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Giant pumpkin rowers compete - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Giant pumpkin rowers compete

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Burlington, Vermont - October 10, 2010

From pie to jack-o-lanterns, pumpkins have many purposes. Sunday on Lake Champlain they were used for a good cause.

A different way to float around Lake Champlain -- Pumpkins. "We found a good balance in there and managed to make it work," said Seth Bowden with Team GBIC.

The 3rd Annual Pumpkin Regatta took place Sunday with hundreds of people coming out to watch and take part in the festivities that are unique to Vermont. "We picked a really good pumpkin. It was really flat and level and we just paddled as hard as we could," said Kyle Bessette of Team Ben and Jerry's.

"It's pretty much how you think paddling in a winter squash would be. It's not terribly dynamic, you're just hoping to stay on top," Bowden said.

"It's kind of neat to see the enjoyment everybodys getting watching us, everybody thinks we're crazy but it's something different to do in Vermont," said Urgel Cadieux, a pumpkin grower.

All that paddling raised money for the PILOT program which helps prepare youth for once they graduate high school.

The pumpkins, some of which weighed over 1200 pounds, were donated by the Vermont Giant Vegetable Growers. "It's kind of interesting to watch them grow from the time you go to work in the morning to the time you get home then can grow three or four inches in diameter. The plant itself could grow up to a foot in length," Cadieux said.

For Urgel, his pumpkin this year didn't meet his expectations. He had one which was on track to weigh 900 pounds. "It was growing so fast it split open two weeks ago, so it was no good for a boat or competition," he said.

But even in the water all that weight is hard to move along. "huge, huge, it was 800 plus. It was a little bit hard to start moving, but it was fun," Bowden said.

Many of the racers had the same strategy in mind. "Not to tip that was kind of the main goal," Bowden said.

"I'm trying not to fall into the drink, I'm just trying to stay dry and finish the race," said Mike Lonergan, Who coaches the UVM Men's basketball coach when he's not piloting pumpkins.

But Lonergan's efforts were thwarted by WCAX's own Melinda Davenport, who decided it was better to sink anyone else who wasn't swimming along with her.

What started as a tiny seed in the spring, now has a giant ending in the fall.

Gina Bullard - WCAX News

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