DAVIS JUNCTION – You could say that DeWayne Adams has a thing for corn.
He used to farm and did some crop adjusting too. And he even belongs to a corn collectors club.
“We collect anything to do with corn,” said the 82 year old. “Pencil, bags – anything.”
He also collects awards, including a third place finish in the national corn picking contest, held on Oct. 21 in Marshall, Mo. In the over 75 division, Adams picked more than 154 pounds of corn in 10 minutes. The first place finisher beat him by 7 pounds, and just a single ear separated him from the second place finisher.
“I feel pretty damn good,” he said about the win, chuckling. “I feel pretty proud.”
The trip to the state contest came after Adams finished in second place in the state corn picking contest held in Roseville. That earned him the trip to nationals, where the states represented with pickers were Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana and the Dakotas.
Adams got into picking corn just four years ago, when friends who pick corn – including a national champion – suggested he give it a try. He did, and didn't do too badly for a rookie.
“I got second in the state,” he said.
His wife became ill not long after, so Adams has missed the last few competitions. But this year he gave it another shot and made it to the nationals.
He said one thing that helped him was he had a clean run. Pickers get docked for certain things, including missing the wagon as they toss picked corn into it.
“I hit the wagon with every ear,” he said.
Adams is not the first in his family give corn picking a try. He said his two brothers picked in the Ogle County corn picking contest way back in 1943.
Now that he has a top 3 finish in the national contest, Adams won't be slowing down. He said he plans to make the trip back next year.
Well, if he qualifies.
“I've got to win the state first, but I'm going to practice a little more,” he said with a smile.