Missouri man paddles 38 miles in a 1,200-pound pumpkin boat

Man paddles Missouri River in giant pumpkin boat
Steve Kueny makes Guinness World Record attempt with 11 hour paddle along the Missouri River in a giant orange vegetable (Image credit: Nathan Warson)

Halloween may be fast approaching, but a plucky guy in Missouri has found something far more adventurous to do with a pumpkin than hollow it out and turn it into a Jack-o'-lantern. 

Steve Kueny, of Lebanon, Missouri, hollowed out a giant 1,200-pound pumpkin and turned it into a boat. He then paddled it for over 11 hours, traveling 38.4 miles along the Missouri River from Kansas City to Napoleon in an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record.

The completion of the feat was announced in a post on the Paddle KC Paddle Club’s Facebook page, which revealed the pumpkin was so large it even had a name.

"The pumpkin, named ‘Huckle Berry’ was 13ft 6in around with 8in thick flesh. Steve carved out a hole just large enough to squeeze into, and sat with legs folded for 11 hours while paddling (ouch!). And yes, his wetsuit did smell like pumpkin by the end.” 

It doesn’t sound like Steve needs tips on staying safe in – or on – open water, but he certainly had a few nervewracking moments, according to the post.

“During the 11 hours of almost constant paddling, Steve paddled the wakes of eight barge passings, passed three sand dredges, and had one startling crunchy drag and bounce off submerged rocks near shore.” 

The record has yet to be officially recognized, but once submitted documentation is officially verified by Guinness, they will certify the new record, a process which could take up to 15 weeks.

The current record for a journey in a pumpkin boat – of 37.5 miles – belongs to Duane Hansen of Nebraska City, Nebraska, who completed his attempt in August 2022.