Corn Shuckers Compete During Fundraiser in Northeast Kansas

Published 10/06 2013 07:34PM

Updated 10/07 2013 10:25AM

(ATCHISON, Kan.) At 93 years old, and Bob Staley is still shucking corn.

"It's the old-fashioned way of how they got the corn out of the field and into the crib," said Staley.

Twenty-three years ago, Staley found himself in a challenge from two men in Atchison, Kan.

"They challenged me to a contest. I bet you $100 I could beat you. The money goes to the winner's charity. Well, I said, that's fine. I said, 'well who's your charity?' He said, 'Maur Hill Mount Academy.' Mine was the same," said Staley.

He beat both men and won $200. And, ever since 1991, Atchison has held the annual corn shucking contest to help raise money for the private high school.

"It's evolved to the situation now where last year I got a little over $3,000, and it's for the schools," said Staley.

But it's more than just the competition for the corn shuckers of Atchison. 

"Just trying to keep it alive so that the next generation will at least have a chance to see it," said five-time National Corn Shucking Champion Donna Fairbanks.

"It's interesting, it's something that they learn, it's different, that's old-fashioned," said Staley.

Dozens of kids participated Sunday afternoon at the corn shucking competition, and it's not as easy as it looks.

"Making sure that I get all the corn off of the stalks, that's the biggest thing for me. And then hitting the wagon, they tell me I'm really wild sometimes. I throw it and almost hit the drivers," said Fairbanks.

"This is the hook I wear, it's the thumb hook. And you rake it across the ear, it opens it up, and grab it and flip into the wagon," said Staley.

Each participant had 10 minutes to shuck corn, some clearing 40 cobs a minute.

When they finished, the corn went home with the contestants and they celebrated another successful year of shucking.

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