Watermelon Thump

Luling, TX, USA

Watermelon Thump

Words by Nelson Taylor

Luling is a 5,000-person town plum full of melon heads — watermelon wackos in love with Royal Sweets, Jubilees and Yellow Dollys, to name a few. And as a tip of the hat to their agricultural godsend and to the farmers themselves, Lulingians have been hosting the annual Watermelon Thump every June since 1954. Tens of thousands of people show up every year for all sorts of watermelon-related activities, including eating and carving competitions.

There is also a contest for the largest watermelon grown that year, the record being 81 pounds set back in 1962. And each year, the record watermelon is sent to celebrities like Art Linkletter, Johnny Carson and Ronald Reagan.

In 1999, the event took another step. They added the watermelon carving contest. The only rule is that whatever you carve must be able to be worn on your head like a hat.

But the biggest draw — due to lots of national television publicity — is the seed spitting championship. Hawkers of all ages line up for a chance to beat the Guinness Book World Record and take home the prize money. The standing record is 68 feet and 9 1/8 inches set by Luling local Lee Wheells in 1989. If you think this is all for fun, you are dead wrong mister. Watermelon spitting in Luling is serious business. There are official seed-spitting songs and yells: 'Come on everybody, take a look, (insert name) gonna spit into the record book....' The competition is fierce and the rules are religiously followed. Contestants are docked for spitting in the crowd, and any person caught using non-sanctioned, illegal seeds will be disqualified.

America Bizarro

America BizarroThe above article is just one of a collection of off-beat articles on 2Camels from Nelson Taylor's wonderful America Bizarro.

America Bizarro is a unique travel guide that celebrates humorously interesting, pop-culture kitschy and off-the-map odd festivals, out-of-the-way gatherings, kooky conventions, conferences and contests throughout the United States.

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