The pumpkin is a humble gourd best known as being the basis for pumpkin spice – a staple of every drink and dessert come autumn.
But apparently, pumpkins can also be made into boats…if they’re big enough. And one man in Nebraska proved that the bright orange gourd is as good as any boat to sail down a river in.
Duane Hansen decided to celebrate his 60th birthday in the most unusual of manners: by hollowing out an 846-pound pumpkin – which he named Berta – and taking a trip down the Missouri River inside of it. I guess after 50 the birthday stakes get raised.
According to CNN, Duane and Berta took a 38-mile cruise down the Missouri River and ended up making more than memories along the way.
They also broke the world record for the longest sailing journey in a pumpkin, which had previously been a title held by a North Dakota man who sailed 25 miles in a pumpkin back in 2016. Wow, so apparently people have attempted to sail inside gourds before!
Duane and Berta’s journey wasn’t an easy one, as the city of Bellevue, Nebraska, shared a photo of the man and his gourd out on the water, and the shot perfectly encapsulates just how large the Missouri River happens to be:
Duane’s daughter, Morgan Buchholz, discussed her dad’s adventure to News Channel Nebraska, saying, “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.”
Duane’s inspiration for the journey actually started almost a decade ago when he was determined to grow a gourd big enough for the task. He got inspired following a meeting with a woman at a pumpkin-grower seminar, who’d previously been a record holder for such a feat. Duane explained to News Channel Nebraska that he was fascinated by her story and asked her so many questions about her experience, including if it were possible to consume alcohol while sailing in a pumpkin. Truly the million-dollar question we’d love to know as well!
While he may have celebrated his 60th in such an interesting manner, this trip was a one-time kind of experience. Duane said, “I ain’t gonna do this again. I’m done with this.”
As unique as it was, he shared with KMTV that the trip was a rough one. Apparently, the journey made his knees ache, and every time they passed a boat, the wake was quite strong and he had to hang on and hope Berta didn’t capsize. As for his current title, Duane said he was fine if someone in the future ended up usurping him. He said, “If somebody breaks this record, I will, like, bow down to them because they are tough.”
Watch the video from the News Channel Nebraska down below:
Would ever sail in a gourd down a river? What’s the strangest thing you’ve sailed on? Let us know!