Contestant shucks corn the old-fashioned way, Marshall, MO, 1997. Photo: Mrs. Leo Walsh
Missouri State Corn Husking Championship
An annual contest held in Marshall since 1983, the
30-minute Missouri State Corn Husking Championship competition
attracted a record crowd of over 120,000 on November 4, 1997.
Contestants take their respective places in the fields of corn
awaiting the start signal, and begin to shuck rows of corn. Corn
husking is done for the championship as it was the first half of
the 20th century, requiring only simple tools. A sturdy pair of
gloves, a leather strap with a metal hook in it, a wagon with a
25-bushel capacity, a good team of draft horses or mules to pull
it, and a contestant with the ability to perform hard labor is all
that is needed. To husk the corn, a shucker grabs the ear in one
hand, simultaneously using the hook to tear into the husk, ripping
it away with one smooth motion. The huskless ear is pitched into
the wagon without a backward glance as the husker reaches for the
next ear of corn. A good husker can come close to "processing" one
ear of corn per second. The huskers are judged when their loads are
The contemporary corn husking championship is the
kernel of the celebration known as "Missouri Heritage Days." Area
girls compete for the title "Miss Missouri State Cornhusking."
Craft shows, antique machinery displays, horse-shoe contests,
carnival, baby contests, pony-pulls, a corn husking parade, kids
pedal-tractor pull, corn-pile money hunt, corn throw contest,
pig-dressing contest and the Missouri Valley College Rodeo are all
part of the activities of today's event. Corn Husking 2000 will be
held September 21 - 24, 2000.
Originally submitted by: Ike Skelton, Representative (4th District).
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