumpkin weigh-in.

Of course, Speakman and Miller aren't the only competitors. In fact, 49 giant pumpkins were entered this year. The big pumpkins, however, are not edible because too many chemicals are used to grow them.

Five-time champ Bob Liggett knows just about every pumpkin's pedigree. He has a genetic chart for his pumpkin. Seeds from the plumpest of pumpkins can go for as much as $350.

But did Miller or Speakman plant the winning seed this year?

Miller's beauty was up before his grandfather's. It was 885.5-pounds. Speakman was the final weigh in of the day.

"I'm getting a little nervous about it," Speakman said. He was hoping all the while that the men would at last be separated from the boys.

"This is my chance. Let's hope," said the retiree wanting to beat the 14-year-old upstart.

When the moment of truth had arrived, Speakman won and Miller took fourth. But suddenly the victor was feeling awfully generous.

"I think next year I'm going to give him two plants," Speakman said.
  • Tatiana Morales

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