Hello fellow huskers and friends! What a delight it was to witness and participate in the 2003 National contest held at Upper Sandusky, Ohio. The October 18-19 event was the 29th National conducted since World War II and the 47th annual contest since its inception in 1924. The contest site was the Wyandot County fairground and the field, located across the road on the westside of the fairgrounds, was owned by Ned Winter and farmed by Keith Koehler. Fine weather greeted the contestants for the weekend of husking. Sunday's conditions were almost ideal for shucking. The sky was clear, a slight breeze favored the northwest, and temperatures reached the upper 50s by mid-afternoon as the menís open class drew to an end. The field was a little spongy from recent rain and there was some variance in the yields of the lands. But beyond that, the 90 National contestants found little to complain about. An alternate scheduling of National classes was implemented by the Ohio organizations to insure the timely finish of the classes on Sunday. Following the conclusion of the state contest on Saturday, three National classes (Youth Boys, Youth Girls, and Golden Agers) were run to insure that Sunday's classes were finished well before dark. Thus, contestants had the opportunity to be on the road before evening approached.
The Upper Sandusky National offered other attractions besides cornhusking. Several of the well maintained fairground buildings were filled with cornhusking related exhibits. In the park-like grounds around the buildings tractors and machinery were on display. Even Sunday morning church service was held in a beautiful log house located on the fairgrounds. But probably one of the most enjoyable sights, to me, were the beautiful teams of draft horses, some beautifully painted bang boards and wagons, and the use of horses to power the elevator and a milling display. A final attraction for visitors and spectators was a tractor pull that was running concurrently with the cornhusking contest. Consequently, when factoring in the fine weather, beautiful fairground facilities, the many exhibits and displays, and a timely organized cornhusking contest, theWyandot Cornhuskers Association and the Ohio Cornhuskers Association have our compliments for a job very well done. I know from conversations with Patrick Fruth, the 2003 NCA president and Ohio association member, that many hours of work from many Ohioans made for well-organized and enjoyable state and National contests.
I would also like to congratulate all class winners and especially Rochelle Myers, the Women's Open champion, and Wayne Guthrie, the Men's Open champ. Both of these huskers have performed very well the last several years. Rochelle has husked well since she won her first state championship at the age of 15. To date she has a total of 16 state championships and five National titles. Like Rochelle, Wayne successfully defended his National title gained at Huntington, Indiana in 2002. He husked corn on the family farm as a teenager and entered Nebraska competition in 1994. His first National competition was at Gothenburg in 1999 when he won the Senior Men's class. Since that contest he has been an Open contestant and has garnered three state and two National titles.
The National contest marked the end to the 2003 cornhusking season for most huskers, families, and spectator friends. As I drove out of town to make the 650- mile trip home to Brookfield, I reflected upon the good times that we had had in Upper Sandusky. At the same time I was also saddened that another husking season had so quickly passed. One of the facts that I have learned about life is that the months and seasons of the year seem to pass faster the older I become. We were not long on the road, however, that talk shifted to next year and the next cornhusking season. Oakley, Kansas, located on the westside of the state, will be the host site for the '04 National. In the fall issue I will highlight some of the Kansas cornhusking history and its role in the revival of our contest. I firmly believe that Warren Park and the Kansas organization will do their usual fine job hosting our National.
As I close, I would like to encourage you who have Internet service to log onto the web site, cornhusking.com, maintained by Frank Hennenfent and the Illinois association. On it you will find some pictures of the '03 National. Hopefully, you will enjoy them and appreciate Frank's efforts to make them available for viewing. As I left the field at Upper Sandusky, a few of you asked for pictures of the Men's and/or Womenís open classes. They are the same ones that appear on the web site. The cost of a 5'x7Ē reprint that includes postage and a mailing envelope will be $3.00. If you would like a reprint of either picture, send that amount to me and a picture will be promptly mailed to you. Until the fall issue I wish all of you a productive and safe 2004.