No Admission Fee, No Gambling, No Racing

When Skidmore undertook to do a thing, there was no half-way business about it, and the town and its newspaper, the Skidmore Standard, were justly proud of the first Punkin Show in 1899.   Here are a few of the editor’s notes on the event from the October 13 edition:

It cost I. W. Littler 50 cents to get in or out of the Punkin Show and he wasn’t a “darned bit interested” in it, either.


A. F. Howden got the extension ladder as first premium on apples, and is immensely pleased because he has been wanting a ladder all summer, he says.


A number of people came in, Thursday, to see the display. Some of them thought the show would not be much and remained at home, Wednesday; but when the laudations of their neighbors reached their ears, they had a curiosity to come and see for themselves.


When Skidmore undertakes to do a thing, there is no half-way business about it.


There will be another Punkin Show, next year; prepare for it.


Two North Carolina gourds, with handles 4 feet long, were displayed by Mrs. Isaac Reaksecker.


Did you learn the identity of that veiled man who scattered pumpkins and squashes all over town?


“Oh, isn’t it fine! So much better than the Maitland fair!” were the exclamations heard on every hand from the delighted spectators.


There was no admission fee, no gambling, no racing. It was for the farmers, and they appreciated it.


Holt county’s big pumpkin was not large enough to take the blue ribbon.


The entire east end of the hall was occupied by the exhibit of the “punkin editor.”


There were people here from Oregon, Maitland, Mound City, Quitman and Burlington Junction.


Some people said the show was better than the St. Joseph Jubilee.


Everyone who lives in or near Skidmore is proud of the town.


The weather was perfect; a special order could not have improved it.


Those ladies who assisted in decorating the hall and arranging the exhibits, can be relied upon, always, when any movement for the good of the town is on foot – and they are nice house-keepers, too.


It was a punkin show during the day and a corn carnival at night.

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Punkin Show or No, 1901

Skidmore Standard publisher W. J. Skidmore was not shy about sharing his opinions on the front page. He reserved his strongest opinions not for minor, common issues like politics or religion but for the truly important things, like town improvements and the Punkin Show. Here he is in the August 16, 1901 edition, page 1:

To Be Or Not To Be.
Now is the Time to Decide Whether Skidmore will Have a Punkin Show This Fall or Not.

Just because we have had a little dry spell through this section of the country is no reason why we should become discouraged and give up the idea of having a Punkin Show this fall. We do not know that this is the case, but we do know that there has been very little talk on the subject in the past few weeks and a great many are of the opinion that Skidmore will not have any attraction of the kind this fall.

It is a well known fact that every town should and in fact must entertain their trade or suffer from the inroads of more energetic neighbors. Skidmore has always proven herself equal to the emergency in such instances and has entertained her large country trade in a creditable manner for a number of years past and it will not be right to sit down and fold our arms now. The town will not only loose her name as a place for entertainments but will also loose a large amount of trade that will go to some other town.

People like to spend their money where they know it is appreciated and a better guarantee of appreciation cannot be found than an affair gotten up to amuse them and their friends. Skidmore had a Punkin Show last year and all that were here know that it was the most successful attraction in the history of the town. The town is larger this year; business has been better, and we will continue to grow if we give the people something to come to town for other than the good bargains which our merchants offer at all times. Bargains are all right but people like to have something to make them forget their troubles.

Shall we have a Punkin Show? This is a question that should be answered immediately. It is out of the question to suppose that we will let this year pass by without keeping pace with former years in matters of this kind. If we can’t have a Punkin Show let us have something else that will furnish two or three days of amusements.

All that is needed is for some one to start the thing agoin’ and it is assured. Now comes the question, who will make the start?

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Biggest Pumpkin, Biggest Prize – Punkin Show Premiums, 1899

Skidmore’s business men rose to the occasion and furnished an impressive list of premiums for the Punkin Show, as we see in this article from the October 6, 1899 edition.  It would appear that the paper and the organizers didn’t think to capture all the names of the winners in this first year, but subsequent years’ editions made up for that.
That Big Punkin Show
Liberal Premiums – The Largest Pumpkin Gets The Largest Prize

The success of the big pumpkin show in Skidmore, Wednesday, October 11, is assured. The committee met, Friday night, and arranged the premium list as given below. Sixty-one dollars and fifty cents have been subscribed in cash and merchandise by the business firms of Skidmore. The sum will be used for paying these premiums, all of which are very liberal. Every farmer who takes pride in his farm and its products will prepare as fine an exhibit as possible and bring it in to compete for the prizes. Now is the time to look around and see what you have! Don’t allow yourself to be outclassed by your neighbor or some other man’s neighbor.

