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Contestant shucks corn the old-fashion way, 1997
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 weighed.

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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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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