Bellevue, NE

Nebraska Man Sets Guinness World Record for Rowing a Boat Carved from an 800lb Pumpkin 38 Miles Down the Missouri River

Eric Sentell
Duane Hansen rows his 800lb pumpkin in the Missouri river.PHIL DAVIDSON/CITY OF BELLEVUE/FACEBOOK

Duane Hansen celebrated his 60th birthday by setting a Guinness World Record for the longest distance ever rowed in a pumpkin.

Hansen isn't the first to row a pumpkin a long distance. A man set the initial Guinness World Record for "journey by pumpkin" with a 15-mile float. Rick Swenson bested that record in 2016, rowing his pumpkin 25 miles.

Hansen shattered the previous record. He traveled 38 miles from Bellevue, NE, to Nebraska City, NE. The trip took nearly 12 hours, with friends and family cheering him on and city officials documenting the journey for Guinness.
Duane Hansen inside his pumpkin boat.City of Bellevue, Nebraska

Hansen grew the pumpkin himself. To grow such an enormous pumpkin, gardeners typically use the "Atlantic Giant" seed, heap 2-5 cubic yards of manure on the soil, and meticulously care for their pumpkins throughout the growing season.

The pumpkin was big enough to hold Duane Hansen, but notice how log the pumpkin floated in the river. He had a drink in a "cupholder" he carved into the pumpkin's side and a cooler in the bottom of the pumpkin.
Hansen enters the water with his pumpkin boat. The cupholder is visible.City of Bellevue, Nebraska

We have to give Hansen credit for aquatic bravery and stamina.

One day, we may also give Hansen credit for sparking an "arms race" of pumpkin rowing. How long will it take for Rick Swenson to reclaim his title? Or could someone else decide to outdo them both?

No glass slippers or fairy godmothers were reported during or after Hansen's record-setting day. He pulled into Nebraska City well before the stroke of midnight.

You can read the City of Bellevue's official documentation of the feat on Facebook.

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