GRANT, AL (WAFF) - Many people enjoy a big ole watermelon during the summertime. But a watermelon grower in Marshall County now has the state record for the largest ever grown. He broke the state record twice in just one year.
For Daniel Bentley this became a hobby just a few years ago. Then it became a passion for him to win the state title and he did it this year.
“I planted three plants on one side of the garden. He planted three on his side. Within a month, all of my plants died,” said Bentley.
Bentley has come a long way since losing a competition with his young son on who could grow the biggest watermelon. Bentley began a quest to grow the state’s largest watermelon in his garden and to do so it took a lot of learning and work including learning a thing or two about genetics.
“You plant a seed that came out of a watermelon that was very long, you want to cross that with a watermelon, the seed that came out of a watermelon that was very wide,” he said.
On Sept. 6, he succeeded. At the Tennessee Valley Fair in Knoxville he beat the record melon for Alabama that was 272 pounds.
“My first one was 272 1/2 pounds but when you get to that size you’ll take a half pound anytime you can get it,” said Bentley.
But Bentley had another in his garden still growing so he took it six days later to a contest in Kentucky that came in at 274 1/2 pounds. The state title holder says he’s going to enjoy his success while he can because other growers are already wanting to beat him.
“I don’t have a doubt that before the year is over someone will break the record,” said Bentley.
So what did Bentley do with his prized watermelon? He did what anybody else would do. He made many, many slices and gave them to his friends and family until it was all gone. He says it’s better than any store bought melon he’s ever had.