Premium List
Largest Pumpkin, 1st prize $5.00 cash; 2d $2.50 mdse., Wade & Hitchcock. Best one-half dozen, any one variety raised on one farm, 1st prize Silver Berry Dish; R. A. Walker. 2d, one year’s subscription to the Standard. Best collection all varieties raised on one farm 1st prize, one six-foot extension ladder, Pinkston Bros. 2d prize, one year’s subscription to the Standard.

Largest Squash, 1st prize, $2.50 mdse. Moorhead; 2d $1 mdse., Mrs. Wood. Best collection grown and shown by oen exhibitor; 1st prize, $1.00 mdse. from E. T. Duval; 2d prize, six months subscription to the Standard.

Best dozen ears Yellow Corn, 1st prize $1.25 Dump Endgate, J. H. Grigsby; 2d prize $1.00 mdse., E. T. Duval.

Best dozen ears White Corn, 1st prize $1.00 mdse., E. T. Duval; 2d prize, six months subscription to the Standard.

Best dozen ears Popcorn, 1st prize 50 cents mdse., Yetter & Yetter.

Best one-half bu. Winter Wheat, 1st prize, one sack of Havner’s best flour; 2d prize, six months subscription to the Standard.

Best one-half bu. Spring Wheat, 1st prize $1.00 mdse. J. F. Kellogg; 2d prize 50 cents mdse. J. F. Kellogg.

Best one-half bu. Rye, prize 50 cents, mdse., J. F. Kellog.

Best one-half bu. Oats, 1st prize $1.00, mdse., J. F. Kellogg; 2d prize 50 cents, mdse., J. F. Kellogg.

Best one-half bu. Red Clover seed 1st prize $1.00, mdse., J. F. Kellogg, 2d prize 50 cents, mdse., E. E. Tilton.

Best one-half bu. Timothy seed 1st prize $1.00, mdse., E. E. Tilton, 2d prize 50 cents, mdse., E. E. Tilton.

Best one-half bu. Sweet Potatoes, 1st prize $1.00, mdse., E. E. Tilton; 2d prize 50 cents, mdse., E. E. Tilton.

Best one-half bu. Early Rose potatoes 1st prize $1.00, mdse., Sewell Bros. & Montgomery; 2d prize 50 cents, mdse., Sewell Bros. & Montgomery.

Best one-half bu. Early Ohio potatoes, 1st prize, $1.00, mdse., Sewell Bros. & Montgomery; 2d prize 50 cents, mdse., Sewell Bros. & Montgomery.

Best one-half bu. any late variety, 1st prize $1.00, mdse., Sewell Bros & Montgomery; 2d prize 50 cents, mdse., Sewell Bros. & Montgomery.

Plate to consist of 6 apples, same variety, best display of Ben Davis Winesap and Jenneting, 1st prize 10 foot extension ladder, Pinkston Bros; 2d prize $1.25, mdse., T. L. Howden.

Best display of 6 varieties, any one exhibitor, 1st prize $1.50, mdse., Lee Chadduck; 2d prize $1.00, mdse., Lee Chadduck.

Best Quart beans, any variety, 1st prize six months subscription to the Standard; 2d prize three months subscription to the Standard.

Best dozen Beets prize 50 cents in cash, Dr. Pierpoint.

Best dozen Parsnips, prize 50 cents mdse, John Gray.

Best dozen heads late Cabbage, 1st prize $1.00, mdse., John Gray; 2d prize 50 cents, mdse., John Gray.

Largest Gourd 1st prize 50 cents, mdse., T. L. HOwden; 2d prize 25 cents, mdse., T. L. Howden.

Largest collection of Gourds, 1st prize 50 cents, mdse., T. L. Howden; 2d prize 25 cents, mdse., T. L. Howden.

Best peck White Onions, 1st prize 50 cents, mdse., T. L. Howden; 2d prize 25 cents, mdse., T. L. Howden;

Best peck Red Onions, 1st prize 50 cents, mdse., T. L. Howden; 2d prize 25 cents, mdse., T. L. Howden.

