His breakthrough came in 1979 when he grew a 438-pound pumpkin, declared the largest in the world. Mr. Dill won the world championship four years in a row, but not without sacrifice. He recalled driving more than 1,000 miles to the U.S. with a pumpkin in the back of his pickup truck, spending days away from his family and farm, to compete for a $100 prize. On his way home, prize claimed, he seriously considered whether he should see a psychiatrist, says his son, Danny Dill.

— Howard Dill, pumpkin champion  

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