“Go big or gourd home,” Austin man grows monster pumpkin

(ABC 6 News) – It’s officially fall, which means all things pumpkin. For one Austin man, he’s taking monsters and pumpkins to a whole new level.

For Tanner Conway, it’s “go big, or gourd home” when it comes to pumpkins. This year, his 1,800 lbs. pumpkin (and counting) did not let him down. This monster of a pumpkin beats his old personal record of a just over 1,300 lbs. gourd in 2018.

“I know I already broke it, but that to me isn’t good enough,” said Conway. “I like to try and push myself as extreme as I can get with these.”

Growing pumpkins has been a hobby of Conway’s since he was 12 years old. He loves them so much, he even used one when he asked his now wife to marry him.

“His friends are professional pumpkin carvers, so I didn’t know he was gonna propose that day,” explained his wife Caitlyn. “They had will you marry me carved out into the pumpkin, and they turned it around for me, and he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.”

Now Conway’s green thumb is put to the test as he heads to a giant pumpkin weigh off in Stillwater next weekend.

The Stillwater Harvest Fest is expected to see 40-50 contestants this year, with the winner receiving $5,000.

Conway says growing pumpkins this size is not easy, as it takes hundreds of hours of tending. So much so, the pumpkin has become a part of his family. Now that member of the family, is coming to an end.

“I’ll be really excited to see how everything turned out and all his hard work paid off, but it will be kinda sad now,” said Caitlyn. “Like, what are we gonna do with ourselves at night when there’s no giant pumpkin to take care of.”

Whether he places in the top ten or not, at the end of the day, Conway says it is more about creating the magic for the next patch of pumpkin growers.

“I hope that I can inspire the next generation with it. If I can help some kids to grow some pumpkins, get into gardening,” he said. “I always tell people that really you have to have patience to grow these, you have to have a really good work ethic, and you also have to be able to understand that at the end of the day, anything can happen.”

For the Conway’s, they still have one more memory to plan with their “family member.”

“Our plan for our Christmas card is to cut open the top and have the both of us and our dog in it, with Santa hats on, for our card to send out to everybody,” Caitlyn added.

The Stillwater Harvest Fest is Oct. 8-9th. Conway says he hopes his pumpkin will grow to 2,000 lbs. by then.