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Watermelon growers weigh in

A Brookhaven Academy Cougar took home the top prize for his nearly 35-pound watermelon at the Exchange Club Fair recently.

Carter Evans, 10, won the Lincoln County Master Gardener’s annual watermelon contest. His Congo watermelon topped the scale at 34.8 pounds.

The evidence of his win lasts only in photographs, though. It got eaten soon after the contest.

“It was real good,” Evans said.

Evans received the seeds nearing the end of his fourth grade year at Brookhaven Academy when the Lincoln County Master Gardeners presented the contest to fourth graders at Brookhaven Elementary, Brookhaven Academy and Bogue Chitto, Loyd Star, Enterprise and West Lincoln attendance centers.

With directions from the Master Gardeners volunteers, Evans took the seeds home and planted them at his grandparents’ house a few days later.

He would visit his grandparents and check on his watermelon, along with his twin sister Mia, who was growing a watermelon of her own.

“He would go check on them at least once a week, if not more,” his father Jack Evans said.

Evans spent his summer using his watermelon as a way to get extra visits to his grandparents’ house, watering it and tending to it as the months went by.

His sister also grew a watermelon, and they spent much of their time going together to check on their fruits’ progress.

“They knew which one was theirs, once they put the seeds in the ground,” Jack Evans said.

At the end of the night, all of the melons were weighed and Carter Evans was declared the winner. He won $100 for coming in first place, along with $25 for being the boy with the biggest watermelon from his school.

The melon was put on ice when the Evanses got home and they ate it the next evening.

So far with his prize winnings, Evans has bought a gift card for video games.

Overall, he said he enjoyed the experience, and that if he had the chance, he’d do it again. His favorite thing about the experience was the work that went into it.

“Just planting it and watering it,” he said. “And getting to go to Mamaw’s.”

If he had to give advice on the matter, Evans would encourage others to take the challenge.

“I’d tell them to do it,” Evans said.

Cash prizes were awarded for the top three overall heaviest watermelons. The top boy and top girl in each school received $25 gift cards and everyone who brought their homegrown Congo watermelon to the weigh-in received an all-you-can-ride armband from the Brookhaven Exchange Club.

Other winners included:

• Jaydan Bradley of Brookhaven, 33.9 pounds, second place

• Maddi McCaffey of Bogue Chitto, 32.4 pounds, third place

• Mia Evans of Brookhaven Academy, 27.3 pounds

• Halley Hodges of Bogue Chitto, 25.3 pounds

• Dylan Johnson of Brookhaven Academy, 22.7 pounds

• Hayden Avants of Bogue Chitto, 22 pounds

• Paylon Smith of West Lincoln, 18.7 pounds

• Joseph McDaniel, a homeschooler, 14.7 pounds

• Parker Shann of Brookhaven Academy, 10.7 pounds

• Ella Williams of Enterprise, 7.8 pounds

• Swayze Poole, a homeschooler, 5.9 pounds

• Miciann Calcote, a homeschooler, 3.8 pounds.

Story by Gracie Byrne