HUGE: Garden Guru Phil Dudman is amazed that young Jake O’Reilly of Kyogle has an Australian record for the biggest watermelon at 82.5Kg, at the Summerland Pumkin Compertition at the Kyogle showgrounds on Saturday.
HUGE: Garden Guru Phil Dudman is amazed that young Jake O’Reilly of Kyogle has an Australian record for the biggest watermelon at 82.5Kg, at the Summerland Pumkin Compertition at the Kyogle showgrounds on Saturday. Doug Eaton

Jake's mega-melon weighs as much as a full-grown man

JAKE O'Reilly set a new watermelon record at the third annual Summerland Pumpkin Show with his 82.5kg whopper, but the 11-year-old was remaining tight-lipped about the secret to his success.

"It's our secret," said Jake, who managed to beat his seven-year-old brother Tom by just 2.5kg.

An earlier version of this story mistakenly reported Jake had set a new Australian record with his mega-melon. However, while Jake's watermelon is nearly as heavy as, say, Roosters halfback James Maloney (who weighs in 83kg), we have since learned of an 87.5kg giant grown in Chinchilla, Queensland, by Bernie and Matt Davies in 2010. (Using the NRL metric, that comes in somewhere between a Billy Slater and a Johnathan Thurston).

The siblings from Ettrick, near Kyogle, smashed the opposition, with both their specimens weighing more than double that of their nearest competitors.

The brothers planted seeds purchased from show organisers in sandy soil in October and watered their prized melons daily to achieve their impressive results.

Between them the boys took home $125 for their efforts.

A steady stream of people admired the massive fruit and vegetables on display at the Kyogle Showground on Saturday.

For the second time in three years, Rukenvale farmer John Leadbeatter took out the title of biggest pumpkin with his enormous 367.5kg Atlantic Giant.

Mr Leadbetter, who grows pumpkins to sell to local fruit shops, said he entered the inaugural competition in 2011 to prove he could grow massive specimens.

"My first Atlantic Giant I grew was 67kg, so I have improved by 300kg in two years, which I think is a great achievement," he said.

Mr Leadbetter won $250 for the heaviest pumpkin.

Summerland Pumpkin Show spokeswoman Ben Radic said Atlantic Giant pumpkin seeds were sold to most of the competitors in September last year.

"The growers are very keen and the competition heats up more and more each year," she said.

Ms Radic said an official from the Royal Sydney Agricultural Society approached several competitors to exhibit at the annual Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Garden guru Phil Dudman, who judged the massive pumpkins, said this year had been a great season for growing.

"The size of the pumpkins this year is a lot bigger due to the drier conditions," he said.

"A number of the pumpkins will be going to the Sydney Royal Easter Show to be exhibited, which is a real highlight for the growers."

Mr Dudman said he was extremely impressed with the efforts of the O'Reilly brothers.

"It is a great tradition being created here and anything that encourages growing and gardening is a great thing."



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