Nebraska man shatters world record for longest trip in a pumpkin boat

No, he wasn’t out of his gourd.

A Nebraska man carved out a new Guinness World Record by riding inside a hollowed out pumpkin for 38 treacherous miles down the Missouri River.

Shattering the melon mark on his 60th birthday Saturday, Duane Hansen was greeted by adoring relatives and admirers after stepping out of the bobbing orange vessel named Big Berta.

Hansen told News Channel Nebraska that the trip was fraught with peril, with his floating fruit repeatedly taking on water as passing boats sent waves in his direction.

“The boats leave the waves and you’ve got to stop everything and just hold on and ride with those waves,” he told the outlet. “That was bad.”

Hansen first set his sights on the record after running into the previous record holder at a fruit-growing seminar in Oregon.

The master gardener grew the mammoth pumpkin — weighing 846 pounds — in his own garden for the specific purpose of beating the 25.5 mile record set in 2018.

Duane Hansen broke a new Guinness World Record by riding inside a hollowed out pumpkin.
Facebook/City of Bellevue, Nebraska
Duane Hansen
The Nebraska man rode in the pumpkin 38 miles down the Missouri River.
Facebook/City of Bellevue, Nebraska
Duane Hansen
The pumpkin boat was named Big Berta.
Facebook/City of Bellevue, Nebraska

“I’m so proud of my dad,” said his tearful daughter, Morgan Buchholz. “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.”

His sister, Yvonne Hansen, flew in from San Diego to handle the flurry of paperwork required to make the attempt Guinness compliant.

“When we first got started it went real quick, like the first five miles felt like nothing,” she told the outlet. “Once we got about 18 miles in, it started feeling like, ‘Wow, this is a long trip.’”

Duane Hansen
He grew the pumpkin in his gardener and it weighed 846 pounds.
Facebook/City of Bellevue, Nebraska
Duane Hansen
Hansen knew he wanted to take on the challenge after meeting the previous record holder.
Facebook/City of Bellevue, Nebraska

A friend manned a boat alongside Hansen in case of any mishaps, and the trip — which began in Bellevue and ended in Nebraska City — took a total of 11 hours.

Guiding Berta to glory, Hansen said, required a total commitment.

“You’ve got to be on top of it the whole time – the whole time,” he said.


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