Kentucky Ag News

Maxwell Daley wins the $500 largest pumpkin prize.

Maxwell Daley of Grayson County is presented a ceremonial check for $500 by, from left: Ryan Bivens, a member of the Kentucky State Fair Board; Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles; and Steve Kelly, executive director of expositions for the state fair board. (Kentucky Department of Agriculture photo)


Pumpkin prize goes to Grayson County seventh-grader


By TED SLOAN, Kentucky Agricultural News


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Maxwell Daley is a man of few words. At the Kentucky State Fair, he let his giant pumpkin do the talking. And his pumpkin had a lot to say.

Maxwell, a seventh-grader at Grayson County Middle School, entered a pumpkin that weighed in at 582.5 pounds to capture the $500 top prize in a competitive Largest Pumpkin Contest on Aug. 19.

“Maxwell is leading a new generation of pumpkin growers in Kentucky,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “We’re very proud of his effort and congratulate him for prevailing over competitors who have been growing pumpkins for many years.”

Maxwell shared the secrets of growing a giant pumpkin: “We put lots of special fertilizers on it,” he said. “We put it in the shade, put a canopy over it. Lots of weed pulling.”

“It starts with the right seed, lots of different types of fertilizer, and keeping the weeds down, the pests out, and the diseases out,” said Joe Daley, Maxwell’s father. “It turns into a pretty big job. He did all the work.”
Maxwell said he became interested in growing giant pumpkins after seeing them at the state fair. He said the pumpkin he brought to the state fair was the only one he grew this year.

The usually reserved Maxwell left no doubt that he will be a force to be reckoned with in the Largest Pumpkin Contest for years to come. When asked if he will attempt to defend his title, he replied without hesitation: “Yes.”