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Wet, cold start doesn't slow annual state corn husking competition

Monday, October 4, 2004

After their weigh-in, teamsters and their teams lined up to wait for the start of the 2004 Missouri State Corn Husking Championships Saturday morning.
It takes more than a little rain and chilly temperatures to dampen the Missouri State Corn Husking Champion-ships, as weather Friday and Saturday morning proved, though it still took its bite out of attendance at events.

The 2004 weekend celebration and competition started off with a drizzle Friday, with a steadier and steadier downpour growing, soaking the parade route as the Marshall High School marching band, floats, teamsters and horses trooped through downtown Friday afternoon. The rain was enough to cancel two events that night, the equine log pull and obstacle course.

The next morning -- at the crown of the celebration, the competitive corn husking event -- competitors fought unusually chilly weather, as well as muddy field conditions while shucking their corn.

Bill Venable of Chillicothe (right) was more than happy to show off some of the antique contraptions he brought to the corn husking competition, including an array of old oil tins. Ranging from antique cars and tractors, to a field of engines running but going nowhere, the event gave those in attendance a chance to get a feel for the ingenuity of mechanics and inventors of yesteryear.
For the second year in a row, Mitchel Burns pulled more corn from the stalks than his leading competitors, but the 500 pounds of corn cobs and gleanings he removed wasn't enough to beat Jason Russell's score of 494 pounds. Russell got just a bit more of the husk out of his batch, giving him 474.24 points, narrowly defeating last year's champ, with 441.

Four newcomers joined the ranks this year, Josh Weber, who won the rookie division, Trenton Chevalier, James Raynor Jr. and Amanda Schroeder made their first appearances at the event, shucking a combined total of 269 pounds of corn.

There was much more than the flying corn to attract the crowds who attended the event. Children dug in for the money hunt late Saturday morning and, an hour earlier, formed a long line at the corn throw competition between two stands of corn used for the husking competition.

Whether the money hunt was a race against the clock or fun time in a giant, modified sandbox depended on the competitor's point of view as children dug out quarters and nickels from a sea of nature's bounty in the corn pile money hunt Saturday.
Friday morning classes from area schools traveled to the fairground for some lessons on the old methods of harvesting and processing corn, from American Indian techniques to early mechanical grinders.

Antique cars, trucks and a whole host of classic farm equipment was exhibited throughout the weekend, from Model Ts to hand-cranked fence building machines. There was even a combustion-powered fan to provide a little novelty circulation.

The Denim and Diamonds and 'Lil Chicks concert took a bit of a hit from the weather, but an estimated 200 people braved the weekend blast of chill for some good country fun, capping the main day of the celebration.

Rabbits, sheep, goats and even a few kittens pulled at the heartstrings of many who visited the petting zoo Saturday morning at the Saline County Fairground. The petting zoo was hosted by the Fairville-Reynolds 4-H Club.
Event winners for Saturday's corn husking were: Rookie class, Josh Weber, 83 points, Trenton Chevalier, 65 points; Seniors 65-74 class, John Becker, 353.69, Pat Becker, 294.43; Seniors 75 and over class, Charles Huxoll, 273, Earl Ross, 261.9; Women 21 to 64 class, Emma Johnson, 172.05, Jennifer Pullen, 171.06; Men 21-64 class, Rob Roberts, 299.88, Jason Russell, 283.23; Girls under 21 class, Sarah Schroeder, 79.56; Boys under 21 class, Seth Roberts, 275.4, Bruce Gibson, 266.38; Women's Open class, Rochelle Meyers, 235.94, Judy Deal, 199.56; Men Open class, Jason Russell, 474.24, Mitchel Burns, 441.

Contact Matt Heger at


While "Another Rainy Day in New York City" might have been more appropriate, the Marshall High School marching band played Chicago's "25 or 6 to 4" during the annual Missouri State Corn Husking Championships Parade Friday afternoon.

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