Corn Husking Time In Iowa

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Box 139, Kimballton, Iowa 51543

October 19th-20th will be Corn Husking Time at Kimballton, Iowa, but it won't be combines harvesting the corn. The golden ears will be hitting the bang boards of horse drawn wagons when participants from throughout the Midwest compete in the annual corn husking festival.

The introduction of tractors and mechanical cornpickers in the 1930's made handpicking obsolete, but 'old timers' are eager to demonstrate the old fashioned method of harvesting corn, while youngsters are eager to learn the skill.

Kimballton has hosted this event since 1982, when the contest served as a kick-off for the village centennial. The corn husking committee, headed by Paul C. Christensen, decided to continue the project and it has grown each year. In addition to the one day state contest on October 19, the National Contest will also be held October 20.

Contestants are divided by age groups, with both women and men competing. There is a designated time limit for picking and the winner is chosen by weight of corn picked with gleanings subtracted.

Nine Midwest states will be involved in the National contest. Winners from each state will compete in their respective class at Kimballton. State winners here will include Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

To those who are not familiar with hand picking, it may sound like a slow process, and it is, compared to modern harvesting. When this was the only method of husking corn, if a man picked 100 bushels per day he was considered an excellent picker. Then and now the husker usually wears a metal hook or peg attached by a leather strap to snap the ear from the stalk. With his free hand the hand picker grasps the ear and throws it in the wagon. Spectators can watch the contest from the edge of the field or may follow behind their favorite contestant.

According to Paul Christensen, president of the Iowa State Corn Husking Association, there will be plenty of interesting projects near the picking site. Included will be a large display of antique corn related machinery and gas engines, also a contest of Best Ears of Corn. The festival will sponsor children's contests, and the General Store Museum will have displays of past crafts and skills. There will be other displays and food on the grounds.

Kimballton is located in west Audubon County on Highway 44, or midway between Omaha-Des Moines, ten miles north of Interstate 80.

For more information concerning the Iowa State or National Corn Husking Contest, contact Paul C. Christensen, Kimballton, Iowa.