Participant trying to stay afloat on top of a pumpkin

Great Pumpkin Regata

​It’s the Great Pumpkin (Regatta)

There are no rules. There are no prizes. There is also no chance of staying dry in the Giant Pumpkin Regatta, held by the Hoofer Sailing Club every September. The tradition began in 2004 with UW–Madison horticulture professors Jim Nienhuis PhD1982 and Irwin Goldman PhD1991. (It has since become a part of a required lab for their course World Vegetables and Crops.) With nautical advice from Hoofer members and tractor-tire donations from BF Goodrich, the tradition launched. Nienhuis kicks off the activity each year by carving the 400- to 550-pound pumpkins with a machete at the lakeshore.