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Published October 12, 2011, 06:53 AM

Hand corn husking contest keeps on pickin’

COLUMBUS, Neb. - Keeping traditions alive is the main purpose for the Nebraska State Hand Corn Husking contest held each year.

By: Eric Freeman, Columbus (Neb.) Telegram

COLUMBUS, Neb. - Keeping traditions alive is the main purpose for the Nebraska State Hand Corn Husking contest held each year.

This year’s National Hand Corn Husking Championship will be Thursday through Sunday. Contestants from Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kansas and Missouri will compete at the Saline County Fairground in Marshall, Mo.

The top three huskers in each of 10 divisions at state contests are eligible to compete in the national event.

Lyndon Klassen, 20 and Calvin Klassen, 18, both of Lindsay took first and second place respectively in the Youth (Boys) division of contestants age 20 and under. The two qualifiers are eligible to attend the National Hand Corn Husking Championship after their performances at the state contest in Central City.

Lyndon harvested 147.5 pounds with a net harvest of 146.26 pounds with the husk deduction figured in. Calvin Klassen harvested 144 pounds and netted a total of 140.20 pounds with deductions.

Dana Peterson, 55, of Genoa placed a qualifying third in the Senior Men division, age 50 and up with a harvest of 253.6 pounds and a net total of 241.67 after all deductions for husk and gleanings had been figured.

"It’s nice this keeps going, and it’s because sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters got to go with their fathers and mothers," Peterson said. "I started going again about five years ago so I missed quite a few, but its a good thing and nice that its still going on."

Caleb Lindhorst, 18, also of Lindsay placed fifth with his harvest of 103 pounds and a net total of 79.15 pounds after deductions in the Youth (Boys) division.

Merle Stone, 76 of Newman Grove took sixth place in the Golden Agers division of contestants 75 years old and older. Stone harvested a total of 106.2 pounds with a 3.23 pound deduction for the husks for a net total of 102.97 pounds.

Kevin Vering of Columbus placed fifth in the Mens 21-49 age division with his harvest of 272.90 pounds resulting in a net of 217.52 after deductions. And finally Paul Klassen, 45, of Lindsay placed eighth in this division with a harvest of 313.5 pounds resulting in 67.04 pounds after deductions.

The methods used for the timed contests involve the contestants hand shucking the ears of corn from standing stalks and tossing them into a wagon as they walk the rows.

The total weight of the contestants’ harvest is adjusted by deducting the weight of husks left on their pickings and the weight of ears left behind in their rows. Winners are those with the highest net weight.