Jack La Rue Profile
I grew my first Atlantic Giant Pumpkin in 1984 twenty six year ago. I got the seeds mail order from Gurneys. We took a few years off in the late 80?s. Sherry was working and taking college classes in the evening plus we had 4 young daughters. In 1991 we started growing giants again. We just grew for the family, no contests. It was not until 1994 that we entered our first GPC event. After that event I was hooked. Kirk Mombert sent us some seeds in the winter of 1994-1995. Three of those seeds were from his 567.5. Those three seeds started us on our way.
I was asked to list my success for Contests & Awards
1st Benton Franklin county fair 1984 154 pounds New fair record
1st Puyallup Fair 1995 560 pounds New fair record
1st Half Moon Bay 1995 875 pounds New site record
1st Hunter?s farm 2004 1052 pounds New site record
1st Hoffman?s farm 2004 1420.5 pounds New site, state & US record
1st Terminator 2004 1205 pounds New site record
1st Pioneer West harvest festival 2004 1157 pounds New site record
1st Terminator 2005 1201 pounds
1st Uesugi farm 2006 1315 pounds New site record
1st Terminator 2006 1107.5 pounds
1st Uesugi farm 2007 1388 pounds New site record
To date we (Sherry & I) have grown 33 official pumpkin weighing over 1000 pounds
Travel: because of pumpkins we have logged thousands of miles and visited many growers.
Some of the non local growers we have visited.
Howard Dill Alan Gibson
Hugh Wiberg Quinn Werner
David Snow Jerry Rose
Ken Armstrong George Bell
George and Deanna Lloyd Dick Baird
Pete Geerts Steve Razo
Al Berard Ken Mitchell
James Kuhn Leonardo Urena
Jim Beauchemin Gary Miller
Robert Demers Tim Parks
George and Mary Ann Hoomis Bill Rodonis
Ben Hebb Dave Stelts
Roger and Lisa Wentzell Takao & Yoshiko Hosijima
In 2000 we visited the Topsfield Fair. We spent several days with Barb and Hugh Wiberg. What a trip that one was. The Wibergs really went out of their way to make us feel at home.
Almost forgot the two pumpkin cruises.
Seminars: I have attended many seminars. I have been the featured speaker at times and have set on heavy hitter panels at other times. I have also attended and spoke at several new growers seminars. We always hand out our seeds at the new growers seminars.
Seed: Over the years I have handed out thousands of seeds. We have sent seeds to Australia, Africa, Southeast Asia, Japan, Europe and North America. We average close to 2000 seeds sent per year. I wish I knew how many over the years.
Patch Tours: We have attended many patch tours: Ohio several times, New England once, the Pacific Northwest Giant Pumpkin Growers and the Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers patch tours and visited patches in California.
- – Superintendent of the Horticultural department of the Benton Franklin Fair 1984-1989. Of course giant pumpkins got special attention and prizes. One of the three original Steering committee members for the Pacific Northwest Giant Pumpkin Growers 1996-2000
- Seed chairman for the PNWGPG. 1996-2000
- Founding member of the Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers. 2001
- Vice President of the PGVG 2001
- President of the PGVG 2002-2003
- Chairman of the PGVG news letter committee. 2001-present
- Chairman of the patch tour committee 2006
To spice up the patch tour we have included river tube floats and a
jet boat run on the Rogue River where the movie The River Runs Wild was filmed.
Since 1996 I have been active in club leadership. I toke one year off in 2000 to rest.
- The past three years Sherry and I have donated 15 pumpkins to the regatta group. They needed pumpkins and we had a few left over.
- My best finish is third in 2008, fourth in 2009. I would like to win that event some day; still to finish 4 at 58 years old is not bad.
- I have won the best decorated and most spirited at the event.
In the public eye Because of pumpkins:
- We have been on the Ellen DeGeneres show
- American profile did an article on us that went nation wide.
- Evening magazine did a 15 minute television show in our garden.
- I have been live on San Francisco television several times.
- I have been mentioned on the Paul Harvey show and good morning America
- In 2009 we took 4 pumpkins to the Roloff?s Farm (Little People, Big World) for one of their shows.
- Donated pumpkins for local displays: fire station, feed store, hardware store, and nursery.
- Newspaper articles both in and out of our area.
Accomplishments: What stands out the most top three in reverse order:
Third on the list 1420.5 / 1446 project that Al Eaton and I did in 2005. Little did we know how successful this project would be. We knew the first year would be just average. We were banking on the second generation. We were blown away when the 998.6 produced a new world record at 1689 pounds. Not only did the cross set a new world record it destroyed the existing record of 1502 pounds. The average world record weight increase had be around 60 pounds per year. Joe Jutras added 189 pounds in just one year. That?s a three year jump in just one year. The 1420.5 / 1446 cross is in 18 of the top 20 largest pumpkins ever grown including Christy Harp?s new world record. I would like to see this project repeated with the new genetics. I think a similar project would get us to 2000 pounds a lot quicker. As growers we need to look a little further into the future.
Second on the list would be one of the founding members of the PGVG.
- I personally worked hard for many years towards making all of our local weigh-offs GPC events.
- In 2001 we changed our color rule; to be classed a squash the fruit must be green, blue or gray. All other colors or mixture of colors were classified pumpkins.
- In 2001 we also relaxed the rule of must be present to win. The changing of these two rules made a huge difference for the better for our club.
Number one, this one is easy, all of the people we have met and friends we have made along the way. Sure prize money is nice but it does not last, friends last forever.