Oddly Enough

Paddle your own pumpkin: German racers swap boats for vegetables

Slideshow ( 3 images )

LOHMAR, Germany (Reuters) - With a look of apprehension, a blond woman clad in a wetsuit wobbles her way onto a lake in western Germany in a huge, hollowed-out vegetable.

Paddle held aloft, she’s a contestant in the Krewelshofer lake’s annual pumpkin race, held for the third time on Wednesday over a 35-meter (115-ft) course.

Grown specially for the race, the pumpkins must weigh at least 250 kilograms (550 pounds) and, to minimize the risk of capsizing, more for heavier participants.

“It was hard fighting against the wind to get anywhere, but when you are in the groove it works. I imagined it would be more difficult,” said competitor Mailin Matuschek.

“I actually thought that after a few meters you would fall in,” chimed in her sister Jana-Mai.

The fastest racers in six categories get 200 euros ($230) in prize money, or 300 euros if they paddled in their own pumpkins - enough to buy a boat for next year.

Reporting by Clare Watson; editing by John Stonestreet