Pumpkin Partners: Local carvers to be showcased on Travel Channel

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MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) -- With nearly 40 years of experience combined, an area couple is taking pumpkin carving and growing to the extreme. Next year, all of America will soon know who they are as ‘The Travel Channel’ airs a new show called "Best in Pumpkins.” It will feature the husband and wife team and their creativity. Hello Wisconsin scooped out the guts and shares inside look into the art.

Jodi Engel says, "We very rarely do simple ones." Shannon adds, "I can always remembering carving pumpkins on Halloween and pumpkins were always fun to carve for me."

For Shannon & Jodi Engel of Menomonie, pumpkin carving is more than a hobby. Jodi says, "Shannon and I met each other 8 years ago and met each other on eHarmony. What were in our profiles right around this time of year was that we enjoy pumpkin carving and Halloween."

It was match made for Halloween. After almost 20 years, their passion of pumpkins is still growing and growing and growing. Shannon explains, "I would see coloring pages and stuff like that and think I bet you I could put that on a pumpkin."

But who is the best? Well it's a challenge that never ends. He says, "Each year I keep getting better, she keeps getting better." She says, “The more challenging it is and the more you hate it while you're doing it is what you end up loving the most."

This year, this dynamic duo got their practice in early for their national debut.

Jodi adds, "This year we started Labor Day weekend and got an email from the travel channel and doing a show called best in pumpkin that will air 2018."

To carve the best, you need the best." Shannon says he always needs his “Little saw, carrot peeler and toothbrush. But also says, “When you do this hundreds of times a year you forget about the poker tool and get an engraver.”

Jodi says, "The more time you take the better it’s going to go and less likely you're going to take an arm off." But both agree as Shannon says, “It’s a learn as you go type situation."

Learning is all too familiar to Shannon after learning to perfect pumpkin growing too. He says "I start giant pumpkins plants for new growers. In the summertime its pumpkin 911 at night sometimes."

Then its picking the right one to carve that takes practice. Shannon explains "First thing I do is thump it and make sure it’s not rotten. If it’s rotten it makes a funny sound inside."

So next time you're driving in this Menomonie neighborhood, it will be hard to miss their bright orange talent right out front. Shannon says, "When I first came here there was a lot of pumpkin carvings around here and now we've become those neighbors that they're not going to compete against."

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