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I have been in the radio business since 1979. Through the past 40+ years, I have been invited to judge a number of competitions. I've judged pageants and BBQ cook-offs. I have digested and scored quite a few hushpuppies at the Texas Forest Festival as well as given marks to floats and entries at numerous parades.

However, I cannot recall having a harder time scoring entries than I did while judging decorated pumpkins at Woden ISD.

The Backstory

A few weeks ago, I was invited by Vicki to come to Woden ISD to judge their annual pumpkin decorating contest. I learned that this was an annual event in which students from Pre-K through 5th grade submitted decorated pumpkins and gourds, some real and some fake, for the chance to win ribbons and cool prizes.

I didn't think this would be too much of an undertaking.  I figured I would be judging maybe a few dozen pumpkins.  I'm not trying to be mean, but I thought their level of artistic ability and creativity would make it pretty easy to decide on a winner since there's always that one or two kids that just excel above the rest. I would pick THAT kid's pumpkin.

Boy...was I wrong!

First of all, there were over 135 pumpkins to be judged...and I was the only judge. Secondly, students were encouraged to enlist the help of their mom, dad, and the whole family to come up with their entries.

Apparently, there is some sort of 'pumpkin decorating gene' that humans can acquire in their DNA, and I do believe that every last person in Woden has this gene. The pumpkins were phenomenal. The creativity was spectacular. I was both amazed and intimidated. I was tasked with coming up with 1st through 3rd places along with 2 honorable mentions.

It took me a good 30 minutes and of trying to narrow down the choices.  I knew creativity and artistic ability had to be factors, but I also gave extra credit to those that used a number of pumpkins in their entries.

Take a look at the entries in the photo gallery and try to decide on your top three.


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