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Man sets world record for paddling pumpkin

Rick Swenson of Fergus Falls, Minn., paddles down the Red River in a giant pumpkin in 2016 as he attempts to set the Guinness World Record for longest distance paddled in a pumpkin. Brad Dokken / Forum News Service

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. -- It took nearly a year and a half, but a Fergus Falls man who paddled a giant pumpkin from Grand Forks to Oslo, Minn., in October 2016 officially is the World’s Greatest Pumpkin Paddler.

Rick Swenson made the epic voyage Oct. 15, 2016, and received official notification Tuesday morning, June 12, that his 26-mile paddle has earned its place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest distance ever paddled in a pumpkin.

“We are thrilled to inform you that your application for longest journey by pumpkin boat (paddling) has been successful, and you are now the Guinness World Records Title Holder!” Guinness officials wrote Tuesday in an email to Swenson.

Becoming recognized as the record-setting pumpkin paddler required an extensive vetting progress to make sure Swenson’s paddling voyage met all of Guinness’ stringent requirements.

“Well, it only took a year and a half but I am OFFICIALLY AWESOME!!!” Swenson joked Tuesday morning in a Facebook post. “Hopefully the 26 miles holds for a little while!”