Nebraska man paddles 38 miles in a hollowed-out pumpkin patch to break world record

For a Nebraska man, all it takes is a little ingenuity and a big load of fertilizer to make his dreams come true.

On August 27, two official witnesses, friends and family members saw Nebraska resident Duane Hansen paddle an 846-pound floating pumpkin down the Missouri River in a bid to break the Guinness World Record.

“They say if you stay in your job long enough you could see just about anything and this morning was one of those days!” reads a Facebook post from the city of Bellevue.

According to the message, Hansen walked into the mayor’s office on the morning of August 25 and asked if two people from Bellevue City Hall would serve as official witnesses for his efforts to accomplish a unique feat.

Hansen was aiming to be recognized by Guinness World Records for breaking the world record for “longest pumpkin boat trip”, a record currently held by Rick Swenson of Grand Forks, North Dakota. In 2016, Swenson managed to paddle 25.5 miles, a distance Hansen thought he could beat.

“We were very surprised when we saw the hollowed-out pumpkin and realized it would sit in the pumpkin for 11 hours floating down the Missouri River,” said Phil Davidson, who works in community relations for the city of Nice view. Food. Davidson served as one of Hansen’s official witnesses for the event, along with Bellevue Community Foundation board member Lisa Rybar.

Duane Hansen on the Missouri River.Courtesy of the City of Bellevue, Nebraska via Facebook/Duane Hansen

Rybar and Davidson originally thought that Hansen intended to float a giant pumpkin intact over 30 miles down the Missouri River. In the Facebook post, they said it wasn’t until later in the conversation that they realized Hansen, who had just celebrated his 60th birthday, would actually be physically riding in the pumpkin patch during his trip.

“Once you have a goal like that and you’re this close, there’s no way I’m giving up,” Hansen told TODAY. “When I went down that river, a long distance, it was tough, I was done. But I was determined.”

Hansen said he loved growing squash and squash all his life, and a few years ago he became interested in growing giant pumpkins.

“You have a lot of failures growing giant pumpkins,” Hansen said. “I mean, I thought I could grow stuff. I thought I could grow anything. Well, these humble you.

Berta like a tiny little gourd.
Berta like a tiny little gourd.Courtesy of the City of Bellevue, Nebraska via Facebook/Duane Hansen

Hansen had a few hits, “three, four, or 500 pounds,” but wanted to hit at least a ton (the heaviest pumpkin on record was 2,702 pounds), so he went to a giant pumpkin-growing seminar. pumpkins. -growth. He got the idea to break the record around the same time he even learned that the giant pumpkin boat paddle was even a possibility.

“About five years ago I went to Portland, Oregon for a seminar on growing giant pumpkins, and there was a picture of this lady,” Hansen said. “I can’t remember how far down a river she went, but you know, it was quite a few miles, like 12, and I looked at this and thought, ‘Wow, I didn’t even know that there was such a thing.'”

The SS Berta prepares for the voyage.
The SS Berta prepares for the voyage.Courtesy of the City of Bellevue, Nebraska via Facebook/Duane Hansen

Hansen said he later approached her after noticing she was in seminary and asked her about how she did it. “She told me everything I asked for. Since then, my goal was to get a pumpkin big enough to go down the river,” he said. “And that’s how it all started.”

According to the City of Bellevue, Saturday morning at Bellevue Public Docks, Hansen jumped into the Pumpkin, affectionately named SS Berta, around 7:30 a.m. to attempt to make the trip by paddling to Nebraska City in a floating gourd. . It was estimated that the trip would take about six hours, but it ended up taking about 11, with Hansen traveling an astonishing 38 miles up the Missouri River without leaving the pumpkin patch once.

“Once you’re on the river, that fucking thing was so tippy, it was amazing.” It was like rolling in a cork,” Hansen said. “You could topple over at any moment. You use your balance all the time. I have never paid so much attention to a single thing in all my life.

Duane Hansen (2nd from left) with SS Berta and loved ones before his trip.
Duane Hansen (2nd from left) with SS Berta and loved ones before his trip.Courtesy of the City of Bellevue, Nebraska via Facebook/Duane Hansen

“I’m glad I did. I mean, 30 miles is a long way to go in a pumpkin patch on a river, but I’m sure one day someone will try to beat it,” Hansen said. “I turned 60 the day before I did this, so I’m not a young punk, you know? If someone beats me, I just have enough experience in that area now. I would probably try to do it again.

Hansen said that with the help of his daughter, Morgan Buchholz, he gathered all the evidence to send to Guinness World Records to have his record officially recognized.

“Congratulations Duane on breaking the world record,” a spokesperson for the town of Bellevue said today. “We’re proud you’ve started this record-breaking 38-mile journey in Bellevue and we’ve enjoyed seeing all of the positive feedback this record-breaking float has received.”

Duane Hansen in his giant pumpkin, SS Berta, with a beer cup holder.
Duane Hansen in his giant pumpkin, SS Berta, with a beer cup holder.Courtesy of the City of Bellevue, Nebraska via Facebook/Duane Hansen

TODAY has contacted Guinness World Records for comment and has not yet received a response, but the organization previously sent a statement regarding Hansen’s feat to CNN.

“As part of our application process, we provide the applicant with guidelines specific to this record category that must be met to be eligible,” Guinness World Records spokeswoman Kylie Galloway told CNN, adding that the organization had received Hansen’s application for the title and is awaiting evidence to review. “These guidelines also detail the evidence that must be submitted. Once received and reviewed, our records management team will then confirm the success or failure of the record attempt.

Either way, Hansen said he’s proud of himself for what he’s been able to accomplish and that he’s already inspired his daughter to ask him something that’s sure to turn a few heads.

“She was like, ‘Dad, I had this idea. Can you grow a pumpkin big enough for me and go down the river? I was like, ‘Oh, Morgan,'” Hansen said with a laugh. I might be able to grow a pumpkin that big because I learned a lot, so you know what? I think that might be our next goal.”

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