The classes at the National Corn Husking Contest are 10, 20, and 30 minutes. To determine how each contestant is doing compared to the contestants in the other classes "clean pounds" per minute can be calculated. This is done by dividing the clean pounds picked by the amount of time allowed for the class. In 2015, the clean pounds picked per minute by the first place contestants in each class varied from 7 to 18 pounds.
Clean pounds of corn are determined after deducting for husks left on the ears, and ears of corn left in the field.
In 2015 Nancy Miller of Illinois won the Women’s Open class by picking 375.65 pounds of corn after deductions for ears left in field, or shucks not clean from ears of corn, in the 20 minute class. It wasn’t her first win but it was the first time that a women has picked more clean pounds per minute in both the men and women’s open classes. It also turned out she picked more clean pounds per minute then any other contestant in any of the classes at the national contest. She picked 18.7825 clean pounds per minute.
Nancy picked almost half a pound per minute more, .401 pounds, then the next closest competitor. That would compare to 563.47 total clean pounds (figured on 30 minutes of picking time) compared to 551.44 total clean pounds (figured on 30 minutes of picking time). Nancy won her first Women’s Open national contest in Oakley Kansas in 2010. It was 36 years earlier that Irene Quick won the premier Women’s Open class held in Oakley Kansas. Nancy has won four national tiles in the Women‘s Open class 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2015. She has also won two National titles in the Women’s 21 to 50 class, 1993 and 1995.
The revived corn husking contest started in 1975 at Oakley, Kansas, with one class for men. In 1979 the Women’s Open class was added. That year Irene Quick became the first to win the Open class for women. Irene went on to win six national titles 1979, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1990. In 1986 Tammi Brabb won her first national title and went on to win a total of three national titles in the Women‘s Open 1986, 1988, and 1992. In 1992 her dad John Jackson won the Men’s Open class. This is the only time that a father and daughter both won the national titles in the Open Classes.
Julia Van Laar from Iowa won her first Women’s Open class in 1991 and has won a total of five Women’s Open titles 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, and 2001. In 2011 Julia won the Senior Women Open class. Rochelle Myers from Missouri won her first national title in the Women’s Open class in 1995. She has won a total of 12 national titles in the Women’s Open class 1995, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2014. She also has won the most consecutive tittles in a row in the Women‘s Open class, from 2006 to 2009. In 2004 Rochelle picked 23.355 clean pounds per minute setting the high for clean pounds per minute for any of the Women Open contests.
Other National Champions in the Women’s Open class have been Esther Pabast in 1980 from Minnesota, K Immeker in 1981 from Iowa, F Geersema in 1983 from South Dakota, Sharon Ferguson in 1989 from Iowa, Don Fairbanks in 1993 from Kansas, Betty Oberg in 1996 from South Dakota, and Emma Johnson 2005 from Missouri. Iowa has had the most Women win the Women’s Open, with four women. The state of Missouri has won the Woman’s Open class 13 times, Iowa 11 times, Kansas 4 times, Illinois 4 times, South Dakota 2 times and Minnesota one time.
It will be another competitive year in 2016 in the Women’s Open class with possibility of four national women's open champions returning: Nancy Miller, Rochelle Myers, Julia Van Laar, and Emma Johonson. At the 2015 national, some of the top finishers were timed picking 40 ears years of corn per minute.
There will also be some new-comers in the class to watch. Jammi Daise from Iowa, the daughter of Jula Van Laar, who has won three national titles, 2005 in the Girls youth 2011 and 2012 in the Women 21-49 class. She placed second in the Women’s open in 2013 and fourth in 2014. She was also timed throwing 40 ears of corn per minute at the 2015 national. This may be the year Kathy Ofistie of Minnesota moves up in the placing having finished in fourth place four times. She will picking in her home state. Other contestants from 2015 to watch are Cindy Humes of Illinois, Paulette Miller of Illinois, and Barbara Amiss of Indiana.