Nebraska Man Sails 38 Miles Down River In A Giant Pumpkin To Break World Record

Nebraska Man Sails 38 Miles Down River In A Giant Pumpkin To Break World Record

A Nebraska man floated nearly 40 miles down the Missouri River in a giant pumpkin, in an attempt to break a Guinness World Record.

Duane Hansen, of Syracuse, Nebraska, completed the feat on his 60th birthday on Saturday, floating more than 38 miles downriver from the city of Bellevue to Nebraska City, in an enormous hollowed-out pumpkin he nicknamed “Big Berta.” While not officially verified by Guinness yet, Hansen’s voyage would smash the previous world record of 25.5 miles, set in 2016.

“On Thursday morning right after 8 AM, [Hansen] stopped in to the Mayor’s office and asked if a couple of people from Bellevue City Hall would serve as official witnesses for his effort to be recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records,” the city wrote on its Facebook page Saturday. According to the post, two city officials volunteered to watch the record attempt, “which [we] originally thought was to float a 800 pound pumpkin for over 30 miles down the river. It wasn’t until later in the conversation that we realized that Mr. Hansen would actually be riding in the pumpkin on this journey,” the city officials wrote.

Hansen launched the vegetable vessel at around 7:30 A.M. Photos from the scene showed the pumpkin, strapped to a boat trailer with a mattress pad underneath it. Hansen then boarded the boat, with a cooler doubling as a seat, a cupholder carved into the side, and a kayak paddle to propel him down the river. The boat was marked with “S.S. Berta” and the weight of the pumpkin, a total of 846 pounds. According to the post, Hansen matched the previous record at 2:52 PM Saturday afternoon, then continued approximately 13 more miles to Nebraska City. He arrived in Nebraka City at just after 6:30. According to News Channel Nebraska, Hansen’s journey totaled just about 41 miles.

In addition to rocky shores and sandbars in the river, Hansen had to constantly fight to keep the giant gourd from tipping over, he told News Channel Nebraska. Passing boats could tip the vessel over, and the wakes would cause it to take on water. “The boats leave the waves and you’ve got to stop everything and just hold on and ride with those waves. That was bad,” he said. Even waving to onlookers could put it in danger of tipping. “You’ve got to be on top of it the whole time,” Hansen added.

Hansen has been attempting to grow a giant pumpkin for nearly a decade, he told the outlet. He got the idea to try for the world record from a chance encounter with a woman who claimed to hold the record. “I was at a giant pumpkin growing seminar, a three-day seminar in Portland, Ore., and I met this lady that had the record,” he said. “At the time it was 25-something miles. And I asked her a lot of questions and that’s when I decided I wanted to do this.”

A Twitter post about Hansen’s voyage has garnered more than 126,000 thousands and hundreds of replies from well-wishers.

“He is only partly out of his gourd,” one commenter wrote.

“Oh my gourd!” added another.

“Gourdspeed,” said another.

For his part, Hansen is done setting world records. “I ain’t gonna do this again,” he told News Channel Nebraska. “I’m done with this.”

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