Lewisburg, WV (WVNS) – Chris Rodebaugh is a Lewisburg dentist by day. During his off-time, however, he’s growing the largest produce in the city.
Rodebaugh said while it’s a fun hobby, the end goal is to win some competitions in the Craigsville Fall Festival this weekend.
“Surrounding areas of our state, and surrounding states from Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, New York, are going to come in. All together on that day, in Craigsville, West Virginia, to weigh in and see who has the biggest fruit,” Rodebaugh said.
The prize piece of Rodebaugh’s collection are several giant pumpkins.
He wouldn’t tell us how much they weigh, but he’s chasing the state record held in West Virginia.
His passion for growing harkens back to 2018 when he first saw giant pumpkins at the State Fair of West Virginia.
Rodebaugh continued to enhance his craft in those 5 years.
“I researched it, and in the rabbit hole of research, I thought that was so interesting, so I set off to grow a 500 pounder. That first season, I grew something that was 1500 pounds here in my backyard, not far from where this fruit sits right now,” Rodebaugh said.
Rodebaugh also grows watermelons and tomatoes in his collection. One tomato set to be judged this weekend is said to weigh over 6 pounds.
When asked what drives his passion, Rodebaugh said it’s how people react when seeing his collection.
“When I actually weighed the fruit, the excitement of the crowd…everyone enjoys it. There are no sad faces when they’re looking at a big fruit. It’s just amazement and wonder and it makes everyone child-like,” Rodebaugh said.