HALF MOON BAY — California's Napa Valley apparently is good at growing more than grapes.
The top three winners in the World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off held Monday in Half Moon Bay all are from Napa, the first time the wine-making region has dominated the annual competition now in its 40th year.
Gary Miller earned first place with a giant gourd that weighed 1,985 pounds. Contest spokesman Tim Beeman says that's a record for the event in Half Moon Bay, a coastal city about 30 miles south of San Francisco.
Hundreds cheered as Miller's enormous pumpkin beat last year's winner by 210 pounds.
"My heart was going 100 miles an hour," Miller said. "Pretty neat."
Miller, who has grown pumpkins for 20 years, said achieving this victory is "the coolest thing I've ever done" — except, of course, for having children.
He earned $11,910 in prize money, or $6 for each pound of pumpkin. He also earned an additional $1,000 because his pumpkin was California-grown.
The runner-up weighed in at 1,894 pounds and was grown by Tim Mathison of Napa. At a different contest held Saturday in Morgan Hill, about 20 miles south of San Jose, Mathison earned the record for raising the biggest gourd in the world this year, a 2,023-pound whopper.
The third-place pumpkin weighed 1,592 pounds.
"I think we have the best wine in the world," Miller said, "so why wouldn't we be able to make the biggest pumpkins in the world?"