Little Rock Corn Show marks 65 years

LITTLE ROCK, Iowa -- From the best 10 ears of yellow corn to the freakiest of garden produce, the Little Rock Corn Show has stayed true to its roots for 65 years.

LITTLE ROCK, Iowa -- From the best 10 ears of yellow corn to the freakiest of garden produce, the Little Rock Corn Show has stayed true to its roots for 65 years.

The annual event kicked-off Sunday with the crowning of Miss Little Rock and Little Miss Little Rock, with most of the remaining festivities to get under way on Thursday in the community of about 450 residents.

Merlyn Versteeg, one of approximately 60 members to serve on the Little Rock Town and Country Club that organizes the community celebration, said there will be a variety of activities for people of all ages.

"The biggest draw is the parade and the carnival," he said. "We do everything for the kids in the community that we can -- that's our goal."

Initially established as a way to recognize its farmers and the harvesting of early fall, the Little Rock Corn Show has numerous contests, from the best looking ears of corn to floral displays and more than 40 classes of produce.


People come from throughout the area to enter their best looking carrots, beets, cabbage, kohlrabi, onions, potatoes, pumpkins, peppers and more. The contests are free to enter, and payouts are awarded for first and second place. The best 10 years of yellow corn has the highest payout at $30 for first; and that category also provides a third place payout.

Entry day for flowers is from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, and 9 to noon Thursday, with corn and produce to be entered from 1 to 9 p.m. Thursday in the Town and Country Building. Judging takes place from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Also on Friday, the Kids Races will begin at 1 p.m. a half-block south of the school. Versteeg said they'll have everything from three-legged races to wheelbarrow races. All kids who participate get some free ride tickets for the carnival.

McDermott Family Shows will again operate the carnival on Main Street both Friday and Saturday.

Entertainment under the big tent south of the Post Office will feature a variety of musical acts, beginning with Sean Benz performing country music at 7 p.m. Thursday, and Larry and Mona Beers of Texas at 6 p.m. Friday performing country and oldies music. Saturday's entertainment includes the Southern Minnesota Karaoke Group at 5:30 p.m. and a teen dance from 8 p.m. to midnight featuring Cory Storm (Beyond the Music).

"We get quite a few people (for the entertainment)," Versteeg said.

One of the highlights of the Little Rock Corn Show is a Golf Ball Roll in which 500 numbered golf balls are set loose at the top of the hill near the Little Rock water tower to roll down to the front of the church -- a bit more than a block, Versteeg said.

A chute at the bottom of the hill collects the balls and the first 20 to arrive at the chute are called out with cash prizes awarded. The first place prize is $700, and the least you can win is $20.


"I thought of this (fundraiser) about 12 years ago and it's been really good for us," Versteeg said. The money raised is used to kick-start the next year's corn show, sponsor youth basketball tournaments, Santa Claus Day, the Easter Egg Hunt, and summer softball and baseball leagues in the community.

"We're just a little, little town just trying to stay alive," Versteeg said.

A full listing of events for the 2012 Little Rock Corn Show follows:


6 to 8 p.m.: Flower entries


9 a.m. to noon: Flower entries

1 p.m. to 9 p.m.: Corn Show entries


7 p.m.: Sean Benz followed by BINGO with cash prizes, Corn Show tent


1 p.m.: Kid's Races, south of the school

6 p.m.: Larry and Mona Beers of Texas, Corn Show tent

7 p.m.: Button Drawing, Corn Show tent


7:30 a.m.: Registration for the 25-mile bike ride or 5-mile walk, T&C Park

9 a.m.: Bike ride, walk begin


11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Pork Dinner, City Hall

1:30 p.m.: Golf Ball Roll

2 p.m.: Corn Show Parade

5:30 p.m.: Southern Minnesota Karaoke Group, Corn Show tent

7 p.m.: Button Drawing, Corn Show tent

8 p.m. to midnight: Teen Dance, south of City Hall


9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Omelet/German pancake brunch, City Hall


10 a.m.: Joint church services, Corn Show tent

Noon: Co-ed Sand Volleyball Tournament

1 p.m.: Bean Bag Tournament

1 p.m.: Antique Tractor Pull, T&C Park

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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