A man in Nebraska celebrated turning 60 over the weekend in style with a 38-mile trip down the Missouri River in a carved, 846lb pumpkin called ‘Berta’ that he had been growing for 10 years as he made history squashing a Guinness World Record.
Duane Hansen, now 60, set sail to paddle the Missouri River at around 7.30a.m. on Saturday from Bellevue to Nebraska City, six years after former record holder Rick Swenson created a pumpkin boat to complete a 25.5-mile trip down the Red River from Grand Forks, North Dakota to Breckenridge, Minnesota in 2016.
The trip along the midwestern state’s eastern border with Iowa took Hansen, who is a Nebraska native from Syracuse, approximately six hours to complete. He sat straight and paddled on a cooler that he had placed inside the pumpkin during the entirety of his journey.
‘Mr. Hansen is a long time Nebraska resident who enjoys growing large pumpkins, gourds and other vegetables as a hobby,’ City of Bellevue Community Relations Coordinator Phil Davidson shared on Facebook.
‘He came up with this idea when visiting Ohio and seeing another person attempt to set this record which is currently right around 30 miles. Seems like a unique, if not slightly crazy, way to celebrate his 60th birthday, which was [Friday].’
‘He had his wife, family and friends on hand to assist with and help document the attempt. A few of them were following alongside him in a boat, should any mishaps occur,’ he added.
Duane Hansen, 60, broke a Guinness World Record on Saturday for paddling 38-mile trip on the Missouri River from Bellevue, Nebraska, to Nebraska City. The trip took him approximately six hours to complete
The new world record holder paddled on a cooler placed inside a 846-pound pumpkin called ‘Berta,’ which had a circumference of around 146 inches
Hansen hit the banks of the Missouri river starting at 7.30 a.m. on Saturday and completed his journey at around 6.30 p.m. The 60-year-old, whose birthday was on Friday, said he ‘was happy he made it’ although he felt ‘physically exhausted’
Hansen surpassed the 25.5-mile Guinness World Record at 2.52 p.m., and kept on rowing for 12 more miles, the Facebook post further revealed. One more update at 9 p.m. announced that Hansen had completed his in-state expedition, seven hours after officially being declared as the new world record holder.
‘The Hansen family just posted on this thread that Duane Hansen made it to Nebraska City just after 6:30 p.m.! Congratulations, Duane for smashing the world record,’ Davidson wrote. ‘We are proud that you started this record-breaking 38-mile (61-kilometre) journey in Bellevue, and it’s been fun to follow along.’
It took Hansen roughly 11 hours to reach his final destination, as Davidson replied to a comment on Facebook through the City of Bellevue’s page that the 60-year-old felt ‘physically exhausted’ from the journey although emphasizing that he ‘was happy he made it.’
The Guinness World Records, however, has yet to acknowledge Hansen’s quest, as there have been no updates on its website regarding the challenge. For a record to be broken, the organization requires a number of pieces of evidence, including pictures, videos, and statements from witnesses.
Hansen’s family and friends, as well as the City of Bellevue, made sure the 60-year-old’s efforts wouldn’t go to waste as they documented his excursion.
The Guinness World Records has yet to acknowledge Hanse’s accomplishment but the man’s family and friends (pictured) made sure to document the evidence, as required for submission of a new record
People online and across the globe also offered their support to Hansen, with one fan wishing him a ‘gourdspeed’ send-off while another commented on Facebook: ‘Congratulations, Duane! Cheering you on from the U.K.’
‘This is hilarious and inspiring. I hope someone is filming this! This is fantastic!’ a different individual shared.
‘Congratulations on your 60th, Duane! You took your ride in style. Surely hope your legs can stand once again! You got ‘er done!’ someone else wrote.
‘Cheering Duane on from Vancouver, Canada! Woot, woot!!! Go, pumpkin, go!’ a fan from British Columbia replied.
Passionate about growing large produce, which includes his now world-renowned pumpkin, Hansen had to a carve a circumference of around 146-inches for Berta to float on the Missouri River and for him to fit in it.
He had also strapped the large fruit over a mattress, hauled by his pickup truck, to get it down to the same river that Lewis and Clarke had started their expedition on in 1904.