pumpkineer
(PUMP.kin.eer, PUM.kin.eer) n. A person who grows giant pumpkins, particularly ones meant to be entered in pumpkin-weighing contests. (pumpkin + engineer)

Example Citation:
Driving by in their cars in Cedar Valley, a small community north of Toronto, people will often slow down to take a look at the massive orange mound growing in Bach Bennett's yard. The really curious will stop and knock at the farmhouse and ask for a better look at the 650-pound (300-kilogram) pumpkin dominating the yard.

Bennett is always happy to oblige. He is not a farmer — he works as a designer and decorator in Toronto. But he is what he jokingly likes to call a pumpkineer.
—Rebecca Caldwell, "My, what a huge gourd," The Globe and Mail, October 19, 2002

Earliest Citation:
In the World Pumpkin Confederation's [weigh-in] contestants compete with growers in Australia, New Zealand, Italy and the United States for prizes that can total $5,000. Last year's winner weighed in at 604.5 pounds, grown by a Vermont pumpkineer.
—John Spears, "Rival groups weigh in for gold in Nova Scotia pumpkin patch," The Toronto Star, October 8, 1988

Notes:
The first thing you need to know is that giant-pumpkin growing is a serious business. There's the grandly-named World Pumpkin Confederation; there are Web sites galore (bigpumpkins.com is good for general news, but big-time growers swear by the seeds found at howarddill.com); and there's even a book: How-to-Grow World Class Giant Pumpkins II. ("If you have ever dreamed of growing a giant pumpkin, then this book is for you.")

Then there's the money. Even small state fairs and pumpkin festivals award a few thousand dollars to the grower of the heaviest gourd. In Ontario, Canada, one of the world's best places to grow humongous pumpkins and the home of a large and dedicated patch of pumpkineers, the annual province-wide pumpkin fest comes with a first prize of CDN$15,000. The Guinness Book of World Records — who, you can just imagine, absolutely love this kind of thing — pay US$30,000 for a new pumpkin world record.

And it looks as though Guinness is going to have to pay up because the big-pumpkin world is still buzzing from the news of a new world record being set at the Topsfield (Massachussetts) Fair on October 5, 2002. The behemoth squash tipped the scales at a jaw-dropping 1337.6 pounds. That's a lot of pumpkin pie!

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