BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTOV) — Todd and Donna Skinner have grown pumpkin and squash for almost 30 years. They’ve won numerous awards doing it, but this win is probably the sweetest.
Why? Their 2,164-pound squash is now a world record.
"We had a rough idea that it was going to weigh nice, but not that heavy,” Donna said.
Todd and Donna attended a national pumpkin weigh-off Sunday, trying to find out if their green squash had what it takes to be the best in the world.
In addition to both of them having full-time jobs, the Skinners manage to carve out close to 55 hours a week during the growing season to tend to their gourds. And if you're wondering how extensive the process is, the answer is ... very.
"We start our season in-house,” Todd said. “They’ll be in the house for about 10 to 12 days in a small pot. We move them outside in a 9x5 enclosure, and then when the plants grow out of that, then they’re out in the open to grow."
This husband and wife team has been doing this for a long time. While Todd takes charge on most of the growing duties, he credits Donna a ton for her role in pollinating the plants, which is a very important part of the process.
"The night before we know we need to pollinate, he goes down and ties the males off,” Donna said. “And I go down between 7 to 7:30 and cut them off and open up the females and do the pollination, and I usually close them up and I have jugs to keep them cool so they can take pollination.”
And as if the national recognition couldn’t get any higher, the pumpkin the Skinners entered in this year’s Barnesville festival was shipped to Texas to be the centerpiece in a Toyota commercial.
With the spare time Todd and Donna do have, they enjoy spending it with their five grandchildren, riding their motorcycle and going to drag races. The two have numerous awards when it comes to growing, including Todd being named National Grower of the Year in 2017. But for the duo, this award might have them all beat.
Ironically, this was the last plant Todd and Donna had for the season, so you could say that they saved the best for last.