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‘Headless Horseman’ wins straw competition

National event was held in Mt. Morris

After the voting was over and the results tallied on at Mt. Morris’ Straw Fest Saturday, first place in the third annual U.S. National Straw Sculpting Competition for both Artists’ and People’s Choice went to Danica Rogers, of Rochelle, for the “Headless Horseman.”

“Huff & Puff” by Kate May Fitch, of Rockford, earned second place in both categories, and “Strawsquatch” by Chris and Cecilia Mann and Bill Papke, all of Rockford, came in third.

Other straw sculptures in the running were “Straw”Bine: Harvest Time” by Kathy Driscoll, “The Garden” by Steve Lentz, and “Stretchy Cat” by Kelly Madison.

The winners of the Straw Bale Races were Andy Rood and Andy Fitch who turned in a time of 7.71 seconds, their slowest effort, in the third and final heat.

Ten teams competed in the event, rolling a 700-pound round bale 75 feet as fast as possible.

Rood and Fitch turned in times of 7.68 seconds and 7.69 seconds in the first and second heats.

Buck Cowen and Scott Shumard finished second, and Steve Townsend and Russell Bold came in third.

Kids younger than high school had their own event, rolling a 200-pound bale just for the fun of it.

Besides the straw sculpture contest and bale races, Straw Fest included a blacksmith demonstration, mechanical bull riding, square dancing, food, and music all at the downtown campus.

Historical tours of Mt. Morris were held on Sunday in honor of the Illinois Bicentennial. 

More than 100 residents and visitors toured the village on an old-fashioned wagon pulled by a mule team.

The Illinois Constitution was approved on Aug. 26, 1818, and statehood became official on Dec. 3, 1818.