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