Whopper 254.5kg pumpkin gets Ekka win for Minden farmer

Whopper 254.5kg pumpkin gets Ekka win for Minden farmer


Ekka 2018 News

Tony Frohloff of Minden, Queensland with his first and second place winning pumpkins.

Tony Frohloff of Minden, Queensland with his first and second place winning pumpkins.

Aa

A Minden farmer has won the Ekka's giant pumpkin competition, with a vegetable weighing 254.5kg.

Aa

If there's one thing Minden cattle and small crop farmer Tony Frohloff knows, it's how to grow a giant pumpkin, this year smashing the competition at the Royal Queensland Show with a mammoth 254.5kg gourd.

The pumpkin saw him reclaim the Champion Heaviest Pumpkin of Show title he last won at the 2017 Ekka, taking home $1000 in prize money. He also took out second place with his 210kg entry.

He's only been entering the competition for about four years, but his experience stretches beyond that, with him learning the skills from his father Geoff Frohloff, who came third this with a 169.5kg whopper.

"My father has been growing the big type of pumpkins for the last 28 years," he said.

"I always helped carting his pumpkins and then I decided to start growing my own.

"The better the organic nutrients and matter in the soil, the better they will grow.

"They can gain 15kg a day in their prime growing state."

Geoff Frohloff still holds the 261.5kg Ekka record set in 2015 but his son might have beaten the record this year if it wasn't for a case of surface rot that caused him to cut the growing short to protect it.

"I picked mine nine days before the Ekka competition," Mr Frohloff said.

"At that stage it was 261.5kg but it lost 7kg by the time of the competition as it dried out.

"I'm still happy with how big I managed to get the pumpkin considering the very dry growing conditions this year - some days I spent one and a half hour watering it.

"I've been pumping water from the dam and now we're hoping for rain to fill the dam back up."

The Frohloffs' hefty pumpkins will be on display at the Marburg Show this weekend and they hope their appearance will help inspire even more locals to get involved.

But don't expect the weighty gourds to be made in pumpkin soup.

Mr Frohloff said while their size is impressive, they're not particularly flavoursome.

"They are very watery," he said.

"We'll just take the seeds out to grow again and we will feed the rest to the cattle."

Last year's winner was Mr Frohloff's neighbour Steven Fritz, with a 206kg pumpkin.

While Mr Fritz didn't enter this year, he coached his 9-year-old niece Kyla-Shaye Fritz to take out the top prize in the youth class with a 58.5kg pumpkin.

In the Schools class, Bowenville State School came out on top with a 38kg pumpkin, outgrowing Newmarket State School and Calvary Christian College who tied for second with 25kg pumpkins.

RNA Chief Executive Brendan Christou said it was great to see the next generation of green thumbs getting involved.

"Growing giant pumpkins is a fun way to teach children about agriculture, so it was pleasing to receive entries from six schools this year," he said.

"It was also fantastic to see how dedicated the growers were - Michael Wills drove his pumpkin 10 hours from Emerald to enter the competition."

The giant pumpkin competition signalled the official countdown to Ekka, now just 94 days away.

Youth Category winner Kyla-Shaye Fritz (9 years old) of Thagoona near Ipswich and the Grand Champion Pumpkin.

Youth Category winner Kyla-Shaye Fritz (9 years old) of Thagoona near Ipswich and the Grand Champion Pumpkin.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by