Hello fellow huskers and friends! Returning home from Roseville Sunday evening marked the end of another cornhusking season. In conversation with Anne I remarked that it did not seem possible that another year had come and gone since the Dell Rapids National. Then all of a sudden we were, again, on the road returning from another National, and a whole year had elapsed. We had lived each day, and yet it seemed that it had passed by in a blur. Many trials and blessings had come my way in that period of time, and I am always thankful to God for them. And, I would certainly count attending the Roseville National as one of my many blessings!
As the outgoing Historian, I want to express my appreciation to the Illinois Association for hosting such a wonderful national cornhusking contest. I visited with President Dick Humes by phone after the contest and thanked him for the Illinois effort. During the course of the conversation he mentioned at least twenty people who had been instrumental in conducting the contest. If I tried to list all of you and the individual functions that you performed, I would surely miss a few. So, I am simply going to call all of you the Illinois Association and express A WONDERFUL JOB WELL DONE!!!! The contest location could not have been much better. It was just far enough off the highway to be safe, and the corn and lands could not have been any better. Certainly every contestant had to be pleased with the uniformity of the corn. I was fortunate to visit with Steve Gibbs who farms with owners Harlan and Barb Jacobson. He noted that they had selected the Wyffels number 6981 just for the contest. It was noted as good standing corn with good ear height for hand picking. It was yielding around 245 bushels per acre when the lands were marked out. Special attention had also been given to land length, parking provisions, and providing everything that the growing corn needed. Tents, crafts, and concessions provided attention and interests to the spectators and was appreciated by all.
The weather also fell in line with Illinois planning by providing good conditions for picking corn. Saturday presented a clear sky, a slight breeze out of the north, and temperatures in the low to mid-60s. On Sunday the breeze turned into a stiff wind from the south accompanied by an overcast sky. However, both days were dry and very good for the huskers to perform their best.
By mid-afternoon the final trophy presentation was made to the winners of the Senior Womenís, Senior Menís, and both Open classes to conclude the day of husking. A total of ninety-six competitors saw action in the ten class line-up that was offered to huskers for the first time in national competition. By 3:30 in the afternoon, a line of cars could be seen leaving the field as competitors and fans began their trips home.
Before I conclude my remarks about the contest I want to include a few comments about the husker banquet on Saturday evening. It was held at the VFW building and started just a little before 7:00 p.m. As with the conduct of the contest, it was well organized and served fine food. A menu of ham, roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, carrots, salad, dessert, and drink offered a delicious fare for approximately eighty huskers and guests. Not only was the food delicious, but the attendees were encouraged several times to refill their plates. After the meal President Humes and the NCA officers conducted a short national meeting which was concluded by 8:30.
As we close out 2008 and prepare for a new year as a cornhusking association, I want to explain that this will be my last Historianís article. I was elected for another year as our Historian during the business meeting at the banquet. However, before my re-election I stated that if anyone wanted a turn with the office I would be glad to step aside. During the course of the meeting I had forgotten that Dick Humes had expressed interest in the job Saturday afternoon, and I failed to nominate him for the post at the meeting. When I arrived at the field Sunday morning he reminded me of his interest to serve as Historian. Well, I felt badly about my failure to nominate him at the meeting and offered to step aside for the 2009 term. Since I had been elected to another term by the NCA members we felt that we should confer with President Dennis Brown about a switch. With the consent of all three of us, I agreed to step aside and pass the Historianís duties to Dick. With his interest in our history and collection of cornhusking items, he will be a nice asset to our association as our historian. It has been a pleasure to serve as historian for the last six years, and I have enjoyed writing articles for our Shucks newsletter. Hopefully, you have enjoyed them as well. I believe Dick will continue in the post with unique contributions of his own.
In my view the National Cornhuskers Association, the annual banquet, and the SHUCKS newsletter are so important in keeping our sport alive. However, without a hard working editor I believe that we would be hard pressed to maintain the collusion of our organization. Consequently, I want to express my gratitude to Patrick Fruth for continuing for another year as our editor. I have so enjoyed working with him the last four years. As a contributor to the newsletter I have a good idea of how much work he does for the Association, and we owe him much gratitude. I frequently mark the passage of time by his letters requesting information for another SHUCKS. Therefore, I encourage all members to continue to do our part during 2009 when he makes requests for personal and state information. While I am handing out gratitude, I also want to thank Iona Lockwood, Dennis Brown, and Dick Humes for serving as officers of the National Cornhuskers Association.
In closing, I want to extend a SPECIAL thank you to Millie Byrne for passing along some of her records to me. Millie has given many years of past service to the NCA serving as treasurer and secretary, and a few jobs that I may not be aware of. She was so kind to offer me some of her documents that might come in handy for another possible book project down the road. She had made the offer to me in correspondence before the contest, and she and Ted were so kind to bring them to me at Roseville. I would like to congratulate all class winners at Roseville, and hearty congratulations to Rochelle Myers and Frank Hennenfent, the national champs. If I have counted correctly, this win was Rochelleís ninth title. For Frank, I believe that this win was his seventh title which ties him with Robert Ferguson. The race appeared to be hotly contested in the womenís division, and Frank set a very high mark in the menís race. As with all Nationals, it was a fun reunion with friends in our husking association. You have my best wishes for a healthy, prosperous 2009 and Godís best for all of us.
Mitchel Burns, Past NCA Historian