What-A-Melon! - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News



A father-son team from this Sabine County town broke the state watermelon record three times in one summer, with melons adding up to a total weight of 677 pounds.

The really big buster, at 252.4 pounds, was cut from its vine Friday in front of two witnesses from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

"We babied this thing for 147 days," Donnie Sistrunk Jr. said.

He and 15-year-old Rusty Sistrunk brought their first pair of record-breakers to the Louisiana Watermelon Festival in Farmerville July 27-28.

At 218.8 and 205.8 pounds, their melons took first and second places and beat the record of 202.6 pounds held since 2003 by Trey Patton of Downsville.

Rusty's grandmother Katherine Brumley took a 196-pound watermelon to Midway Baptist Church Sunday night. "We ate and ate and ate, and still had some to go home," she said.

Monster melons became the Sistrunks' hobby two years ago, when they bought a 120-pounder in a hotel lobby during the watermelon festival in Hope, Ark.

Their first goal was to grow a 100-pound melon. "We got 196 pounds," Rusty said.

This year, they grew 25 watermelons in two patches. The smallest weighed 190 pounds.

There are no secrets, just a lot of pampering, Rusty said. The Carolina Cross variety is bred to be big. The Sistrunks grow just one per vine, rotating each daily to keep it round and rot-free.

"We started them in cups in March and then put them in the ground on Good Friday. They were about 3 inches," Rusty said.

Since word of the Sistrunk's melons has gotten out, Patton and another former state record holder have made visits to the Converse watermelon patch, said Carla Sistrunk, Rusty's mother.

Rusty's grandparents, Katherine and Hubert Brumley of the Mitchell community and Oneta and Johnny Craig of Converse, and other family members brought cameras and camcorders to document the official Friday weigh-in.

Dedra Wise, of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry's weights and measures division, did her own documentation and filled out a form certifying the melon's weight, 38-inch length and 61-inch circumference.

Sistrunk said he and his son are keeping seeds from the record melon. "And if the good Lord is willing we'll do this again next year."

The world record is 268.8 pounds, set in September 2005 by Lloyd Bright of Hope, Ark.

"You're just 16 pounds away," said Hubert Brumley.


Courtesy of ABC News.

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