60-year-old US man floats 61 km down Missouri River in giant 383 kg pumpkin, crushes world record
Duane Hansen paddled for 61 kilometres down Missouri River in a 383-kilogram floating pumpkin to break a world record - when he turned, 60 no less.
Hansen, of Syracuse city in the US state, grew the giant pumpkin he had named “SS Berta” for nearly a decade before he hollowed it out to take on the Guinness World Record for the “longest journey by a pumpkin boat” as he paddled the repurposed gourd for 11 hours.
The sexagenarian, dubbed “Cinderfella”, unofficially took the record previously set by Rick Swenson in 2016 when he completed a 25-mile (40-km-long) paddle from Grand Forks in North Dakota to Oslo in Minnesota.
The record-squashing feat earned him the peculiar moniker as it had a striking similarity with the centuries-old fairy tale in which Cinderella travels in a giant pumpkin to meet her prince.
Speaking to local media, Hansen explained how he couldn’t even wave to the spectators and family gathered to watch him float as water leaking into his pumpkin demanded the 60-year-old hold on for a laborious balancing act.
"You’ve got to be on top of it the whole time – the whole time," he told News Channel Nebraska. “"You’ve got to stop everything and just hold on and ride with those waves. That was bad."
Officials of the city of Bellevue announced his successful bid for the record Saturday, hours after he returned to the Nebraska city.
“Congratulations Duane for smashing the world record,” they wrote in a Facebook post. “We are proud that you started this record breaking 38 mile journey in Bellevue.”
A formal confirmation from Guinness World Records is awaited as the record-keeping organisation requires submission of comprehensive evidence - including photos, videos and statements from witnesses - to verify any achievement.