By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – Brick layer and part-time preacher Jerry Vaughn claimed bragging rights for the second year in a row after winning the Largest Watermelon Contest in the Watermelon Carnival.
Vaughn’s 165.6 pound melon easily outweighed the second-place finisher, Marty Bost, whose melon weighed 101.3 pounds. The two have become friendly competitors, with Bost also earning bragging rights with seven wins under his belt in the last 11 years.
Vaughn has been at it since 2004, and the two competitors have flip-flopped first place finishes at the carnival and even state records as they have raised the bar for big melons during the last five years.
Vaughn initially set a state record in 2005 when his record tipped the scales at 191 pounds. In 2006, Bost responded, setting a new state record with his 215 pound melon entered in the Watermelon Carnival contest.
This time the record stood two years, but Vaughn reclaimed the title as having grown the state’s largest melon with a 217.5 pound melon in 2008. This melon was not entered at the competition, as Vaughn kept it on the vine when he noticed it was still growing when it came time for the carnival contest. He pulled the melon almost a month after the contest.
Both competitors agreed it had been a tough year to grow melon, and other vegetables, after a cold and rainy April and May, followed by a hot, dry June.
Bost lives in Lafayette County and nurses a 50 acre garden as a full time farmer. He reported that the summer’s inclement weather also affected his tomato crop, causing him to replant.
Both Bost and Vaughn told the Herald they left a melon or two in the patch this year, in hopes they may keep growing.
“I had five that size still growing,” Vaughn said, pointing to his 100 pound, second place melon.