It's no surprise to those of us who love this town that Gothenburg finds itself in the spotlight now and then. We know we're a great community and it's nice to get a little positive affirmation once in awhile.
You know it's about to happen again, right?
In just a little over two weeks, Gothenburg will host the Nebraska & National Hand Cornhusking Championships. Maybe you think that's no big deal since Gothenburg has hosted the state competition for the past three years and several times prior to that. Or maybe you're not directly involved in the agriculture industry, so you believe this event is not for you. You would be wrong on both counts.
The National Hand Cornhusking Championships have been going on for quite some time. A fun little video on the cornhusking page of this website is a news account from 1937 when the national contest was in Missouri. It was bitter cold and rainy that November day and still, thousands turned out to watch men from across the country pick, husk and toss corn against the bang board of a horse- or mule-drawn wagon. Despite the cold, a couple of guys competed without their shirts on because clothing can tend to get in the way.
This cornhusking thing has always been serious business. First, it was how corn was harvested before tractors and combines came along. It gives pickers and spectators a chance to relive the old days and see first-hand what kind of mental and physical toughness it took to get corn out of the fields. In that old video, the commentator calls the pickers "corn field gladiators" and compares the contest to football and baseball, saying it's the "agricultural World Series."
"There's no athletic contest in the world more grueling," he says. Well, there's no timeout, no calling for the water boy, no media breaks.
We wouldn't have gotten to where we are in modern agriculture had it not been for our ancestors who picked the ears by hand, cleaned the husks off and threw the corn in a wagon. The hand cornhusking contest mimics what would have been important to corn farmers back in the old days: picking corn fast and keeping it clean.
Folks from nine states conduct hand cornhusking competitions: Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, South Dakota and Nebraska. The best of the best will be in Gothenburg Oct. 19-20 to face off against each other. If you think that's not a big deal, I double-dog dare you to say so in front of one of the men competing in the old timers division (75 years or older).
There's more to the weekend than picking corn, so if corn and ag history don't interest you, don't bypass this event just yet. We will also have a solid slate of food vendors and a building full booths selling crafts and other items. Plus, there will be a kids pedal tractor pull and other fun family activities to take in at Hecox Farms.
Don't sit at home wishing there was a Husker football game to watch. (There is not). Get out to the farm where all your friends an neighbors will be. You won't regret the experience.