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'Positivity will feed this pumpkin': Lockwood grower shows off great gourd

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Posted at 8:27 PM, Sep 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-21 15:13:06-04

LOCKWOOD — Lockwood’s very own great big pumpkin is over 1,300 pounds and grower Joe Nigro hopes it’ll break Montana’s state record.

Whether it’s playing with his pup, Jiffy, or going for a hunt, 30-year-old Nigro has a lot of passions in life.

“I think positivity will feed this pumpkin,” said Nigro at his home in Lockwood on Tuesday.

None of his passions are as unique as his love for growing giant gourds.

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“I’ve just been intrigued with it my whole life. How could you not be?” Nigro said.

It’s been three years since the insurance salesman brought his pumpkin passion to life.

“My first one was 900 pounds and it cracked so we brought it to the dump and weighed it. Last year it was 554 and it got fifth place in Wyoming in a Wyoming weigh off. And this is year three,” said Nigro.

Instead of smashing pumpkins, he’s trying to smash a record.

“July 5th is when this flower was pollinated, and it was just this big. So, this is a 77-day-old pumpkin,” Nigro said.

His year three pumpkin is estimated to be over 1,300 pounds.

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“It’s over the state record. It just needs to stay true to measurements is all. And we got to make sure no one else grows a bigger pumpkin this year,” said Nigro.

Since 1,258 pounds is the current pumpkin record for Montana, he’s got a pretty good shot with his Atlantic Giant pumpkin.

“It came from a pumpkin that was 2,058 pounds grown in Connecticut. It definitely knows how to be big, it just has to get there,” Nigro said.

The great gourd stands on top of 750 square feet of its root system, and it’ll be a feat to take to Rapid City, South Dakota, for the Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival on Saturday.

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“You kind of form a basket with straps and ropes. And then the guys at Case Construction, they’re going to bring a tractor over and they’re going to hopefully just pick it up and plop it in a truck or a trailer,” said Nigro.

After Nigro hopefully brings back the state record, the gourd will be put to good use.

“It’s going to go to the Laurel pumpkin patch. I talked to those guys, and they thought it would be cool for everybody to kind of see it and gawk at it,” Nigro said.