BREMEN-- The Indiana State Corn Husking Contest, a tradition since 1926, will take place Oct. 5 near Bremen.
Craig Geyer Farm, at 20565 Tyler Road, will host the competition. Registration will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the contest starts “as soon as the horses are harnessed and ready to go,” according to a press release.
Admission and parking for the event are free, but there is a $10 or $20 cost to participate, depending on the class. There are various classes for people of all ages, “from young children to golden agers,” and a four-person team competition.
The cost to participate includes a one-year membership into the Indiana Cornhusking Association.
Each husker will receive 10 or 20 minutes — depending on the class — to husk as much corn as possible. The corn is then weighed to determine who husked the most.
The top three contestants in most classes will qualify to compete at the National Cornhusking Contest held in Gothenburg, Nebraska on Oct. 19 and 20.
“For most contestants, it is all about ‘bragging rights,’” a Q&A reads. “But … we believe it is important for everyone to understand where their food comes from and to gain better understanding of how farmer products are produced. … This contest is wholesome, family fun.”
Last year’s contest saw 200 farmers, competitors and spectators from around the state, despite the stormy weather. Participants ranged in age from 10 to 88.
For more information about the content or its location, visit http://cornhusking.com or the Indiana Corn Husking Association Facebook page.
According to a release by Indiana Cornhusking Association President Clay Geyer, the ICA is a nonprofit organization “dedicated to the education and historical preservation of early methods of corn harvest and hand corn husking.”
Before World War II, corn was the primary crop for the Midwest, and families and neighbors would work together to harvest the crop in the most efficient way.
“The competitive nature of the American citizens inspired competition between farmers to determine the best corn husker,” Geyer said. “These competitions grew from local to state and quickly expanded to a National Corn Husking Competition.”
He wrote that tens of thousands of people would gather to participate in and watch the competitions.
“The contests were as popular at that time as today’s sporting events,” Geyer said. “The winners were as well known as today’s sports athletes.”
The competition reached its peak in 1940, with an estimated 160,000 spectators, but the onslaught of World War II brought an end to the contests and a beginning to the age of mechanical corn pickers.
Today, there are nine states that hold contests: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Indiana ranks fifth in the nation for corn production.
“This is a wonderful family event where children and adults can relive the past and experience friendly competition,” Geyer said. “The event is attended by farmers who husked corn as a child and enjoy sharing their memories and stories. We do it because we love farming!”