Stuhr Museum to host State Hand Cornhusking contest

Classes will be divided into men's and women's by age and a separate class for out of state...
Classes will be divided into men's and women's by age and a separate class for out of state contestants.(KFYR)
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 5:05 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The Stuhr Museum is hosting the 2023 Nebraska State Hand Cornhusking Contest, alongside the 1893 Railroad Town Agricultural Fair on Saturday and Sunday.

The Cornhusking Contest, presented by Syngenta, will send contestants back in time with scenery from horses, wagons and hand cornhusking just like they did in the 1800s. Stuhr Museum Deputy Director Becky Matticks said cornhusking and having a cornhusking contest is a Nebraska tradition that goes back over 100 years and it’s one that the museum is looking to keep going.

”Nebraska has had a state hand-cornhusking contest off and on since the 1920s and so, it wasn’t last year because they couldn’t find a place, then two years ago, it was in Holdrege at the Prairie Museum and so it was just something museums and farmers wanted to keep going,” Matticks said.

The 2023 State Cornhusking Contest will kick off at 9 a.m., with opening ceremonies and there will be men’s and women’s classes of picking divided by age and there’s even an out-of-state class for competitors, who are not from Nebraska.

At the contest, spectators can cheer on the cornhuskers and visit the food trucks on site and see the fiber-arts demonstrations taking place at the Cleary House. Live music will also be provided by ‘Strings and Things’ at the barn from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., as well.

Officials with the Stuhr Museum hope that between the cornhusking contest and the other events happening on Saturday, that visitors will get a true feel for how things were done in the past.

“I am hoping that when you come and step on by the cornfield Saturday morning and afternoon, it will put you back in time because you have the cornfield, there’s the horses, there’s the wagons and the people are cornhusking, as they would have in the 1800s and there’s some modern equipment, but basically it’s being done the way it was over 150 years ago,” Matticks said.

The contest is expected to wrap up mid-afternoon depending on the total number of contestants. A special corn plaque will be awarded to the first place contestant in each of the men’s and women’s classes.

The 1893 Agricultural Fair will happen at the north end of Railroad Town on Saturday from 10 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The fair is an opportunity for the citizens of the town and the public to show off their best historically-appropriate work in a variety of classes, from baked goods to produce, needlework, industrial arts, and more.

The fair will also feature other attractions from the time period, including an oddities exhibit, carnival games, poetry reading and much more. The medicine show will be performed at 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Admission is $14 for adults, $13 for seniors, $12 for youth ages 6-12, and free for ages 5 and under.

Those receiving food assistance though SNAP or WIC can show their card to receive reduced admission of $3 per person ages six and up. Stuhr Museum members will receive free admission to the event.