25 Mar 2014

Pumpkin history in Hamilton

8:04 pm on 25 March 2014

Move over Americas Cup, history was made on a small lake in Hamilton on Tuesday afternoon with the first ever race in New Zealand of two giant pumpkins, paddled by two people.

Sam Elton-Walters, left, and Tim Harris racing giant pumpkins on Turtle lake at the Hamilton Gardens.

Sam Elton-Walters, left, and Tim Harris racing giant pumpkins on Turtle lake at the Hamilton Gardens. Photo: RNZ / Andrew McRae

The stunt, thought up by farmer, Tim Harris was staged to promote the city's Great Pumpkin Carnival on Sunday.

A vast crowd gathered beside Turtle Lake at the Hamilton Gardens to watch the event unfold.

Once the giant pumpkins were lifted into the water using a tractor, a saw was used to cut open their tops and each was then scooped out enough to allow a man to sit comfortably inside.

The two giant pumpkins were surprisingly buoyant and while it looked kind of odd, they made good time across the small lake and then headed back.

While those watching were happy to have a good laugh, no one was keen to have go themselves. Tim Harris' wife, Melanie said her husband was just a little bit crazy.

"He's done a lot of research and talked to people in the United States, where it is a big sport, it's just kind of fun".

The two men paddled furiously and fellow paddler, Sam Elton Walters just managed to pip Tim Harris to the shore. Mr Harris said it was better than he thought it would be, and he would do it again.

"It was more stable than I thought it would be, it took a little while to get use to but it was allgood".

Sam Elton Walters said he felt his pumpkin was more stable than his competitor's.

"Probably just lucky and the way it was grown actually, it was somethign a bit different".

He said the secret to good pumpkin racing was to have a really stable pumpkin to begin with. Both men said they hoped pumpkin racing would become a regular event in future Giant Pumpkin carnivals held in the city.

History was made in Hamilton on Tuesday when two giant pumpkins were hollowed out and then raced on water.

Tim Harris and Sam Elton-Waters hollowed out two pumpkins, each weighing about half-a-tonne before sitting in them and paddling across Turtle Lake at the Hamilton Gardens.

The event was staged to promote a giant pumpkin festival being held at the gardens this coming Sunday.

The pumpkins were gently lifted off a trailer using a tractor and lowered into the water.

The pumpkins were very buoyant and the men easily made it across the lake and back, before staging a race.

Tim Harris said he hoped pumpkin racing would become a feature of future pumpkin carnivals in the city.

Pumpkin racing is very popular in the United States.