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Nebraska man sets world record for longest voyage in a pumpkin boat

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Sep 03, 2022 11:22 am

The beautiful thing about food is that you can use it however you want: to satisfy your taste buds, care for your skin, or even ride across a river to break a world record.

Just recently, a Nebraska resident made use of an 846-pound pumpkin to paddle through the Missouri River—with the goal of setting a Guinness World Record for "Longest Journey by Pumpkin Boat." With perseverance and determination, Duane Hansen managed to successfully achieve the feat.

It just goes to show how far you can go with a little bit of hope and a lot of fertilizer.

According to a post by the City of Bellevue, Nebraska, Hansen has long found happiness in growing large pumpkins, gourds, and other vegetables. He got the idea of paddling on a pumpkin boat from visiting Ohio and seeing another person attempting to set the world record for it.

The title was previously held by Rick Swenson, who managed to sail down the Red River that connects Grand Forks in North Dakota with Breckenridge, Minnesota for a distance of 25.5 miles.

Hansen believed he could do it—"a unique, if not slightly crazy way to celebrate his 60th birthday," the city government pointed out.

Despite his age, Hansen strived against the seemingly impossible task and started his voyage on the banks of the Missouri River to make the 38-mile trip to Nebraska City. The city government estimated that the trip could take about six hours on his 800-pound floating pumpkin.

Hansen's wife, family, and friends were there to support and document him.

At five in the afternoon, the city government announced that Hansen had smashed the 25.5-mile record that Swenson set, but that he was still continuing on to the Marina in Nebraska City, which is about 12 more miles.

Then, at nine in the evening, the Hansen family gave an update that Duane made it to Nebraska City just after 6:30 p.m., achieving the world record of paddling on a pumpkin boat for 38 miles.

Hansen told TODAY that he was determined to set the world record, so much so that he did not entertain any thoughts of giving up.

“Once you have a goal like that, and you’re so close, there’s no way I was quitting. When I went down that river, for a long way, it was tough, I was done. But I was determined," he said. 

When asked about his experience on the river, he said, "Once you’re on the river, that damn thing was so tippy, it was unbelievable. It was like riding in a cork. You just could tip over at any second. You’re using your balance the whole time. I’ve never paid so much attention to any one thing in my entire life."

While the Guinness World Record has yet to officially acknowledge Hanson's feat, its spokesperson Kylie Galloway told CNN that they have received his application for the title and are awaiting evidence to review.