Breaking News
More () »

State Fair pumpkin king endured rough patch of his own

Darrin Asplin’s 814.5-pound pumpkin finished was recently awarded a blue ribbon at the State Fair, less than a year after going into cardiac arrest.

DASSEL, Minn. — Through the drought and a dry summer, Darrin Asplin’s 814.5-pound pumpkin finished first place at the Minnesota State Fair this year.

But the Dassel man had to endure his own rough patch.

“Last November, the 20th, I was watching the Vikings game and wasn’t feeling good. I had incredible chest pain. I said we have to go to the ER,” said Asplin.

He said about a week later, he had a cardiac arrest when he was sleeping.

His wife, Jody, said she awoke to gasps.

“I knew it wasn’t good,” she said.

With help from 911 operators and first responders, she performed CPR and ran an AED.

Asplin credits his wife to saving his life.

“He’s gone through a lot,” said his brother Todd. “It was one of those things where it wasn’t his time yet.”

Darrin persevered and went back to his pumpkin patch for the 13th year and accomplished his first state fair win.

Doctors say that after a stint and ICD, a year later Darrin is doing well.

“The garden gives him peace,” said Jody. “That’s what he needs right now.”

Watch more from the 2023 Minnesota State Fair:

Check out all of KARE 11's coverage of the State Fair in our YouTube playlist:


Download the free KARE 11+ app for Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV and other smart TV platforms to watch more from KARE 11 anytime! The KARE 11+ app includes live streams of all of KARE 11's newscasts. You'll also find on-demand replays of newscasts; the latest from KARE 11 Investigates, Breaking the News and the Land of 10,000 Stories; exclusive programs like Verify and HeartThreads; and Minnesota sports talk from our partners at Locked On Minnesota. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out