Cheyenne Man Breaks Wyoming Record With 1,491-Pound Pumpkin
1,322 pounds. That's the number Andy Corbin has been chasing since 2016 when Riverton resident Ron Hoffman broke his record for the biggest pumpkin ever grown in Wyoming. The self-proclaimed "pumpkin fanatic" from Cheyenne regained the record Saturday, tipping the scales with a 1,491-lb. pumpkin.
Corbin and Hoffman have now traded the state record several times. Corbin originally set the mark with a 1,268-lb. pumpkin in 2015. The next year, Hoffman broke that record using seeds from one of Corbin's pumpkins. Hoffman's largest pumpkin at the 2019 Wyoming Pumpkin Weigh-In in Worland was 1,045 pounds.
Corbin's passion for pumpkins began as a child in Cody. He rediscovered the hobby in 2008 when another Cheyenne pumpkin enthusiast, John Stellern, gave him some seeds. A year later, Andy broke the Laramie County record and began consulting with growers around the country, learning through trial and error how to nurture giant pumpkins in southeast Wyoming's unpredictable climate.
"We tuck them in at night to keep them warm," Corbin noted as he covered his prize pumpkin with blankets. "For a few months, they're almost like our kids."
Cold weather stunts growth, which makes the process more difficult for Corbin. After sharing seeds and ideas with farmers from Wisconsin, he added misters to replicate the humidity of the midwest. Along with fertilizing the pumpkins, regulating their temperature, and monitoring for fungus and diseases, Corbin built netting around the garden to protect the crop from hail storms. He also engineered a tripod system to safely hoist the giant pumpkins onto a trailer each fall when they compete in weigh-offs around the region.
When he's not in the garden, the UW grad is the Chief Technology Officer for the Wyoming Community College Commission. His wife of 23 years, Amy Corbin, is a third-grade teacher who has learned to embrace her husband's hobby over the years.
"It was his obsession at first, but now it's turned into mine," she said. "I really enjoy it."
Along with giant pumpkins, Andy and Amy grow green beans, potatoes, and several varieties of gourds. They also hold the Wyoming state record with a 678-lb. squash.
Corbin is also the regional representative for the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, an organization that connects growers around the country, and manages the popular Pumpkin Fanatic website and social media channels. He is one of several pumpkin growers in the Cheyenne area, including John Stellern, Dr. David Lind, and meteorologist Don Day.