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Man breaks world record for floating down a river in a pumpkin: 'Gourdspeed'

·Lifestyle and News Editor
·4-min read

A man in the United States has broken a world record that's just a tad unusual.

On Saturday morning in Nebraska, 60-year-old Duane Hansen set out at around 7:30 a.m. to paddle the Missouri River from Bellevue to Nebraska City, along the midwestern state's eastern border with Iowa.

But Hansen wasn't completing the voyage using a typical vessel.

Instead, the Syracuse, Nebraska-native travelled the 38-mile (61-kilometre) journey using a hollowed out pumpkin weighing 846 pounds (384 kilograms). It's a trip that was estimated to take roughly 6 hours.

"Mr. Hansen is a long time Nebraska resident who enjoys growing large pumpkins, gourds and other vegetables as a hobby," Phil Davidson, community relations coordinator for the City of Bellevue, wrote in a Facebook post on the city's page. "He came up with this idea when visiting Ohio and seeing another person attempt to set this record which is currently right around 30 miles. Seems like a unique, if not slightly crazy, way to celebrate his 60th birthday, which was [Friday].

"He had his wife, family and friends on hand to assist with and help document the attempt. A few of them were following alongside him in a boat, should any mishaps occur."

Around 5 p.m., the post was updated with the news that Hansen officially broke the world record earlier that afternoon.

Hansen completed the 38-mile (61-kilometre) journey from Bellevue to Nebraska City late Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Phil Davidson via City of Bellevue, Nebraska on Facebook)
Hansen completed the 38-mile (61-kilometre) journey from Bellevue to Nebraska City late Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Phil Davidson via City of Bellevue, Nebraska on Facebook)

"We have a new world record holder!! Duane surpassed the 25.5 mile (41 kilometre) record at 2:52 p.m., and he is currently continuing on to the marina in Nebraska City, which is approximately 12 more miles (19 kilometres)," the update read. "Congratulations, Duane, and keep going strong!!"

Another update was shared around 9 p.m., indicating Hansen safely completed his journey a few hours after breaking the world record.

"The Hansen family just posted on this thread that Duane Hansen made it to Nebraska City just after 6:30 p.m.! Congratulations, Duane for smashing the world record," said the final update. "We are proud that you started this record-breaking 38-mile (61-kilometre) journey in Bellevue, and it's been fun to follow along."

In a reply to someone on Facebook, Davidson replied through the City of Bellevue, Nebraska's page saying Hansen arrived in Nebraska City 11 hours after he started his journey, adding that he texted Sunday morning saying he "was happy he made it" but was "physically exhausted" from the trip.

Duane Hansen (second from left in back row) broke a world record by travelling on this nearly 850-pound pumpkin along the Missouri River between Bellevue and Nebraska City. (Photo by Phil Davidson via City of Bellevue, Nebraska on Facebook)
Duane Hansen (second from left in back row) broke a world record by travelling on this nearly 850-pound pumpkin along the Missouri River between Bellevue and Nebraska City. (Photo by Phil Davidson via City of Bellevue, Nebraska on Facebook)

The post was shared across social media, where it racked up more than 100,000 likes and 8,000 retweets on Twitter, along with thousands of comments from people across the world cheering Hansen on, with others congratulating his achievement.

"Congratulations, Duane! Cheering you on from the U.K.," one person wrote on the Facebook post.

"This is hilarious and inspiring. I hope someone is filming this! This is fantastic!" another person added.

"Congratulations on your 60th, Duane! You took your ride in style. Surely hope your legs can stand once again! You got ‘er done!" someone commented.

"Cheering Duane on from Vancouver, Canada! Woot, woot!!! Go, pumpkin, go!" replied someone else.