PHOTO: Nebraska Man Destroys World Record for Longest Trip in a ‘Pumpkin Boat’

by Sean Griffin
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A Nebraska man earned a new Guinness World Record by boating inside a hollowed-out pumpkin down a treacherous 38-mile stretch of the Missouri River. Officially, Duane Hansen now holds the record for longest trip in a pumpkin boat.

Hansen broke the mark on Saturday, which was also his 60th birthday. Hansen named his vessel “Big Berta,” and the big orange pumpkin floated down the river to break the record. The record-owner Hansen greeted his family and admirers after earning the title.

Hansen told News Channel Nebraska that the trip was perilous. He said that passing boats repeatedly sent waves in his direction, making his huge fruit boat take on water.

“The boats leave the waves and you’ve got to stop everything and just hold on and ride with those waves,” he told the outlet. “That was bad.”

Hansen’s road to the record is intriguing. He set his sights on the record after running into the previous record holder at a fruit-growing seminar in Oregon and learning of the record.

Check out the incredible pumpkin boat Hansen himself grew.

Pumpkin Boat Breaks Guinness World Record in Nebraska

The master gardener grew the mammoth pumpkin — weighing 846 pounds — in his own garden. He grew it for the specific purpose of beating the 25.5 mile record set in 2018.

Before launching, Hansen also had to carve the “boat.” With a circumference of around 146 inches, Berta was large enough for Hansen to fit inside after being hollowed out.

“I’m so proud of my dad,” said his tearful daughter, Morgan Buchholz. “He has always said that you can do anything you want and how can you not believe somebody who goes out and does exactly what he wants and I’m just so proud.”

His sister, Yvonne Hansen, flew in from San Diego to handle the flurry of paperwork required to comply with Guinness regulations.

“When we first got started it went real quick, like the first five miles felt like nothing,” she told the outlet. “Once we got about 18 miles in, it started feeling like, ‘Wow, this is a long trip.’”

A friend manned a boat alongside Hansen in case of any mishaps. The trip — which began in Bellevue and ended in Nebraska City — lasted a total of 11 hours.

Guiding Berta to glory, Hansen said, required a total commitment. “You’ve got to be on top of it the whole time – the whole time,” he said.

Previously, Rick Swenson, who in 2016 completed a 25-mile trip inside a pumpkin when he paddled from Grand Forks, N.D., to Oslo, Minn., held the title. But Hansen’s 38-mile float on Saturday would blow past that record if it is verified by Guinness.

Outsider.com