Vickie Welborn  /  AP
Rusty Sistrunk, 15, and his father, Donnie Sistrunk Jr., put a tape measure around a 252.4-pound watermelon grown behind their Converse, La., home on Friday. Looking on are Dedra Wise of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry's weights and measures division and Sabine Parish County Agent Paul Morris.
updated 8/28/2006 2:30:51 PM ET 2006-08-28T18:30:51

CONVERSE, La. — A father-son team are leaving the state watermelon record in shreds this summer, with three 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 set in 2003.

Rusty's grandmother Katherine Brumley took a 196-pound watermelon to Midway Baptist Church on 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.

Dedra Wise, of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry's weights and measures division, certified the latest melon's weight, 38-inch length and 61-inch circumference. The world record is 268.8 pounds.

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

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