Duane Hansen had big plans for the 846-pound pumpkin he had grown in Nebraska.
He had been trying to grow a pumpkin this big for nearly a decade, but “Berta” wasn’t just for show. Hansen emptied it, stuffed a cooler inside, and reached the banks of the Missouri River.
The 60-year-old was on a quest to smash the Guinness World Record for “longest ride in a pumpkin boat.” Yes, it’s a thing, and Hansen isn’t the first to use a giant pumpkin as a container.
40 kilometers of trip in pumpkin
Rick Swenson, who in 2016 completed a 25-mile journey inside a pumpkin when he rowed from Grand Forks, ND, to Oslo, Minnesota, holds the title. But Hansen’s 60-kilometre float on Saturday would top that record.
If verified by Guinness World Records, you could join those who have pushed the limits of what’s possible: growing eight-foot-long beards, spinning basketballs over toothbrushes, or stopping electric fans with language.
Officials in Bellevue, Nebraska, announced Hansen’s record on Saturday, just hours after he completed the trip to the Nebraska city.
“Congratulations, Duane, on breaking the world record,” they wrote in a Facebook post. “We are proud that he started this record-breaking 60-kilometre journey at Bellevue.”
Guinness World Records did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post. The organization requires evidence with your submissions to validate a registration, including photographs, videos, and witness statements. After family and officials documented his trip, Hansen took steps to comply with the rules.
Hansen spent around 11 hours floating around in his gourd. People worldwide followed his progress, wishing for Hansen Godspeed, or as one fan put it, “gourdspeed.”
Hansen is known for growing large pumpkins and other produce. When he first approached Bellevue officials about sending his giant pumpkin down the river, they didn’t know he would be riding in it.
“Seems like a unique, if not a little crazy, way to celebrate her 60th birthday,” reads Bellevue’s Facebook post. Hansen’s birthday was August 26.
How was the process for the pumpkin to float in the river?
Before launching, Hansen had to carve the “ship”. With a girth of around 146 inches, Berta was big enough for Hansen to fit inside her once she hollowed out her gourd.
Hansen got up early two days later to begin his attempt. The pumpkin, tied to a mattress, was transported in a trailer.
Dressed in denim shorts, a life jacket, and a camouflage hat, Hansen took off around 7:30 a.m. as family, friends, and city officials watched from Bellevue’s public docks. “SS Berta” was written on the back of the gourd.
As we have mentioned on American Post News, the photos released by the city show Hansen using a bright yellow paddle to drive a partially submerged pumpkin along the “Big Muddy,” the same river from which Lewis and Clark launched their expedition more than 200 years ago.
How was Duane Hansen’s trip?
His journey was not without its challenges, Hansen told News Channel Nebraska. He had to “be in the loop all the time,” Hansen told the outlet. Waves from passing ships threatened to topple his gourd more than once.
“You must stop everything, suck it up, and ride those waves. That was wrong,” he said.
As of 2:52 p.m., Hansen had reached the 25-mile mark, the city of Bellevue wrote in an update. At the time, he had broken the record set in 2016, authorities said. Almost 4 hours and 20 kilometers later, he arrived at the marina in Nebraska City, where a crowd of family, friends, and fans awaited him with loud cheers and tears of happiness.
“I am very proud of my dad. He’s always said you can do whatever you want, and how can you not believe someone who goes out and does exactly what he wants?” Hansen’s daughter, Morgan Buchholz, told News Channel Nebraska.
On social media, pumpkin puns and congratulations on the new “Cinderfella” began pouring in from as far away as Australia. A Twitter post about Hansen’s trip has gained nearly 125,000 likes since Saturday.
When Hansen’s wife, Allyson, was asked what it’s like to have a husband who owns a world record, she told News Channel Nebraska, “I never know what’s next.”