701-pound pumpkins win weigh-off in Old Town

       Doug Minix and Sue Bowers, a married couple who share an interest in gardening, also shared first-place honors at the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group's first-ever Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off Oct. 1. Doug Minix and Sue Bowers pose with their winning
pumpkins after tying for first place in the Great Pumpkin
Weigh-Off in Old Colorado City Oct. 1. Each pumpkin
weighed 701 pounds.
Westside Pioneer photo
       Each had a pumpkin of 701 pounds.
       Their 600-square-foot pumpkin patch in south Colorado Springs had room for two of the orange behemoths this year. “We flipped a coin,” Doug explained, with a grin. “This one's yours and this one's mine.”
       They were among a dozen entrants who trucked pumpkins to the Town Clock parking lot at 25th Street and Colorado Avenue. The Minix/Bowers pumpkins now become a state record under the national Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, through which the event was sanctioned.
       “It was a success,” exulted Charlie Cagaio, owner of two Old Colorado City businesses, who organized the event as a finale to OCCA's ninth annual Scarecrow Days. “Merchants came out and thanked me for doing the event.”
       He estimated that at least 400 people came by during the day to check out the pumpkins or the accompanying bake sale. Close to 100 were on hand between noon and 1, as one vast vegetable after another was lifted onto a scale to see which one was the heaviest.
       The winning pumpkin took home $300, second place $200 (meaning the Minx/Bowers family cleared $500 between them), and third place $100.
       James Kane, an eastsider who took third-place at 669 pounds, credited “good seed, good soil and hard work” for his pumpkin.
       Greg Hopson, from Westminster, had “only” about a 400-pound pumpkin, but was still glad he came. “There's good camaraderie and you can pick up some tips,” he said.
       He traced his interest to the time he went to a garden store and saw giant-pumpkin seeds. His initial effort was 60 pounds. “I thought that was great,” he said, but then he started wondering if he could get one bigger. That was four years ago, and this was his first contest.

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