Cody Kinsella, 10, of Seneca, said he was surprised he won Best of Show for his display of perfectly-shaped, dense ears of corn at this year’s Corn, Grain and Flower Show at the Grundy County Corn Festival, but he was happy he did.
The Seneca Grade School student is the son of Steve and Kris Kinsella, and to gather the corn, he and his father went out into their fields in rural Grundy County one day, determined to find the 10 best ears for the show. It wasn’t the greatest year for corn crops this summer, with the heat and the drought, but the boys did their job well.
“We’d feel how big around the ear of corn is on the stalk and peel down the husk and see how full it is,” Cody explained.
All in all, the corn displays seemed remarkably healthy compared to recent years, although the show’s organizer, Jim Scaman, said other contributions were down this year, such as the large pumpkins usually seen.
“The drought had so much to do with everything this year,” he said. “But considering all the weather factors, we did really, really well.”
Scaman said he could tell people took loving care of their flower beds this hot summer, as the flowers in the show, both single specimen and arrangements, were beautiful and abundant. Cat tails were used creatively in one bouquet of large golden zinnias speckled with maroon.
There were other perfect single specimens of marigold, petunia, roses and a large pink hibiscus. A beautiful long-stemmed coral-pink rose got first place in the roses category and was also a section winner. For the second year in a row, Scaman said he was surprised to get some beautiful gladiolas. They usually bloom earlier, he said.
Cody Kinsella also took home a blue ribbon for Best Youth section winner for his huge rotund zucchini curved just so and with just the right deep green coloring. Mel Harseim was the section winner in the giant farm crops category for an enormous turnip the size of a baby’s head.
The show also had baskets of red and yellow apples so perfect viewers sometimes broke the rules to reach out and touch them to make sure they were real. Also exhibited were a bunch of miniature Indian corn, peanuts still on their stems with leaves, a display of labeled dried beans, a collection of colorful peppers, and potted plants. Norma Arnsdorff, of Morris, took first place in potted plants for her pepper plant.
WAY TO GROW
Best of Show, Section Winner, Grand Sweepstakes Corn & Grain, & Best 10 Ears of Corn Grown By a 4-H Member: Cody Kinsella, Seneca, Ill.
Best Youth & Section Winner: Cody Kinsella, Seneca, Ill.
Grand Sweepstakes Flowers: Zinnia Arrangement, Roger Bols
Grand Sweepstakes Fruits & Vegetables: Vegetable Pepper Arrangement, Roger Bols
Roger Bols, Roses
Caroline Bell, Dahlia
Gayle Hausken, Hibiscus Specimen
Caroline Bell, Mexican Sunflower Arrangement
Norma Arnsdorff, Potted Plants
Mel Harseim, Giant Turnip