It’s been a busy year for Chris “Superman” Kent, the watermelon grower from Sevierville, Tennessee who holds the Guinness World Record for the largest watermelon ever grown (a whopping 350 pounds in 2013). Chris has been kind enough to share stories about this year’s crop of world record contenders in a six-part series of blog entries here on What About Watermelon.
When we last caught up with Chris, he had harvested four of his watermelons for four competitions (each melon can only appear in one competition). The weights were impressive — 220, 225, 231 and 238 pounds — and were enough to secure three second place finishes and one third place finish. But two of the biggest competitions were still to come. Would a blue ribbon be in Chris’s future?
When we last spoke, you had just returned from a competition in Elkin, NC and were getting ready for competitions in Allardt, TN and the North Carolina State Fair. How did those competitions go for you?
They went great! Allardt was a cold rainy weekend, but I won first place with a 295 pound watermelon (pictured above). That was the largest this year and the largest ever weighed at their site.
The North Carolina State Fair was 10 days later, and I thought the day would never come. First, I got the melon loaded in the car for its trip to the fair. (Picture below.)
I knew it was a big melon and had a chance at the title. It measured almost the exact same size as the one the week before, but you never know until you put it on the scale. Then, after an entire season of waiting, I had to wait a little longer because they weigh the largest fruit last. But the wait was worth it, because my final watermelon of the season tipped the scales at 302 pounds and another first place prize!
You didn’t set a new world record this year, but are you happy with how the year turned out in terms of what you were able to grow?
Yes, I’m very happy with the season. I grew the number one and number two melons in the world this year, so I met my goal, even if it wasn’t a world record. Maybe next year!
What’s the off-season look like for you? What sort of preparations will take place during the winter?
The first task is cleaning up the watermelon patch. I have to get everything pulled up and the soil tilled. I’ll leave it lay for the winter and let the freeze and thaw work to kill any bugs. Over the winter I’ll package up seeds from my biggest watermelons and send them to other growers. I also send seeds to the grower clubs that have auctions with the best pumpkin, watermelon, and tomato seeds to raise money for the next season’s weigh-offs.
Believe it or not, some of the best pumpkin seeds can go for $500 to $1,000 PER SEED. Watermelons are a little lower — somewhere in the $50-$100 range for a package of 4-10 seeds.
After all that’s done, I’m looking forward to relaxing this winter. Thanks so much for letting me do this blog series with you. It’s been a lot of fun, and I hope the readers enjoyed it and maybe learned something.
REMEMBER: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our October prize — the watermelon welcome mat — so comment as often as you’d like!
UP NEXT: A “COOL” WATERMELON TREAT