They said it couldn’t be done. They said he was crazy. They said he would never make it.
But Duane Hansen and his beautiful gourd, which he christened Berta, proved them all wrong. Like Cinderella’s fairy godmother, this Nebraska man proved that you really can turn a pumpkin into a functional vehicle — in this case, a seaworthy vessel.
Yes, you read that right. Hansen wanted to celebrate his 60th birthday by hollowing out his prized 846-pound gourd and sailing down the Missouri River inside it. (We guess that for some, when you hit a milestone age, a plate of cake and ice cream just aren’t enough.)
Not only did Hansen enjoy a pumpkin cruise on his special day, but his 38-mile journey also landed him a world record! In case you wondered, the previous world record for the longest sail in a pumpkin was 25 miles, set by a North Dakota man in 2018. How’s that for a birthday gift to yourself?
It wasn’t an easy journey. Growing a gourd big enough to use as a boat is already a challenge. Then, there was his chosen waterway: The city of Bellevue, Nebraska, posted a shot of Hansen on the water that offers a reminder of just how big the Missouri River is:
Check out a report from News Channel Nebraska about his unique feat below:
About his pumpkin passage, Hansen’s daughter, Morgan Buchholz, had this to say of her pop:
“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,” Buchholz told News Channel Nebraska through tears.
Hansen reportedly spent nearly a decade trying to grow a gourd big enough to work as a sailing vessel. He was inspired to begin his mission after meeting a woman who previously held the record at a pumpkin-grower seminar. He told News Channel Nebraska that he asked her many questions about her experience, including if you could drink beer while sailing a pumpkin.
As for his gourd-sailing future, well, Hansen says there isn’t one.
“I ain’t gonna do this again,” he said after his record-setting trip. “I’m done with this.”
He told KMTV that the voyage made his knees ache. The wake from boats was rough, and when they passed, he said he had to stop everything and just hang on.
“If somebody breaks this record, I will, like, bow down to them because they are tough,” he said.
Maybe he can focus on growing the world’s largest pumpkin next time!