WHAT A WHOPPER: Hydie, Bec, Kyron and Drew Sturgess with their 75kg champion melon at the 2017 Melon Festival.
WHAT A WHOPPER: Hydie, Bec, Kyron and Drew Sturgess with their 75kg champion melon at the 2017 Melon Festival. Matthew Newton

A melon worth weighting for

THREE generations of growing expertise, a packet or two of seeds and some A-grade manure is all it takes to become a Chinchilla Melon Festival champion title holder.

"My father and grandfather were melon farmers and this is my way to stay connected to their legacy," Kyron Sturgess said.

The Sturgess family took out the 2017 Melon Festival weigh-in title with a whopping 75kg watermelon and is hoping for similar results this year.

The mighty melon weighed the equivalent to a fully grown Javan warty pig, or about five and a half slabs of beer, and came from a species known for producing massive melons.

Carolina cross is the Sturgess family variety of choice when it comes to producing title-winning melons.

"You also have to get stuck in early," Mr Sturgess said, crediting his successes to soil preparation work six months before the festival.

"It takes a lot of water and chicken manure to get the conditions just right."

The ever-modest Mr Sturgess is hopeful his clan can maintain its title at the 2019 weight-in but is concerned this year's crop could come in a little under size.

"It took a while for everyone's seedlings to come up this year so the melons themselves are about two weeks behind previous years," he said.

"I grew my first festival melon back with Matt Davies when we were doing our boiler making apprenticeships together," Mr Sturgess said.

 

BIG BUSINESS: Matt Davies wheels up his melon for weighing at the last melon festival's big melon weigh-in.
BIG BUSINESS: Matt Davies wheels up his melon for weighing at the last melon festival's big melon weigh-in. Jill Poulsen

What started out as a partnership soon turned into a bit of friendly competition for the two men, with Mr Davies still holding the Chinchilla Melon Festival record to this day.

The 2007 entry of Bernie and Matt Davies tipped the scales at an impressive 87.5kg.

Previous winners melons and entries have lived to see another day by becoming the pride and joy on the parade floats on the Saturday of the festival.

This year's competition, sponsored by Wotif, will have a new category, welcoming the region's junior green thumbs to enter their bumper harvests.

Young Hydie and Drew Sturgess will enter a monster melon each, alongside their parents, tomorrow afternoon.

The official weigh-in will take place from 3-4pm on the Chinchilla State School oval, on Middle St.


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