Best one-half bu. Turnips, 1st prize 50 cents, mdse., T. L. Howden; 2d prize 25 cents, mdse., T. L. Howden.

Best collection products raised on any one farm, $3.00 mdse., J. M. French & Co.

Best Loaf of Bread made from Havner’s Big Five flour, prize one sack of Big Five flour.

The Hall will be ready to receive articles for exhibition, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, October 7, 9, and 10. All entries must be made by Tuesday evening.

The Standard will have a large exhibit but will not compete for the prizes.

Below is a list of the names of those who gave toward the Punkin Show, either in goods or cash:

E. E. Tilton, mdse $2.50
Garnett & Strickler, cash 2.00
C. E. Painter, cash 1.00
Yetter & Yetter, mdse .50
T. L. Howden, mdse 5.00
Wade & Hitchcock, mdse 2.50
John Gray, mdse 2.00
Chas. Beverlin, cash 1.00
Fayette Cook, cash 1.00
Stults & Bramble, cash .50
A. R. Havner, mdse 2.25
Sewell Bros. & Montgomery, mdse 5.00
R. A. Walker, mdse 2.75
Dr. J. E. Pierpoint, cash .50
J. M. French & Co., mdse 3.00
Lee Chadduck, mdse 2.50
G. C. Ashbrook, cash .50
T. E. Haynes, cash 1.00
J. F. Kellogg, mdse 5.00
Farmers Bank, cash 3.00
J. H. Grigsby, mdse 2.50
Pinkston Bros., mdse 5.00
E. T. Duval, mdse 3.00
Mrs. B. E. Wood, mdse 1.00

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Bring on your pumpkins, and let us celebrate.

The Punkin Editor (W. J. Skidmore) and his new wife were on vacation in the East, so editor D. R. Baker stepped up to the plate to wax rhapsodic about the upcoming 1901 Skidmore Punkin Show. We present his article from the September 20, 1901 Standard, page 1, in all its glory.

Rules and premiums to be listed tomorrow, but for today, we award “best overuse of quotations” and “best use of rhyme in a news story” to the following:
Skidmore Punkin Show.
October 1-2-3-4, ’01.
Rules and Regulations Respecting Entries, Etc.
Premium List.

The Skidmore “Punkin Show” is indeed and in truth what its name signifies, a “Punkin Show.” Instituted in the interest of the “Granger” the “tiller of the soil” the “Punkin Husker,” the men who caused this country to “blossom as the rose” and made it what it is, a veritable “Paradise of man.” It is exceeding fitting then, that we celebrate this occasion with exhibits, the fruit of their toil.

Other towns have their “Street Fairs,” their “Blow Outs,” their “Jamborees,” with their “Houchee Couchee” shows and all kinds of street fakirs to beguile the people of their money. But the business men of Skidmore have thought differently, and have subscribed in large amounts both in cash and merchandise as free gifts to the “Horny handed” farmers who have produced from the Virgin soil of Mother Earth in this “Garden of Eden” of ours, the products of nature’s best gifts.

And now it only remains with the farmer to bring in his exhibits, claim his reward, and success will crown our efforts.

The Punkin Show will be what the citizens of Skidmore, Monroe township, and surrounding country make it. Its development, its thorough equipment, its usefulness, its greatness, depend largely upon the interest the public may take and the patronage extended. It should be the greatest institution of the kind in the whole country. The fertility of our soil, the great variety of our products, the progressive character of our citizenship and the worthy cause of the institution should warrant a successful future to these meetings and usefulness to the country’s industrial interest.

That portion of the state known as Northwest Missouri is pre-eminently the corn, fruit, vegetable and blue grass region of the state. Nodaway county is the banner county, and Monroe township is the garden spot of the county. With its diversified prairies, rich valleys, wide expanse of living verdure, cultivated gardens, shady groves, belts of timber, fertile fields, emerald meadows and beautiful landscape, you can behold here a country fit for the dwelling of the Gods.

It is here where the sky is purest azure, and the forest nature’s green, where the prairie meets the woodland, and the earth is clothed in sheen, where the “pumpkins” grow the biggest and the grazing herds are prime. — This is Monroe townships picture as it looks in simple rhyme. Then is it not fitly proper that we should exhibit our products and celebrate the event of this land of “milk and honey,” in this, the corn belt of the world.

