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Paul Hardy and his wife, Pat will be displaying their collection of corn husking pegs at the Corn Husking Contest in Huntington on October 19 and 20. This special metal hook quickly tears away the husk, exposes the ear, which is then tossed into the wagon.The State and National Hand Corn Husking Contests will be held on Saturday, October 19th and Sunday, October 20th, on Commercial Road in Huntington, Indiana. (Watch for the blue water tower just off of Hwy 24.)

For those of you who think corn husking has something to do with football—-an explanation. Corn husking is the process, in one move, of ripping an ear of corn off the stalks and out of the husks. As the husker moves down a row of corn, he/she throws the ears against the bang board into a nearby horse-drawn wagon. The object of this contest is to see who has the largest amount of corn in the allotted time.

A shotgun start will begin the contest at 8am on both days; the state contest on Saturday and the national contest on Sunday.

According to Lori Hardy of Hardy's Farm Market on Knoll Road the contest is open to all ages. Three generations of the Hardy's will be competing this year, Paul and Pat Hardy, (senior division), Lori (21-49 age division) and her children, Bonnie (PeeWee Division), Mitchell, Abbie, and Katie.

Before the giant corn pickers swept across the Midwest, farmers – along with their wives, children and friends picked their fields by hand. Many of these contestants farmed then and remember it like yesterday; not with euphoric recall, but very matter-of-factly.

So why have a contest? Because there were always those who would brag about how many bushel they could pick in one day.

And so the first Corn Husking Contest was held December 1921 on a bitter cold morning in Iowa. The last contest before the war was in 1941. When war broke out, nobody had time for contests. Besides, mechanical pickers had arrived on the agricultural scene. They were faster and easier. The contest resumed again some years later.

Many of the cornhuskers on Saturday, October 19th may be over-the-hill, but age seems to be an asset, something to be proud of with no plans to retire.

This agricultural tournament is a testament to a part of our Midwest history. It is a testament because these are the same people who made the history; these are the same people who were willing to work hard, but who don't miss it now that it is gone.

Come watch the last days of hand corn husking. Many of the local businesses and attractions in the Huntington area will be extending their hours (Quayle Museum, Forks of the Wabash) and throughout the day guests can also enjoy crafts, souvenirs, games, food booths, antique tractors, garden tractor demonstrations and a petting zoo.

The Waynedale News Staff
Author: The Waynedale News Staff
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