Mike Ratka of Grand Island said he never enters contests. But, encouraged by friends and neighbors this fall, he submitted "Pumpkin eating pumpkin" into Niagara Frontier Publications' annual pumpkin-carving competition. The move paid off, as he was voted the winner and took home a gift card courtesy of DiMino Tops Lewiston.
Mike and his wife of 40 years, Michele, said trick-or-treating children described the prize pumpkin as "so cool," while adults were "enthralled." Mike said he carves pumpkins each year because it's a fun way to spend time with his grandchildren.
The creation took an hour, he noted. Mike said his inspiration came from a design he saw on the Internet.
Michele, meanwhile, said she hopes Mike will be as enthusiastic about putting up the Christmas lights.
Nancy Tebo of Lewiston finished second, while Grand Island's Paul Yaeger took third. Find all the pumpkin photos in our gallery.
Mike Ratka, above, and "Pumpkin eating pumpkin."