Holcomb man places 2nd in Illinois Corn Husking Contest

On Oct. 15, Dewayne Adams of Holcomb placed second in the Illinois Corn Husking Contest in the senior men division in Good Hope, Illinois and finished fifth in the national competition the day after.

Adams has honors from competing statewide and nationally

HOLCOMB — On Oct. 15, Dewayne Adams of Holcomb placed second in the Illinois Corn Husking Contest in the senior men division in Good Hope, Illinois and finished fifth in the national competition the day after.

The competitions involve picking corn by hand, the way it was done before advancements in the agriculture industry. Competitors use a corn husking hook and pick as much corn as they can in 10 minutes and flip the cleaned husks into a wagon. 

“In the competition, they have different age and gender divisions,” Adams said. “You have a cleaner that comes behind you and gets the ears that you missed and then after you get your pick, you scoop your wagon off and they weigh it and take a five-gallon bucket and take all the husk off the ears. You're allowed two percent husk. If you get over two percent husk, they weigh that husk and you're deducted for it.”

In Smithshire, Illinois in 2019, Adams finished second in the men's 75 and up division at the 38th Annual Illinois State Cornhusking Contest. In 2018, he finished fourth in the men's 75 and up division of the National Hand Cornhusking Contest. In 2017, he finished third in the men's 75 and up division of the National Cornhusking Contest in Marshall, Missouri.

“The national competition is a big thing because there's eight states involved,” Adams said. “That's how this year was. There were 16 pickers and I didn't get a trophy this year, I got fifth. But I feel pretty proud about getting fifth out of eight states.”

Adams farmed for 18 years before working as a crop adjuster for another 18 years. He’s now retired. He got into hand corn husking competitions through a friend that took part in them. 

“We were down at Rantoul's big farm show,” Adams said. “He was picking there. As a demonstration, people wanted to see how to do it and I showed them. My friend asked if I'd come to the Illinois competition. I've done it every year since.”

Adams said he enjoys the hobby. While he said he doesn’t practice as much as he should, he believes he does OK for this age. He enjoys meeting people from around the state and other states at contests and traveling to them.

“They’re well-run competitions,” Adams said. “The guys that finish in first place are tough competition. They've been picking for 20 years or in some cases since they were a kid. It's like everything else, the more you do it, the better you get at it.”

In the men’s 75 and up class, Adams said Illinois has smaller numbers. During nationals, the top two competitors from each of the eight states compete, making a field of 16. This year, Adams’ grandson came to the competition with him and took pictures.

“If my health stays with me, it's something I'd like to keep doing,” Adams said. “I feel like I could've done better in nationals this year, but I had COVID-19 a couple years ago and I think I lost a third of my strength. I get tired. At the state competition after eight minutes I was ready to quit. And my grandson said, 'Grandpa, keep going. You've only got two minutes left. Keep going.'”

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