Growing 'Hulk' the pumpkin (with photos)

By Erika Mahoney

September 19, 2013 Updated Sep 19, 2013 at 12:43 AM EDT

Windsor, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Just as the leaves start to change, pumpkin weigh-off competitions pop up all across America.

Throughout the months of September and October, giant pumpkin growers will spend their weekends seeing if they've grown the biggest gourd in their area.

Bill Bobier from Windsor has been competing in local weigh-offs for nearly two decades.

His backyard is a pumpkin patch.

"From the road you're not going to know it's here," Bobier said. "So it is kind of a secret garden."

A garden that is home to three very large pumpkins.

"Growing pumpkins is a sport. It's an obsession," he said. "It's sort of the Olympics of gardening."

Bobier caught the pumpkin growing bug in 1994.

"My first year I grew a 667-pounder, and I wowed myself. And I sort of said, 'this is easy.' And that time the world record was 802. So, I wasn't that far away. I said 'wow' my first attempt. Next year I was humbled and grew a 400 pounder and learned a lot."

Fast forward nearly 20 years, and he's earned then nickname "Pumpkin Bill" and two state records.

"Once with an 1,100 pounder, and once with a 1,405 pounder."

This weigh-off season, he's heading to three different competitions.

"I've got the three biggest pumpkins in my patch that I've ever grown. I've got one that is absolutely beautiful, I've got one that's a little guy and I've got 'the Hulk.'"

The Hulk will be heading to the World Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Clarence, N.Y. on Oct. 6.

It's 5.5 feet wide, 5.5 feet long, and 4.5 feet tall.

"I nicknamed it the Hulk, sort of like the green man that metamorphoses and breaks off his clothes and grows all of these big, huge muscles. This pumpkin has done this because it started off as a little baby."

During it's peak growing time, the hulk put on between 40 and 50 pounds a day.

According to Bill, it should continue to put on about 10 pounds a day up until he harvests it for competition.

He won't know its weight until it hits the scale in Clarence, but he has a guess.

"I'm sure it's going to break 1,600 pounds and I'm fairly confident it's going to break 1,700."

Getting to that size is a labor of love.

Since the hulk's birth in April, Bill has spent an average of five hours a day in his pumpkin patch.

"If we get our personal best, we've done a good job. If it turns out even better than that, well it's all gravy on top then. Prize money, fame, stardom, whatever," laughs Bill.

His first competition will take place Saturday at the Cooperstown PumpkinFest Weigh-Off and Regatta.

Bill said it takes at least three hours to get one of his giant pumpkins into his truck and on the road.

As for next year, he said he's taking a break for himself and his soil, and going to spend more time fishing.