How I became a stooking champion (on my first try!)

There comes a time when you don’t realize what you just signed up for, and, for me, it was the Yorkton Thresherman’s Show stooking contest this past weekend.

My aunt, Chellan Hoffman, ‘stooked’ for the first time last year and came in second place. This year she decided to enter it again. Although I was at first hesitant, I decided to give it a go as well!

The act of stooking is when you take a sheaf of grain (typically wheat or oats) and form them into a teepee-like structure in order for them to fully dry out. In this competition, contestants were given 24 sheaves in a row, and you had to make four stooks — with six sheaves to a stook.

The competition was split into five categories: kids, men and women under 65, and men and women over 65.

Chellan’s tip to me was to watch how the old guys do it, and be sure to wear gloves. Most would think you just start at one end of your row and then work your way to the the other end. Nope.

The ‘old guys’ would start with their third and fourth sheave in, put those two together to stand up, and then slowly bend, picking up the other two sheaves on both sides to make a stook.

After the first round, I figure I’m set. I watch the guys and gals — including Chellan — stook their hearts out, followed by cheering from the small crowd in the stands.

Now, it’s my turn, I’ll be stooking alongside two kids, and even though we are in different categories, at 24-years-old, you bet I’m still competitive.

The horn blows, and we’re off to the races. I didn’t even look up, I was so focused on making these sheaves stand up. What they don’t tell you prior, is the twine on the sheave is literally wrapped around once. Yes, once. Meaning you don’t just pick up these nice tight sheaves, instead, they’re flopping around and coming apart at the seams.

Sure enough, I persevered. In a blink of an eye, it was over. All my stooks were somehow still standing, and with a time of 1:28, I won!

I don’t know who the genius was to make stooking a competition, but they deserve a medal as well.


Jessika Guse

Jessika Guse is RealAgriculture's newest field editor and news lead for RealAg Radio. She's been a reporter since 2015 and has covered a variety of topics including one of her favourites, agriculture! Although she's never grown up on the farm, she loves helping out and learning as much as she can when she visits her families heritage farm near Ebenezer, Sask. You can find Jessika on Twitter at @JessikaGuse


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