- A man piloted a hollowed-out pumpkin on a 38-mile journey down the Missouri River last week.
- Duane Hansen and his homegrown gourd named “Berta” likely set a new world record in the process.
- He told a local news station that it took him nearly a decade to grow the perfect pumpkin for the trip.
A Nebraska man celebrated his 60th birthday last week by floating down the Missouri River in an 846-pound pumpkin named ‘Berta’ — and likely setting a new world record in the process.
Duane Hansen grew the giant gourd himself and set off on a 38-mile water journey on Thursday morning from Bellevue, Nebraska, to Nebraska City, Nebraska, in an effort to squash the previously-held 25-mile pumpkin paddle record.
Hansen’s nearly 40-mile odyssey, if officially verified by Guinness World Records, would cement him as the world record holder for “longest journey by pumpkin boat.”
Berta the gourd boasted a circumference of 146 inches, and once Hansen scooped out the insides of the pumpkin, there was enough room for him to take his mount inside.
Officials with the City of Bellevue on Facebook announced Hansen’s arrival in Nebraska City last week at the conclusion of his 11-hour trip.
“Congratulations Duane for smashing the world record,” the city wrote. “We are proud that you started this record breaking 38 mile journey in Bellevue and it’s been fun to follow along.”
Bellevue officials said in the post that they hadn’t originally realized that Hansen himself would be accompanying the pumpkin down the river.
Upon his arrival, Hansen’s daughter Morgan Buchholz told News Channel Nebraska that she was proud of her dad.
“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,” she told the outlet.
Hansen’s journey wasn’t all smooth sailing, though. According to the news station, he had to traverse rocky shores and shallow sand bars while on board the “S.S. Berta.” Each time he waved to observers on the shore, Hansen reportedly risked tipping into the water.
Hansen told News Channel Nebraska that it took him a decade to grow the perfect pumpkin.
“It’s that tough,” he said.
But upon conclusion of his journey and the fulfillment of his goal, he assured his wife that his gourd-steering days were done.
“I ain’t gonna do this again,” he said. “I’m done with this.”