13-year-old Manitoba boy wins $1,500 for biggest pumpkin

Gourd work, Milan Lukes! The 13-year-old boy snatched up the top prize at a local contest in rural Manitoba with his 1,348-pound pumpkin.

Along with bragging rights, Lukes also won $1,500 for his first place honour. The other pumpkin—an orange monster weighing in at 1,283-poounds—nabbed the second place spot and another $1,000.

“In April, in Roland, they always host an annual growing seminar where we share tips and techniques..and this really nice man did a bet that if I won first place, he’d give me $50,” Lukes told the CBC.

Lukes has competed in the Roland Pumpkin Fair several times in the past, but this is the first time he’s won first place.

“Growing these things—it’s like taking care of a child,” Lukes said in an interview with the CBC. “They need a lot of care and attention, and you can’t just leave them.”

And Lukes has been growing giant pumpkins since he was a child himself. He grew his first pumpkin when he was six-years-old, an extension of his obessesion with the colour orange. Ever since then, he was hooked.

In year’s past, Lukes has tended to his pumpkins like they’re newborns, ensuring they get the right amount of water and covering them to prevent their skin from getting sun-damaged. He’s read nearly everything he can find about growing pumpkins, shopped around for the best seeds, and even sacrificed vacations so he can look after his pumpkins.

Finally, all of that hard work paid off for Lukes. And now, it’s time for fun.

“We know for sure we will put them on our front lawn,” Lukes told the CBC. “I myself always carve a hole near the stem area, and I crawl inside and it makes a great photo having me inside because you could fit like eight people my size inside there.”

This Halloween, be sure to go trick-or-treating at the Lukes’ house—it’s bound to have some pretty sweet jack-o-lanterns.