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Expert corn huskers shuck for pride in annual Indiana contest
Indiana Correspondent

FORT WAYNE, Ind. ó Veteran Indiana corn huskers welcomed one from Michigan and two novices from New York City during an Oct. 7 corn husking contest at the Paul Hardy Farm near Fort Wayne.

The backboard battle is an annual event of the Indiana Corn Huskers, one that moves from farm to farm. Dennis Brown, Winchester, is president. Other officers include Larry Smith, vice president; Lori Hardy, secretary and Dick Hinton, treasurer.

By dayís end, the New York novices - Erica Gaeta and Jason Keehn - had enjoyed themselves so much they were ready to move on to the National Corn Husking Contest, set for Oct. 22 in Columbus, Neb. Neither had ever set foot in a cornfield before the Fort Wayne contest, but they learned quickly and had no deducts for excess husks.

Arden Shaffer, an 85-year-old Kosciusko County farmer who has missed competing in the Indiana contest only one time since 1939, volunteered to give them a little extra coaching at his place.

Shaffer husked 316.4 pounds in 20 minutes to place second in the menís open class.

Had he entered the Golden Agers category, he would have placed first; he would have been third in senior men.

Dr. Tom Hayhurst, a retired Fort Wayne pulmonologist running for Congress, tried his hand at husking corn for the first time but did not enter the competition.

First place winners included:

Girls-Youth, Katie Hardy, Huntington; Boys-youth, Mitch Hardy; Womenís open, Judy Lambert, Urbana; Senior women, Pat Hardy, Fort Wayne; menís 21-49, Dennis Brown, Winchester; Golden Agers, Vern Dowty, Ossian; Menís open, Ralph Murphy, Wabash; womenís 21-49 Abbie Hardy, Huntington; senior men, Larry Fervida, Nappanee.

Dave Shafer, Henderson, Mich., winner of the senior menís event, will compete in the national contest.

Nine states are members of the National Cornhusking Assoc.: Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, South Dakota and Nebraska. Contestants from other states, such as Shafer, Gaeta and Keehn, can enter the national event if they compete in a contest sponsored by one of the member states. They then represent their own state.

This farm news was published in the Oct. 18, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.