Missouri man Steve Kueny broke a Guinness World Record by traveling 11 hours down the Missouri River in nothing but a 1,293-pound pumpkin — a slimy, cold way to travel.
Kueny set sail earlier this month, traveling from Kansas City at 7:30 a.m. and paddling the 38 miles to Napoleon by 6:18 p.m.
“It takes a lot of planning and also a lot of flying by the seat of your pants,” Kueny told local network KCTV. “I’m just a guy with a pumpkin and a whimsical sense of adventure out to have fun.”
The homegrown Atlantic giant pumpkin named Huckle Berry was raised by Kueny to 1,293 pounds specifically for the Guinness record attempt. According to Paddle KC Paddling Club, the vessel had a circumference of 13 feet, 6 inches and had around an 8-inch thick flesh.
Before starting his journey, Kueny indicated that he test-floated the pumpkin to see which side wanted to float up. Then, the hole was cut, and he would spend nearly 11 hours sitting cross-legged in a wetsuit from beginning to end.
After entering the water, Kueny set out with paddles in hand and Paddle KC Padding Club boats to make sure everyone stayed safe during the journey.
“During the 11 hours of almost constant paddling, Steve paddled the wakes of 8 barge passings, passed three sand dredges, and had one startling crunchy drag and bounce off submerged rocks near the shore,” reported Paddle KC.
The previous record was set by Duane Hansen, who paddled over 37 miles in an 846-pound pumpkin boat in 2022. Before Hansen, Rick Swenson held the record from a 2018 journey of 25.5 miles. To beat the new record, Kueny ensured he had witnesses, GPS tracking, and time stamps to verify his new record.
“After meeting a previous record holder at a giant pumpkin seminar, I decided that I wanted to try to break the record,” Hansen told Guinness at the time.
Guinness’ records management team will verify whether Kueny’s attempts were valid — a process that may take 12 to 15 weeks.
»Related: Record pumpkin smashes California championship weigh-off