To be sure we have had a dry year, an exceedingly dry one — amounting even to a drought in more unfortunate sections of the country — but after all our farmers have plenty and to spare. Bring on your pumpkins, bring on your corn and let us celebrate.

Never since the world was born was there a crop so nice as corn, its green stalks keep the cows in milk; and when its other joys are ripe, the corn is made into a pipe. In thinking all these virtues o’er we’re glad Columbus sought this shore.
D. R. B.

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Tug of War – The Woodmen Return

Confident from their win in August 1899, the Modern Woodmen of Skidmore issue a challenge.  From the June 15, 1900 Skidmore Standard:

Skidmore Modern Woodmen Will Pull Any Lodge.

The Skidmore Modern Woodmen camp is composed of some extraordinarily good, strong timber and so great is the faith of the members in themselves that they voted at their meeting Monday night to pay ten dollars to any lodge that can worst them in a tug-of-war in Skidmore, July 4. They do not ask odds nor even money; a tug-of-war is what they want and they are willing to pay “to be shown.”

The conditions are: Ten men to each team; the match to be pulled in Skidmore; the day July 4; $10. to the opposing team if it wins and a royal good time. The challenge is open to the world and they ask only that the team they pull be composed of men from the same local lodge.

To our exchanges: If you have any good, sturdy men in your secret orders tell them about the Skidmore Modern Woodmen’s challenge and assure them a good town to celebrate in, a nice time and royal treatment if they come.

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Tug of War, August 1899 – To the Victors Belong the Spoils

Skidmore took its tug-of-war battles seriously. Here’s the rest of the story from the August 11, 1899 Skidmore Standard:

To The Victors Belong the Spoils
The M. W. A. Win the Flag in a Tug-of-War with the W. O. W. 20 men on a side.

The Modern Woodmen team is the biggest. That fact was established last Saturday afternoon when it yanked the Woodmen of the World gang over the line in the tug-of-war. But as for that matter any one who can see – with or without glasses – did not have to look twice to decide the question before the match as far as mere avoirdupois is concerned; but the W. O. W. fellows were slightly over conceited and had to be “showed.” They were “showed” too, in about two minutes and a half, but the Modern Woodmen were made to feel that they had performed a difficult task.

A hard rain Friday night and Saturday morning put the ground in a very unsatisfactory condition for the pull and it was to this fact that the World men attributed their defeat. Some of their men had to pull in mud from start to finish which put them at a great disadvantage. A constant digging and scratching for a new foot hold as soon as the old one gave way made the road more slippery each time, and it was extremely amusing – to the onlookers – to see the efforts of the contestants to keep their feet on the ground. Occasionally some fellow, pulling like a yoke of oxen, as if the success of his side depended upon his efforts, would lose his footing and take a slide, when up he would come and go to digging again.

For the period of about two minutes no advantage was gained by either side and it was hard to determine what the results woudl be, but finally the Modern Woodmen gained a momentary advantage and pulled some others of the World men into the mud, then it was easy and the whole bunch went like greased sled runners on ice and the match was over.

It was a hard, evenly matched pull as all will attest, and none of the contestants have any great desire to repeat the performance.

The band came out and rendered some good music for the occasion; a big crowd was in town; several of the business houses were closed for the time; and altogether it seemed very much like a holiday celebration.

H. W. Hatfield, one fo the Modern Woodmen contestants, was taken with an attack of fainting immediately after the pull. He was soon revived however, and experienced no more evil effects from his exertions.

The best of order and good will prevailed.

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Tug of War, August 1899

This is what we did in the days before television and the Internet, kids.  The Modern Woodmen camps were in for a rematch, as reported in the August 4, 1899 Skidmore Standard:

Tug of War.  Between the two Woodmen Camps of Skidmore.  Saturday, Aug 5th At 3 'o'clock p.m. on west end of Elm Street.

From the Skidmore Standard, August 4, 1899, page 1.

The tug of war that was to have been pulled off last Saturday, will occur tomorrow afternoon at 3 o’clock on Elm St. at the same location that was used the 4th of July. A regulation tug of war rope, 140 feet long will be used and there will be twenty men on a side. The contest is to continue twenty minutes unless the Modern Woodmen pull the World men over the line 10 feet before that time. A flag will go to the winners. It will be a pretty contest and a very large crowd will be present to witness it.

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