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October 20, 1977 Around Adair with Ed Waggener

The article below first appeared in the October 20, 1977 issue of the Daily Statesman. It was devoted entirely to Ernest Rainwater's giant pumpkin, and the accompanying photo went on to attract the attention of Bob Hill at the Courier-Journal, as noted in the October 21, 1977 Around Adair with Ed Waggener. --Pen

By Ed Waggener

Ernest Rainwater, Route 1, Knifley, has raised the biggest pumpkin ever seen in these parts.

The pumpkin weighs 185 pounds, and measures 28 inches in diameter and stands 24 1/2 inches tall.

Rainwater isn't claiming the pumpkin is any kind of a record, but, as a basis for comparison, he points out that Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Tom Harris took a Kentucky pumpkin which weighed 122 pounds to a contest in Pennsylvania and it came in eighth in the contest.

Rainwater is going to give the pumpkin to his daughter, Glenda James Beard, a lawyer in Attorney General Bob Stephens' office in Frankfort.


Mrs. Beard will present the pumpkin to Commissioner Harris, who will be able to establish its claim to any record, and will give him still another thing to talk about Adair County in addition to Junior Walker's jacks and jennets and Adair County dairying.

Gave away a 132-pound pumpkin
The humongous pumpkin was not the only whopper in the patch. Rainwater gave his brother, J.D. Rainwater, a little 132-pound pumpkin. "I think they put that one on display in the Taylor County Farm Bureau office," Rainwater said.

So far, Rainwater says, he's had only a $5 offer for the pumpkin, but even at a greater price, he won't sell. "I'm giving this one to my daughter, Glenda, regardless," he said.

The pumpkin story had been of only local concern until Gaylon Yarberry, the Adair County Republican chairman, went electioneering at Knifley.

Yarberry is from Toria Road, and he had never seen such a pumpkin. "He told me, when he came to the house," Rainwater said, "that he was going to take my pumpkin. I told him that if he could load it in his car, he was welcome to it." Despite this offer, ex-Marine Yarberry was unable to claim the prize. He did bring the news of the pumpkin back to town.

Rainwater known for hams
Rainwater is primarily in the tobacco, corn, hay, and beef cattle business, which he raises on the two farms which make up his 145 acres.

Besides that, he is known as the best curer of country hams in this country.

He is raising some of the prettiest Chinese chestnut trees in Adair County. This year, the four four-year-old trees on his place were bearing heavily, and small chestnut trees are sprouting under the larger ones. "I want you to take some chestnuts to my dear double-first cousin in Columbia," Rainwater said, "and take her some of these plantings, too."

His double-first cousin, Cornelia Rainwater Hughes, was elated to receive the gallon of chestnuts and the second chestnut tree to match her own. "I'll send the other two trees to Billy Fred in Bullitt County," she said. Billy Fred is her son who lives between Shepherdsville and Mt. Washington.

Rainwater's other child, Wendell, works for General Telephone in Columbia. "He's the meanest boy I've got," Rainwater said, adding, "but then, Wendell is the only boy I've got."


This story was posted on 2019-10-27 15:28:51
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Ernest Rainwater and the giant pumpkin (Oct 1977)



1977-10-20 - Adair Co., KY - Photo by Ed Waggener.
This photo ran with an Around Adair in October of 1977, and got noticed as far away as Louisville. The caption read "Ernest Rainwater, Route 1, Knifley, has raised the biggest pumpkin ever seen in these parts. The pumpkin weighs 185 pounds, and measures 28 inches in diameter and stands 24 1/2 inches tall."

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