SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Harvest is in full swing here in KELOLAND. Today, there is technology like tractors and combines to help with the work, but that wasn’t always the case. In this week’s Flashback Friday, we take you back to 1986 and show you the competition for picking corn by hand.
It’s as it was done when there was no other way to get the corn out of the field. A team of horses, a driver, and a picker.
Lawrance Neilson of Marion is a former national champ and a two-time state champ, the last time in 1981.
“Quick hands, I think, have a lot to do with it. And coordination has a lot to do with it too. I picked corn back in the 40s, and you really never forget it. Like in basketball, you can still shoot a shot when you’re 60 years old.”
“It’s a knack that you learn, I guess, back in the days you had to pick corn by hand. There’s a knack, you bet. We’ve always got people running behind us. 40 a minute is pretty good. You always here the stories about 60 a minute, well we haven’t seen that yet. But, I have picked 50 a minute.”
People practice the art of hand corn picking just as they would archery or skeet shooting or golf. Here, pick a row and go.
“It’s pretty hard for somebody to start now days because they don’t have the experience or the practice. And that’s what it takes, a lot of practice.”
Practice paid off for Van Lier. He won his division in this, the state contest.