Some high schoolers devote their free time to video games and TikTok dances and wild ‘n’ wacky tunes, man. Others spend their after-school hours terrorizing small business owners. But Park Hill, Oklahoma, teenager Tucker Friend has loftier pursuits: the high schooler recently broke a state record with a 215-pound bushel gourd, the Tahlequah Daily Press reports.
Per the Daily Press, Friend beat the state record at the Oklahoma Giant Pumpkin Growers Weigh-off event. He reportedly spent much of this year tending to a giant pumpkin in hopes of growing a 450-pounder. When his giant pumpkin failed to thrive (the Daily Press says the fruit started to “dilapidate and crack in his garden”), he turned to a promising bushel gourd, a fast-growing ornamental gourd that can, on average, grow to around 100 pounds. Friend’s gourd surpassed that number as it grew to what Friend believes to be the second-largest bushel gourd in the world. (We weren’t able to confirm that, but I really want to take his word for it.)
Friend’s mother, Heidi Wilder, told the Daily Press that her son inherited his green thumb from his grandfather. “He’s been interesting in horticulture since he was probably 11 years old,” Wilder said. “He wanted a cell phone and I figured he wanted to talk to his friends or play games, and the first thing he did was look up giant pumpkins and how to grow them.” Friend is also hoping to kick off his YouTube page, Growing Giants with Tucker, to inspire other young gourd devotees.
What’s next for Friend? The Daily Press reports that he’s currently cultivating another monster gourd, which has reached 150 pounds and continues to grow up to four inches a day. “This year, I’m going to really try at it and try to grow a world record,” Friend said. Who knows—he could become the next Gerald Stratford.