Neighbor Days continues traditions

Sunday, September 3, 2006
Nail driving is one of the old-fashioned contests in which these girls, from left, Alexus Schreckenberg, Kaylee Backfisch, Shelby Schreckenberg and Allison Wood, competed at Benton Neighbor Days in Benton, Mo., on Saturday. (Fred Lynch)

BENTON, Mo. -- Two slams of a hammer put Yvonne Moore of Benton in the winner's circle Saturday.

She explained her skill in the nail-driving contest simply: "We built a house."

The contest, which had competition classes from 5-year-olds to men, was one of many activities at Neighbor Days in Benton on Saturday -- volleyball, horseshoes, home extension and agriculture exhibits, a talent show. New to the celebration were the evening lawn-mower races.

"The crowd Friday night was the biggest I've seen, and I've been coming since the late '60s," chamber secretary Christy LeGrand said. She also said Saturday's large daytime crowd was unusual because the crowd normally thins out at midday because of the heat. Saturday's cool weather drew about 500 people for rides, tournaments, pie eating, watermelon spitting, egg throwing and sack, piggy-back or wheelbarrow races.

"Parents bring their kids back to compete at the same contests and races they did as kids," LeGrand said.

Turtle races were moved up from 5 p.m. to midday. Five-year-old Diamond Paige Ham of Scott City won first place for her turtle, Baby Honk.

The 10th annual tractor pull had 69 entries, with a crowd of about 100 spectators. Entries were down from last year because farmers were out in the field shelling corn, according to organizer Sterling Proctor. Getting the track ready begins prior to June with peeling the top off and applying Round-up to kill the grass.

"It's in good shape now. We water it and pull a roller over it," he said.

Laura Kern of New Hamburg, Mo., watched the event for the first time. "My dad was a farmer who was into tractors and all," she said. "We thought we'd check it out today."

cpagano@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 133

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